European consumer groups demand Apple explain iOS 14 battery drain

article thumbnail

Members of the Euroconsumers Group have sent a letter to Apple asking it to address allegations of excessive iPhone battery drain in iOS 14.5 and later software updates.

On July 9, the Spanish Organization of Consumers and Users, along with groups like Altroconsumo and Deco Proteste, penned a letter to the Cupertino tech giant over alleged "planned obsolescence" affecting recent iPhone models like the iPhone 12 and iPhone 11.

The consumer groups cite reports of battery drain and degraded performance reported by some users after downloading certain versions of iOS 14. Specifically, it names iOS 14.5, iOS 14.5.1, and iOS 14.6.

Back in June, a lawsuit levied at Apple attempted to connect reports of battery drain and performance bugs with allegations of planned obsolescence. Consumer reports, however, only indicate issues with battery life draining faster than expected, rather than performance hits.

The Euroconsumer member organizations, however, draw a connection between the battery drain reports and Apple's past performance management systems. Lawsuits against Apple have been filed in a number of European countries alleging that the company intentionally slowed down iPhones.

Back in 2017, Apple quietly introduced a battery management feature that could stave off random shutdowns and other issues on devices with chemically degraded batteries. The feature, which slowed performance on devices with aged batteries during times of peak power draw, caused controversy, despite proving a device that functioned, instead of one that would crash seemingly at random, and be completely unavailable to the consumer while in the crashed state.

According to the OCU, the purpose of the letter is to "create a dialogue with Apple to establish the best way to compensate consumers." The OCU did threaten to take the matter to court if Apple doesn't provide "an adequate response."

It isn't clear what an "adequate response" entails in this case. There is no clear indication of a universal faster battery drain induced by the operating system updates cited by the organization. For any claim of "planned obsolescence" to stick or be legally relevant, it would have to span a large array of consumers — and it doesn't appear to be doing so, at this time.

Keep up with everything Apple in the weekly AppleInsider Podcast — and get a fast news update from AppleInsider Daily. Just say, "Hey, Siri," to your HomePod mini and ask for these podcasts, and our latest HomeKit Insider episode too.

If you want an ad-free main AppleInsider Podcast experience, you can support the AppleInsider podcast by subscribing for $5 per month through Apple's Podcasts app, or via Patreon if you prefer any other podcast player.