FILE PHOTO: A man takes pictures of iPhones in the new Apple flagship store on its opening day following an outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Sanlitun in Beijing, China, July 17, 2020. REUTERS/Thomas Peter/File Photo
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Arizona is leading a multi-U.S. state probe into whether Apple Inc’s deliberate slowing of older iPhones violated deceptive trade practice laws, documents reviewed by Reuters on Wednesday showed.
Last week, a separate document released by a tech watchdog group showed the Texas attorney general might sue Apple for such violations in connection with a multi-state probe, without specifying charges.
In the ongoing probe since at least October 2018, investigators have asked Apple for data about “unexpected shutdowns” of iPhones and the company’s throttling, or slowing down, of the devices through power management software, documents Reuters obtained through a public records request showed.
The attorneys general offices in Arizona and Texas declined to comment. Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Apple came under fire in 2017 when Primate Labs, the maker of software for measuring a phone’s processor speeds, revealed that some iPhones became slower as they aged.
Apple later acknowledged that it reduced power demands – which can slow the processor – when an aging phone’s battery struggles to supply the peak current the processor demands. Apple said without its adjustments, iPhones would have unexpectedly shut down from power spikes.
Outraged iPhone users said that appeared to confirm long-held suspicions that Apple slowed older devices to encourage users to buy new phones. Apple publicly apologized and slashed prices on battery replacements.
Earlier this year, Apple agreed to pay up to $500 million to settle a proposed class-action lawsuit related to the battery issues.
Reporting by Paresh Dave and Stephen Nellis in San Francisco; Editing by Greg Mitchell and Richard Chang