Brazilian courts have sided with Apple against accusations the company improperly throttled the performance of iPhones with weak batteries.
Apple has faced worldwide criticism for an iOS update that slowed down iPhone performance if the phone’s battery was below a certain health threshold. Owners around the world were in an uproar when the feature was discovered, claiming the company was trying to obsolete older iPhones. Apple, however, claimed the feature was designed to do the exact opposite.
Since batteries naturally degrade over time and lose their original capacity, older devices need to be recharged more frequently. If a battery has degraded enough, and the device is pushed hard enough, it can result in the device shutting down. Apple’s performance throttling was designed to prevent that scenario, by slowing the processor down if the battery couldn’t support the device running full tilt. Apple’s explanation lent weight to their claim they were trying to prolong the life of older devices, rather than obsolete them. That didn’t stop multiple courts around the world from slapping the company with fines.
AppleInsider is reporting that Brazilian courts are siding firmly with the iPhone maker. According to the report, at least one lawsuit brought by the Brazilian Institute of Computer Science and Law (IBDI) has been dismissed by a court—without even looking at the evidence.
Similarly, the Federal District Public Ministry’s (MPDFT) appeal was defeated, with Judge João Egmon saying “there was no obvious planned obsolescence on Apple’s part, adding that he believed Apple implemented performance throttling to mitigate random shutdowns and preserve usability.
“Egmon added that he believed Apple did enough to comply with local consumer protection laws by offering discounted battery replacements in Brazil, as it did in other countries.”
This situation represented a no-win scenario for Apple. Batteries degrade, that’s a fact of life. If Apple did nothing and iPhones kept randomly shutting down when their batteries had degraded to the point of being unable to maintain peak performance, Apple would have been sued for that. Instead, the company did what it could to mitigate the effects of naturally aging batteries and got sued for that.
At least one country’s courts see Apple’s efforts for what they were—an attempt to preserve iPhone usability.