Apple is liasing with US government inquiries into its secret slowdown of older iPhones, further complicating its efforts to move past an issue that irked customers whose devices bogged down.
Apple acknowledged the probes late Tuesday after both The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg reported the US Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission were investigating how investors have been affected by Apple’s handling of the situation.
A software update released in 2016 began to slow down older iPhones when their batteries weakened to prevent them from abruptly turning off. But Apple didn’t fully disclose what it was doing until December 2017.
Apple has since apologised for not being more forthcoming and is replacing batteries on iPhone 6 models or later for $29 (approximately R 350 in South Africa), a $50 discount.
Apple is also working on another software update that will give consumers the option of turning off the slowdown feature, if they are willing to risk a sudden shutdown.
Authorities in France are in the midst of an investigation whether Apple violated laws protecting consumers in that country and lawyers in the US are pursuing a variety of class-action lawsuits on behalf of millions of consumers.
Meanwhile, the head of the commerce committee in the US Senate had previously sent a letter to Apple demanding more information about the iPhone slowdown. Apple was supposed to respond by January 23, but was granted an extension and is now expected to answer by the end of this week, said Frederick Hill, a spokesman for Sen. John Thune, a South Dakota Republican who confronted the company.
Both the Justice Department and the SEC have declined to comment on their investigations, leaving it unclear what piqued their interest.
Apple’s delayed disclosure of the iPhone slowdown doesn’t appear to have done significant harm to investors so far.