Apple Begins Lawsuit Payout For Intentionally Slowing Down iPhones

Following the lawsuit, iPhone usersin the US started receiving their share of Apple’s £375 million settlement. This payout comes after the settlement was agreed upon 3 years ago when the lawsuit stated that Apple intentionally slowed the speed and performance down on older iPhone models. This was an unethical effort to convince users to buy newer models. Apple admitted to this in 2017, stating that its iOS software updates sometimes caused older iPhone models to slow down.

Apple denied this, saying, “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.” The settlement was approved in March 2020 with about 3 million claims. The users who claimed are the only ones eligible for the payout, though.

Details of the US Settlement

The settlement received approval in March 2020, and consisted of an estimated 3 million claims. Only those who registered to be part of the class action lawsuit will receive a payout. Those who registered will now be receiving a check for around the equivalent of £49.

The settlement process was prolonged as two iPhone owners disagreed with several terms and wanted to appeal certain sections. Following the US Settlement, Apple has been criticised for not being transparent about its battery policies.

The company agreed to the settlement and issued an apology to iPhone users at the time. Apple also provided battery replacements to those who complained.


Ongoing UK Batterygate Lawsuit

In the UK, Apple is facing another lawsuit brought to court by consumer rights campaigner Justin Gutmann. Gutmann alleges that Apple overwhelmed iPhones models with updates to deliberately hide that its batteries were defective. The iPhone models included in the case are from iPhone 6 through to iPhone X models.

Gutmann’s legal team argued that Apple used software updates to slow down older models and installed a power manager that restricted capabilities. These actions were not only intended to conceal the defective battery but also to persuade users to purchase new phones as the entire system seemed incapable of functioning.

Apple denies this, saying the claims were untrue. They did, however, concede that the batteries of certain iPhone 6 models were defective, and replacement batteries were offered to customers. Further, they did admit that the 2017 power management update decreased the battery of iPhone 6s, but only by 10%.

Now, Gutmann has asked the Competition Appeal Tribunal for certification of the case so it can proceed to trial. If certified, the case will proceed to a London court and Apple could owe £1.6 billion to affected consumers.

The 2017 update has seen Apple under fire before – they were previously sued in California and Arizona in the US, paying out £400 million and £90 million respectively. Allegedly, Apple intended to mask defective batteries in their iPhone models with a power management tool update, which would stop iPhones from using battery power when low on charge. This would cause iPhone performance to become faulty, or even cut out altogether when the iPhone battery was low.

The attempt via update did not improve battery performance, and critics have cried that the update would only force users to exchange their batteries or buy new phones, which in turn increased overall profits for the company.

“Instead of doing the honourable and legal thing by their customers and offering a free replacement, repair service or compensation, Apple instead misled people by concealing a tool in software updates that slowed their devices by up to 58%,” Gutmann said in his case filings. Apple did eventually address the issue, but Gutmann says service was not publicised enough to make up for the issue.