The days of Apple slowing down iPhones to prevent battery shutdowns are coming to an end.
[Last week], Apple released the newest iOS 11.3 version for its iPhones and iPads, which includes expanded battery settings that allow users to check their battery health and turn off Apple's default slowdown setting.
The new battery health settings are offered for phones between iPhone 6 and iPhone 7. IPhones 8 and X will not have the settings, according to Apple.
Apple received a firestorm of criticism in December after admitting that the company did indeed slow down aging batteries to prevent iPhones from unexpectedly shutting down. Apple apologized repeatedly for setting the slowdown as the default. The Cupertino tech giant said that it notified users in advance and that the slowdown of older iPhones was not a ploy to pressure users into upgrading to a newer model, known as planned obsolescence.
"When we did put it out, we did say what it was, but I don't think a lot of people were paying attention," said Apple CEO Tim Cook in a televised interview with ABC in January. "Maybe we should have been clearer as well, and so we deeply apologize for anybody that thinks we had some kind of other motivation."
In addition, Apple has been offering $29 out-of-warranty battery replacements for iPhones as old as iPhone 6 from January until the end of the year. Normally worth $79, the battery replacements are creating long wait times at Apple stores, and some analysts believed that may be affecting iPhone sales.
Since its admission of the battery slowdown, Apple has received heavy scrutiny from governments around the world, including the United States, and from litigious iPhone users. More than 40 lawsuits, many of them seeking class action status, were filed against Apple because of the slowdown.
Consumer watchdog agencies in France, Italy and South Korea opened investigations in January to examine if Apple was committing acts of planned obsolescence. In France, planned obsolescence is illegal and comes with a heavy fine and prison time for executives should a company be found guilty.
In the United States, the Senate commerce committee asked Apple about its battery slowdown practices and received a response in February. In the letter, Apple's vice president of public policy Cynthia Hogan hinted there may be rebates for those who replaced their aging battery by paying the full $79 price.
The Securities and Exchange Commission and the Department of Justice in January announced they would investigate as well.
"As we said publicly, we have never -- and would never -- do anything to intentionally shorten the life of any Apple product or degrade the user experience to drive customer upgrades," wrote Hogan in the letter. "Our goal has always been to create products that our customers love, and making iPhones last as long as possible is an important part of that."
In addition to the battery health features, the new iOS 11.3 includes a Health Records feature that allows patients of more than 40 U.S. health care providers to view their organized records on the iPhone and a privacy feature in which a privacy icon and detailed privacy information would appear whenever Apple asked for access to personal information.
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