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Apple to pay US$113m to US states over iPhone battery complaints

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[SAN FRANCISCO] Apple has agreed to pay US$113 million to settle litigation with more than 30 US states over its slowdown in performance of older iPhones to manage battery power.

The latest "batterygate" settlement will divide the settlement among California and 33 other states, according to a statement by state Attorney General Xavier Becerra.

The settlement resolves complaints that the tech giant made misrepresentations about iPhone batteries and software updates that throttled processing performance to manage insufficient battery power, according to the state official.

"Apple withheld information about their batteries that slowed down iPhone performance, all while passing it off as an update," said Mr Becerra.

"This type of behaviour hurts the pockets of consumers and limits their ability to make informed purchases. Today's settlement ensures consumers will have access to the information they need to make a well-informed decision when purchasing and using Apple products."

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The settlement resolves complaints about Apple's iPhone 6 and 7 generation phones which according to the states' complaint were susceptible to performance loss.

Apple had no immediate comment on the matter.

In the court documents, the iPhone maker said it agreed to the payout "solely for the purposes of settlement," without any admission of wrongdoing.

Earlier this year Apple agreed to pay up to US$500 million to settle a class-action lawsuit over the same issue.

In December 2017, Apple admitted that iOS software was tweaked to slow performance of older iPhones whose battery life was deteriorating to prevent handsets from spontaneously shutting down.

Critics accused Apple of surreptitiously forcing users to buy phones sooner than necessary, and the outcry forced Apple to upgrade its software and offer steep discounts on battery replacements.

Apple also settled a case with France's consumer watchdog to pay 25 million euros (S$36.8 million) in a related case.

French prosecutors opened an inquiry in January 2018 at the request of the Halt Planned Obsolescence (HOP) association.

AFP

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