In a message posted on its website today, Apple outlined how it planned to address and make amends for slowing down aging iPhones. A brief recap: Last week news emerged that in newer versions of iOS, phones with aging batteries would have their performance capped in order to avoid the device suddenly shutting down, a persistent problem. In other words, slowing down the phone would pull less power, thus preventing the shutdown issue.
The news also meant that long-rumored conspiracy about Apple slowing down older phones was, in a sense, true — just not for the purpose of making you buy a newer phone. It makes sense, but Apple didn’t inform users of this change and that lack of transparency has been a complete PR nightmare for them. How many consumers paid for an entirely new phone when their issues could’ve been fixed with a $79 battery replacement? It probably isn’t a negligible amount. The company is facing multiple lawsuits over the issue.
“We know that some of you feel Apple has let you down. We apologize,” the company wrote in a message posted to their site today.
“With the update, iOS dynamically manages the maximum performance of some system components when needed to prevent a shutdown,” the company explained. “While these changes may go unnoticed, in some cases users may experience longer launch times for apps and other reductions in performance.” This is what Apple should have explained upfront.
To make up for the confusion, Apple is doing two important things. It is updating iOS to include a tool to let users more accurately take stock of their device’s battery health, so they can avoid making unnecessary hardware upgrades. In concert with that, the company will offer $29 battery replacements through 2018, a $50 reduction.
Will these changes stave off the looming class-action lawsuits? Probably not, but they’ll certainly help Apple regain a little credibility. Not a ton, but a little.