Does Apple secretly throttle older phones? Another lawsuit claims yes

While Apple has admitted to slowing some older phones to combat aging batteries, more than 60 class action lawsuits are seeking to sue the tech giant.

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Apple purposefully slows down older iPhones and other devices to push customers to purchase the latest version, a class-action lawsuit filed Thursday alleges. The complaint joins more than 60 other class-action suits filed in recent years addressing the alleged slowdowns. 

In December 2017, Apple said that a software feature released the year before iOS 10.2.1 causes its phones to operate more slowly, to combat problems with its aging lithium ion battery, preventing phones from unexpectedly shutting down. At that point, the feature impacted the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, 6S and 6S Plus, SE, and iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. 

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Apple acknowledged the controversy directly back in December 2017, saying in a statement on its website: "First and foremost, we have never — and would never — do anything to intentionally shorten the life of any Apple product, or degrade the user experience to drive customer upgrades. Our goal has always been to create products that our customers love, and making iPhones last as long as possible is an important part of that." 

The company also dropped the price of iPhone battery replacements at that point, charging $29 instead of $79 for a replacement for all of 2018. It replaced 11 million batteries under the program, instead of its typical 1-2 million. 

The most recent lawsuit claims this is "one of the largest consumer frauds in history," alleging that Apple is running a planned obsolescence scheme to make more money on its devices. It also claims that Apple's actions in slowing batteries violate the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, by causing customers to download and install iOS updates to their devices without informing them that these updates contain code that would cause slowdowns. 

Looking forward, Apple analyst Ming Chi Kuo predicted that Apple is planning to increase the size of the battery in the upcoming iPhone 11, expected to be announced in September, which would likely translate into longer battery life, according to our sister site CNET

For more, check out Cheat sheet: The iPhone X for professionals on TechRepublic. 

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Image: CNET

By Alison DeNisco Rayome

Alison DeNisco Rayome is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. She covers CXO, cybersecurity, and the convergence of tech and the workplace.