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France hits Apple with $27M fine for slowing down old iPhones

It follows a two-year probe by the country's consumer watchdog.

iPhone 5, iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus
French authorities weren't happy about Apple slowing down iPhone 5 and 6 models.
Angela Lang/CNET

France's consumer watchdog on Friday announced that it fined Apple 25 million euros ($27.4 million) for intentionally slowing down older iPhone models with a software update.

The action follows an investigation by the Directorate General for Competition, Consumption and the Suppression of Fraud that kicked off in January 2018, after Apple admitted that its iOS software slowed down the performance of older iPhones to counteract problems found in aging lithium-ion batteries

The watchdog found that owners of iPhone 6, iPhone SE and iPhone 7 models weren't told that installing iOS 10.2.1 and 11.2 "was likely to slow down the operation of their device" due to the power management feature, the directorate noted in its release. Throughout 2018, Apple offered $29 battery replacements -- a program that reportedly saw the company replacing 11 million iPhone batteries that year.

In an email to CNET, Apple noted that it was "happy to have resolved this" with the watchdog.

"Our goal has always been to create secure products that our customers love, and making iPhones last as long as possible is an important part of that. We are happy to have resolved this with the DGCCRF," a company spokesperson said.

Originally published Feb. 7, 5:27 a.m. PT.
Update, 6:04 a.m. PT: Adds more detail. Update, 8:11 a.m. PT: Adds Apple response and notes its battery replacement program.

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