May 08, 2018
In a report published by BBC, Apple was blamed for making money out of its apologizing scheme for slowing down iPhones without informing the users.
It all began with a thread on Reddit in December 2017. In the thread, Redditor Teckfire noticed that Apple was doing something fishy to prolong iPhone’s battery life. He wrote, “Apple slows down phones when their battery gets too low, so you can still have a full days charge. This also means your phone might be very slow for no discernible reason.”
The changes for slowing down the performance of the phones were introduced with iOS 10 and succeeding versions, as was stated by John Poole, developer of Geekbench (cross-platform processor benchmark). He clarified that, when a device’s battery ages, it may cause the device to shut-down randomly. So in order to prevent these unexpected issues, the company has caused the iPhones to slow down their processing in case the batteries used in the devices were old and incapable of powering the processor effectively.
The post garnered lots of attention, and eventually caused Apple to affirm that it has brought certain changes in the operating system to smoothen out the high and low peaks in processing caused by older batteries. In the official address, the company stated-
“Last year we released a feature for iPhone 6, iPhone 6s and iPhone SE to smooth out the instantaneous peaks only when needed to prevent the device from unexpectedly shutting down during these conditions. We’ve now extended that feature to iPhone 7 with iOS 11.2, and plan to add support for other products in the future.”
Users responded to this by accepting the well-intentioned changes introduced by the company but backlashed on it for not keeping ample transparency. As Poole said, “I think users who experience significant slowdowns due to battery wear would want Apple to be more transparent about this issue. A notification stating that the battery needs service would be a simple way to reduce users’ concerns and help them address this problem.”
In the end, as a means of apology, Apple promised the owners of iPhone 6 and succeeding models a free or discounted battery replacement for their devices. It was a great move by the company to re-earn the trust of its users. However, in the end, some cases made the scheme counter-productive.
The report in BBC brought light to the cases of Josh Landsburgh and David Bowler, who sent their phones off for the discounted battery replacement, and were instead asked to pay 10 times the amount they were promised.
The amount was charged to fix the supposed ‘damage that impairs the replacement of the battery, such as a cracked screen’. However, when BBC Watchdog investigated these cases, the claims made by the firm were found to have no base. The pointed damages (if real) were not hampering the repair at all, and both the users easily got their battery replaced by third-party specialists.
In answer to this, Apple customer service representatives have said, the company has made it clear that all the damages to the phone were needed to be repaired first before implementing the battery replacement. However, no such mention was found in the terms by dispute resolution lawyer Matthew Purcell, of Sanders Law.
Apple’s last response on the case, as was shared by BBC, is – “When it comes to iPhone battery replacement, if your iPhone has any damage that impairs the replacement of the battery, such as a cracked screen, that issue will need to be resolved prior to the battery replacement. In some cases, there may be a cost associated with the repair.”
Clearly, users are not going to be appeased with this response, and the case may cause some real trust issues amongst them.
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