According to Reuters, the investigation will be led by French consumer fraud watchdog DGCCRF, part of the Economy Ministry. It was prompted by a complaint made by consumer organization “HOP,” which stands for “Stop Planned Obsolescence.”
Last month, the founder of software company Primate Labs found that iPhone 6s models running iOS versions 10.2 and 11.2, and iPhone 7 phones running iOS 11.2, were more likely to have instances of slower processing speeds.
Apple confirmed the findings, and the news caused a social media backlash, as well as a class-action lawsuit in the United States.
The French investigation could take months, and there is a chance it could be handed to a judge for an in-depth investigation. Under French law, companies face fines of up to 5 percent of their annual sales for deliberately shortening their products’ lifespans so that consumers need to replace them.
An Apple spokeswoman in U.S. declined to comment on the French investigation, but the company did release an apology last month for the incident.
“We know that some of you feel Apple has let you down. We apologize,” the company said in the statement. “There’s been a lot of misunderstanding about this issue, so we would like to clarify and let you know about some changes we’re making. First and foremost, 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. 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.”
The company also announced it was cutting $50 off the out-of-warranty iPhone battery replacement for the next year. A new software update will also launch early next year, giving users more insight into battery life.