iPhone throttling lands Apple in hot water with Brazilian authorities

iPhone throttling lands Apple in hot water with Brazilian authorities


iPhone battery
Brazil demands easy iPhone battery replacements.
Photo: iFixit

Apple is in trouble with Brazilian authorities for throttling the performance of older iPhones.

A state agency dedicated to tackling consumer issues has demanded that Apple explains to customers how they can obtain cheap battery replacements. Company employees have reportedly refused to sign the notification.

iPhone owners have long been suspicious that Apple purposely slows down older handsets with major software updates. It was believed the tactic was an effort to encourage as many upgrades as possible. It turns out that’s only partially true.

Apple admits to throttling iPhone performance

Apple has admitted that it throttles iPhones as they get older — but the company insists it only does so to prolong the life of their batteries. By reducing CPU performance, aging batteries are able to run for longer in between charges.

“Lithium-ion batteries become less capable of supplying peak current demands when in cold conditions, have a low battery charge or as they age over time, which can result in the device unexpectedly shutting down to protect its electronic components,” Apple explained.

“Last year we released a feature for iPhone 6, iPhone 6s and iPhone SE to smooth out the instantaneous peaks only when needed to prevent the device from unexpectedly shutting down during these conditions.”

iPhone owners aren’t happy

Apple’s explanation makes a lot of sense. What’s the point in having a fast iPhone if it only runs for two hours before it needs charging again? Most of us would sacrifice some performance for a device that lasts all day. But not everyone is happy with this practice.

Many iPhone users have called for Apple to give consumers the choice. They say it should be up to us to decide whether we want the best possible performance — regardless of its impact on battery life — or a device that lasts longer.

Apple has already been slapped with a number of lawsuits following its admission. Now Brazilian authorities are breathing down its neck.

Brazil demands cheap battery replacements

“Procon-SP, an agency in the state of Sao Paulo, Brazil’s richest and most populous, said in a statement it notified Apple that it has 10 days” to explain to Brazilian consumers how they obtain cheap iPhone battery replacements, Reuters reports.

Apple reportedly refused to sign the notification. It’s unclear what might happen if the company ignores it, but the agency has the power to impost fines and take legal action.

Apple has already issued an apology to iPhone owners and launched a battery replacement program. It allows consumers with an iPhone 6 or later to obtain a new battery, out-of-warranty, for $29 — down from $79.


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