Apple has agreed to pay up to $500 million to settle a class-action lawsuit in the US claiming that the company artificially degraded iPhone performance to boost upgrades. According to Reuters, the settlement calls for Apple to pay some iPhone owners $25 per phone, with a minimum total payout of $310 million.
Apple's iPhone slowdown controversy started back in July 2017, when the company quietly slipped a performance management feature into iOS. The feature kicked in on devices with worn batteries, and resulted in a slower experience on older iPhones.
From there, things snowballed into lawsuits and Senate committee probes, despite Apple insisting that the performance slowdowns were meant to prolong battery life. Nonetheless, Apple's lack of transparency about the feature gave the perception that it had slowed performance to encourage customers to upgrade.
Apple introduced the power management feature in iOS 10.2.1 to address widespread unexpected shutdowns that were happening in late 2016, even when the battery was charged to 30 percent. Apple eventually discounted the out-of-warranty fee to replace a battery in an iPhone 6 or newer to $29. That program lasted for all of 2018.
This latest settlement covers owners of the iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6s, 6s Plus, 7, 7Plus or SE that ran the iOS 10.2.1 or later. It also covers owners of the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus that ran iOS 11.2 or later before Dec. 21, 2017.