In 2018, Apple introduced a software update that slowed iPhone performance down if the battery charge reached a level where it was likely that the device would suddenly shutdown. The problem was, it never told anyone that it was manipulating system performance in that way. Apple will now have to tell you when performance could be impacted by an update.
The UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) raised consumer law concerns with Apple last year. In response, Apple responded by making information about battery health more accessible and giving users an option as to whether they were happy to sacrifice performance for battery life.
The CMA has announced that Apple has entered into a formal agreement "always to notify people when issuing a planned software update if it is expected to materially change the impact of performance management on their phones".
There's been a long-held view that Apple deliberately slows devices down with software updates in order to drive sales of new models.
The undertaking between Apple and the CMA says that Apple:
- will maintain and make easily accessible information about battery life, unexpected shutdowns and steps on how to maximise battery health
- will tell users if an update will materially impact performance
- make it easy to check on battery health (you can do that now by going to Settings | Battery | Battery Health)
- will ensure their staff and customers are familiar with this information
While Apple has already done most of these things having a legally biding agreement is a good thing. If Apple breaches this it can face penalties. And although it's unlikely the CMA could slap a fine on Apple that would impact the company's bottom line, the bad publicity such an action would bring is probably something Apple would prefer to avoid.