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Apple Italy Forced to Add iPhone Battery Throttling Advisory on Homepage

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As part of the fallout from a lawsuit decision in Italy, Apple has been forced to display a report on its homepage regarding iOS updates affecting performance if a battery is chemically depleted or not functioning properly.

Just last year, Italy’s competition regulator, the Italian Competition Authority, fined Apple a cool 10 million euro for “dishonest commercial practices” related to the iPhone performance management system the company introduced in iOS 10.2.1 without informing customers, saying the feature was a form of “planned obsolescence.”

As a result, Apple has been forced to add a consumer protection notice on its Italian homepage. The statement, first spotted by setteBIT on Twitter, is loosely translated below:

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.

At the time, Apple said that it slowed down iPhones with degraded lithium-ion batteries in order to stop them from crashing. However, the fact that this was not done with sufficient transparency led to problems — including Apple being hit with multiple class-action lawsuits around the world.

Apple later tried to make good by offering temporary reductions on out-of-warranty iPhone battery replacements for $29 USD — something which likely impacted on the number of new iPhones sold last year.

Samsung was also fined 5 million euros for similarly issuing software updates to artificially slow down its mobile phones, though Apple’s fine was significantly higher because it supposedly failed to provide clear information about maintaining and replacing iPhone batteries.

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