Apple has issued an apology to owners of older iPhone models and announced a significant price reduction on replacement batteries in an effort to quell a controversy that swelled during the holidays.
Apple had been accused of purposefully slowing down older iPhone models. Conspiracy theorists charged the company was not so subtly pushing consumers to upgrade their older iPhones.
Apple says that's not the case.
“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,” the company said in a statement. “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.”
Taxing on older models
Apple says the iPhone's new operating system has been upgraded to provide the enhanced functions on the latest models of the iPhone. The update was so taxing on the older models that Apple slowed them down to avoid draining their batteries and unexpected shutdowns.
Some consumers posting reviews at ConsumerAffairs said they had noticed something was not quite right with their older iPhones.
“I have owned iPhones for years and I am very disappointed with the last IPhone 7, when I found out Apple was deliberately slowing down our phones,” Michael, from Australia, wrote in a recent ConsumerAffairs post. “I could tell this was happening for the last year.”
Mike, a reader from Moultonborough, N.H., said he owns an iPhone 6, which he says was working great before the last software update. He said he was told he could help solve the problem by getting a new battery.
“There was nothing wrong with my battery until this recent push, obviously caused by Apple,” Mike wrote.
Class action lawsuits
Apple now faces class action lawsuits brought by some owners of older iPhones, who claim their phones were throttled to encourage them to upgrade to the latest iPhone model. The lawsuits maintain that Apple remained silent about the throttling for months in an effort to sell newer, more expensive phones – a charge the company specifically denies in its statement.
Apple says it came to the conclusion that a new battery could help resolve the issue after analyzing customer feedback during the latter part of the year. It determined that normal chemical aging of the batteries in older iPhones contributed to their performance issues.
To help address the problem, Apple said it is dropping the out-of-warranty cost of a replacement iPhone battery from $79 to $29. The offer applies to anyone with an iPhone 6 or later whose battery needs to be replaced.
The offer begins in late January and continues through December 2018. The company said it would provide specific details on its website at a later date.