iPhone depleted battery throttling controversy investigations expand to Israel

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Israel's Consumer Protection and Fair Trade Authority has launched an investigation into Apple's throttling of iPhones with chemically depleted or otherwise damaged batteries, suggesting the company could be at fault for not properly informing customers.

The agency has already questioned the head of Apple Israel, Rony Friedman, according to Reuters. A spokesman said the Authority could potentially level fines, but that it's still too early to discuss the possibility in Apple's case.

Following a wave of anecdotal evidence, Apple in December admitted that iOS slows down iPhones with poorly functioning batteries, nominally to prevent sudden shutdowns. While the company later apologized and offered concessions — specifically $29 battery replacements and new options in iOS 11.3 — it was soon hit with a bevy of lawsuits, as well as probes by governments around the world.

Countries looking into Apple's practices include Brazil, Canada, France, Italy, South Korea, and the U.S.

Some critics and lawsuits have accused Apple of planned obsolescence — intentionally capping the performance of older iPhones to encourage people to buy new ones. Arguably, a phone that doesn't crash when under high power demand is a more reliable device than one that does, but as consumers shift more everyday functions to the device beyond communications, a crash-free device may be a secondary concern to speed.

Battery replacements have always been available to customers, which would have returned the as-new performance to the device. However, the option wasn't generally presented clearly to consumers.

Following the replacement of a chemically depleted battery, iPhone benchmarks return to what they were with a fresh battery.

Customers have complained that new versions of iOS can make iPhones slower, but in recent years Apple has worked to better optimize performance. To a certain extent performance hits as the OS is updated are expected, since new features are often more demanding on iPhone resources.


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