Attorney General Ellison reaches settlement with Apple over iPhone throttling

Apple to pay Minnesota $2M as part of multistate consumer-fraud investigation by more than 30 AGs

November 18, 2020 (SAINT PAUL) – Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison announced today that his office has entered into a settlement agreement with Apple, Inc. over Apple’s 2016 throttling of consumers’ iPhone speeds in order to address unexpected shutdowns in some iPhones. The settlement, which originates in a multistate investigation by a bipartisan coalition of more than 30 attorneys general, provides $113 million to the coalition of states that investigated Apple, including just under $2 million to Minnesota.  

Based on the multistate investigation, the attorneys general allege that Apple discovered that battery issues were leading to unexpected shutdowns in iPhones. Rather than disclosing these issues or replacing batteries, however, Apple concealed the issues from consumers. Apple’s concealment ultimately led to a software update in December 2016 that reduced iPhone performance in an effort to keep the phones from unexpectedly shutting down.   

The attorneys general further allege that Apple’s concealment of the battery issues and decision to throttle the performance of consumers’ iPhones led to Apple profiting from selling additional iPhones to consumers whose phone performance the company had slowed. 

More than 2 million consumers in Minnesota were affected by Apple’s reduction in the performance of their iPhones. 

“Part of affording your life is getting what you were promised,” Attorney General Ellison said. “Smartphones aren’t conveniences: for millions of people, they’re lifelines. In joining this investigation and settlement, we’re holding Apple to account for their secret meddling with their own customers’ phone performance — and we’re making sure they tell the truth in the future.” 

Under the settlement, Apple will pay Minnesota $1,994,042.83. In addition to the monetary payment, Apple also must provide truthful information to consumers about iPhone battery health, performance, and power management. Apple must provide this important information in various forms on its website, in update installation notes, and in the iPhone user interface itself.