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Arizona to get $5M in proposed Apple settlement over iPhone throttling

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PHOENIX — Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich announced a settlement Wednesday with tech giant Apple regarding the company’s throttling of consumers’ iPhones.

The state will receive $5 million from Apple, according to the release, as part of a $113 million multistate settlement.

Apple supposedly throttled batteries through a software update for various models of the iPhone 6 in January of 2017 and later the iPhone 7 in December 2017 to stop unexpected power-offs, an issue the complaint alleges affected millions of iPhone devices worldwide each day in late 2016.

The complaint says some consumers were able to fix the unexpected power-offs by replacing their batteries, but Apple during the time never confirmed a battery replacement would fix the issue.

The attorneys general allege the company limited the phones’ hardware performance through software updates to cover up battery problems in the phone rather than disclosing the issue or replacing the battery.

Apple, according to the complaint, also minimized the breadth and depth of the unexpected power-off problem, saying at the time the issue was found in a small number of devices.

“Big Tech companies must stop manipulating consumers and tell them the whole truth about their practices and products,” Brnovich said in the release. “I’m committed to holding these goliath technology companies accountable when they conceal important information from users.”

Even though consumers eventually learned about the company’s battery throttling, the complaint says Apple reaped the benefits for around a year, telling customers their batteries did not need to be replaced, leading many to believe the only way to get improved performance was to purchase a new iPhone.

The complaint says consumers were far more likely to replace batteries rather than upgrade to another iPhone when properly informed of the unexpected power-off issue and Apple’s throttling disclosures.

Apple’s unfair and deceptive acts and practices potentially increased the company’s sales by millions of devices per year, according to the complaint.

Apple apologized for the battery throttling while agreeing to replace batteries at a steeply discounted price, but the company has never acknowledged any wrongdoing.

The company in March 2018 gave iPhone users the ability to turn off the throttling mechanic.

Along with the $5 million, Apple must provide truthful information to customers about battery health, performance and power management in various forms and in the iPhone user interface itself.

The company was also forced to pay up to $500 million in consumer restitution.

Apple generates $275 billion annual revenue and has a market value of $2 trillion.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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