The feds have asked Apple for information about its iPhone slowdowns, but it’s too early to say whether they plan to take action.
Apple is already facing a number of lawsuits for secretly slowing down iPhones, and now the Cupertino tech giant may be in hot water with the federal government.
Bloomberg reports that the US Department of Justice and Securities Exchange Commission are investigating whether the controversial practice violated any securities laws. The feds have asked Apple for information about its iPhone slowdowns, unnamed sources “familiar with the matter” told the news outlet.
“The inquiry is in early stages, they cautioned, and it’s too soon to conclude any enforcement will follow,” Bloomberg says.
Apple in late December admitted to deliberately cranking down iPhone CPU speeds to offset errors caused by the aging batteries inside, setting off a fury of consumer complaints over why the company kept the practice secret. The issue affects older models including the iPhone 6, iPhone 6s, iPhone SE, and iPhone 7.
Apple has apologized to consumers and, as a peace offering, dropped the price of an out-of-warranty battery replacement from $79 to $29 until Dec. 31, 2018. The company also said it’s planning to add new features in an upcoming iOS update to better illustrate whether an older device’s battery affects its performance. There will also be the option to turn off the slowdowns.
“We have never — and would never — do anything to intentionally shorten the life of any Apple product, or degrade the user experience to drive customer upgrades,” the company wrote in a message to customers. “We’ve always wanted our customers to be able to use their iPhones as long as possible.”
According to Apple, a lithium-ion battery can struggle to meet the peak energy demands as it degrades over time, contains a low charge, or endures cold weather. When this happens, the iPhone can crash, potentially damaging the components inside, the company said.