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Arizona Continues to Investigate Apple’s iPhone Throttling Scandal

— August 2, 2020

Arizona’s attorney general is leading a multi-state probe into whether Apple violated deceptive trade laws.

Apple is facing a multi-state investigation into its throttling of old-model iPhones.

According to Reuters, Arizona is leading the multi-state coalition. The investigation intends to determine whether Apple violated deceptive trade practice laws by pushing iOS updates that significantly slowed the performance of old iPhones.

The probe, says Reuters, has bene ongoing since 2018. Throughout the probe’s course, officials requested that Apple release data about user-reported and system-detected iPhone performance errors.

Apple—as LegalReader has noted before—came under fire for its throttling program, which became popularly known as “BatteryGate.” Reddit users, along with other consumer advocates, accused Apple of slowing down old iPhones, after astute internet sleuths were able to trace poor performance to a series of iOS updates.

However, Apple was quick to dismiss allegations of performance throttling, saying that some iPhone models—such as the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6S—had shipped with defective batteries.

Later on, in 2017, Primate Labs conducted tests confirming that some iPhone processors did slow down over time.

Apple has since claimed that the performance-throttling updates were supposed to optimize and extend battery life. iPhones have lithium-ion batteries, which degrade and lose charge capacity over time.

Apple CEO Tim Cook. Image via iphonedigital/Flickr. (CC BY-SA 2.0)

But the iOS updates notably slowed consumers’ phones and also led to unexpected shutdowns.

Despite Apple’s insistence that it was trying to do its customers a favor, irate iPhone users—along with government officials—claimed the company was trying to coerce iPhone owners into upgrading their old devices.

While Apple eventually settled a class action relating to BatteryGate for $500 million, the tech giant remains under scrutiny. Arizona’s attorney general is still investigating Apple’s busines practice; so too, says Reuters, is Texas.

Although Arizona’s attorney general declined requests from Reuters to provide comment on its investigation, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton appears willing to take Apple to court.

“The Texas attorney general may sue Apple for violating the state’s deceptive trade practices law in connection with a multi-state investigation,” notes, citing a report obtained by Axios.

Earlier this week, Apple CEO Tim Cook answered questions about the company’s potential antitrust violations at a congressional hearing.

At the hearing, which took place last Wednesday, Cook was asked about claims that Apple proactively removes or restricts Apple Store applications which compete with Apple-made apps. While Apple said that it removed many applications due to outstanding “privacy concerns,” legislators were quick to observe that Apple only took action once it had developed its own rival apps.


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