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Apple hit with complaint by South Korean consumer group

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Image caption Apple in iPhone slowdown complaint from South Korean consumer group

Apple chief Tim Cook has had a criminal complaint filed against him by a South Korean consumer group in the ongoing row over the slowdown of older iPhones.

The firm is already reportedly facing legal action over claims of defrauding customers by making old phones slower without warning so people buy new ones.

Advocacy group, Citizens United for Consumer Sovereignty, accused Apple of destruction of property and fraud.

Apple has denied deliberately shortening the life of its products.

The group’s Park Soon-jang said: “For the sake of its loyal fans, Apple has to take responsibility over the slowing iPhones.”

The group is also reported to represent about 120 plaintiffs in a civil damage suit against Apple which was also filed earlier this month.

Like other similar legal fillings, the consumer groups’ complaint is centred on Apple’s release of iOS 10.2.1 in 2016, a software update that included a feature which affected the CPU for iPhone 6, 6s and SE models.

In a message to customers back in December, Apple acknowledged that it had “let down” some customers and apologised.

However the firm said: “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.”

Apple has added that as part of its next update, expected in March, it will give users the option to turn off the feature that slows down the older handsets.

The firm has already reduced the price of any out-of-warranty iPhone 6 or later battery replacements, by more than half.

Apple has not responded to BBC requests for comment on this latest legal challenge.

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