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Apple confirms that government agencies are investigating secret iPhone throttling

iPhone Slowdown Scandal

Apple late on Tuesday confirmed that unspecified governmental agencies are currently investigating the iPhone slowdown scandal, a few hours after a report said that the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission have both asked the iPhone maker for more information about the matter.

Apple did not say what the agencies are, however, and neither the DOJ nor the SEC have confirmed that they’re investigating Apple.

“We have received questions from some government agencies and we are responding to them,” Apple spokeswoman Trudy Muller told The Washington Post in a statement. She also reiterated Apple’s previous remarks that the software update that slows down iPhones with old batteries isn’t meant to convince buyers to upgrade to a new iPhone model.

“As we told our customers in December, 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 statement said.

Apple confirmed late last year that an iOS 10 update released in early 2017 slowed down iPhone performance if it detected issues with the battery. Users were never informed that their devices were being intentionally throttled. This was Apple’s fix for a widespread iPhone shutdown problem that emerged during the fourth quarter of 2016. Apple had to confirm the measure after a Reddit user discovered that replacing his battery restored performance to original levels on his iPhone.

Since then, Apple apologized to consumers, launched a year-long battery replacement program that costs $29 instead of the standard $79 fee. More recently, Apple announced that an upcoming iOS 11 update will let users monitor the health of their batteries and toggle performance.

At the same time, many iPhone users hit back in courts, filing dozens of class action suits against Apple. Other governmental agencies and consumer groups in various international markets, including Brazil, China, France, Italy, and South Korea, are looking for answers from Apple as well.

Senator John Thune (R-S.D.), chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, also asked Apple for more information about the matter a few weeks ago.

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he closely follows the events in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises. Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.