Italian authorities were not pleased by Apple’s tweaks to iPhone software that was meant to address random shutdown issues in older models, but which also led to devices seeing a major impact to their performance.
The resulting iPhone slowdown debacle led Apple to launch a $29 battery replacement program throughout 2018 that ultimately impacted sales of new devices. It was a big deal. And in Italy it was an even bigger deal as the Italian Competition Authority hit Apple with a 10 million euro fine over what it called “dishonest commercial practices”. The performance management systems that Apple introduced with iOS 10.2.1 is what caused the problem, and many, including the Italian authorities, saw it as a way for Apple to sneak in planned obsolescence.
(You can find a quick recap of what all happened right here.)
An investigation took place, and now we’re seeing part of the results. Now, when Italian customers visit Apple’s website they will see a consumer protection notice that details the “incorrect practices”. Here’s what the statement says, loosely translated:
“Apple, Apple Distribution International, Apple Italia, and Apple Retail Italia have led consumers in possession of an iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s Plus, or iPhone 6s Plus to install iOS 10 and subsequent updates without providing adequate information about the impact of that choice on the performance of the smartphones and without offering (in a timely manner) any means of restoring the original functionality of the devices in the event of a proven decrease in performance following the update (such as downgrading or a battery replacement at reasonable costs).
This practice was assessed incorrect, pursuant to Articles 20, 21, 22, and 24 of Legislative Decree No. 206 of the Italian Consumer Code by the Italian Competition Authority.”
The ordeal has been tempered recently. Apple launched a feature with iOS 11.3 that will allow iOS users to keep tabs on their battery health. And Apple has denied any and all allegations that it would ever purposely limit devices to force customers to upgrade to newer (and usually more expensive) devices.
Still, it’s good to see that Apple has had to make a public notice of the whole situation, even if it is just in Italy.