Apple Agrees to Pay Up to $500 Million to Settle Class Action Lawsuit Over 'Secretly Throttling' Older iPhones

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Apr 12, 2001
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Apple has agreed to pay up to $500 million to settle a long-running class action lawsuit in the United States that accused the company of "secretly throttling" older iPhone models, as reported by Reuters.

Each affected iPhone user in the class would receive $25, according to the preliminary settlement, reviewed by MacRumors. The amount could increase or decrease slightly depending on legal fees and the aggregate value of approved claims, with Apple's total payout to fall between $310 million and $500 million.


The class includes all former or current U.S. owners of the iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6s, 6s Plus, 7, 7 Plus, and SE running iOS 10.2.1 or later (for the iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6s, 6s Plus, and SE) or iOS 11.2 or later (for the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus), and who ran these iOS versions before December 21, 2017.

Apple has maintained no legal wrongdoing despite agreeing to the settlement. U.S. federal judge Edward J. Davila is expected to preliminarily approve the proposed settlement on April 3, 2020.

The class action lawsuit was filed in December 2017, after Apple revealed that it throttles the maximum performance of some older iPhone models with chemically aged batteries when necessary in order to prevent the devices from unexpectedly shutting down. The complaint called it "one of the largest consumer frauds in history."

Apple introduced a performance management system in iOS 10.2.1, but it did not initially mention the change in the update's release notes. Likewise, in a statement issued a month later, Apple still only mentioned vague "improvements" resulting in a significant reduction in unexpected ?iPhone? shutdowns.

Apple only revealed exactly what the so-called "improvements" were after Primate Labs founder John Poole visualized that some ?iPhone? 6s and ?iPhone? 7 devices suddenly had lower benchmark scores starting with iOS 10.2.1 and iOS 11.2 respectively, despite operating at maximum performance on previous versions.

Apple apologized for its lack of communication in December 2017, and reduced the price of battery replacements to $29 for ?iPhone? 6 and newer through the end of 2018. Apple then released iOS 11.3 with a new feature that enables users to track their ?iPhone? battery's health and performance status.

The performance management system has also been disabled by default since iOS 11.3, and it is only enabled if an ?iPhone? suffers an unexpected shutdown. The performance management can be manually disabled by users as well.

Article Link: Apple Agrees to Pay Up to $500 Million to Settle Class Action Lawsuit Over 'Secretly Throttling' Older iPhones
 

smithrh

macrumors 68020
Feb 28, 2009
2,489
976
This is a direct result of Apple's sometimes opaque communications style.

Tell people what you're up to, and why, and maybe even have some arcane way of opting out of this throttling, and not only would most people not care, but they'd be appreciative of the effort.

Be sneaky and take a "my way or the highway" approach and this is what you get.
 

Baymowe335

macrumors 603
Oct 6, 2017
6,138
11,225
I told you guys this would be a big nothing. Some people were saying this would be the biggest class action ever.

They will only pay "up to" $500M, or less than 3 days of profit for based on Q1 earnings.

Apple still wasn't really wrong in this, but probably should have communicated better. Again, class actions don't amount to anything. Lesson learned for those calling for doom.
 

RalfTheDog

macrumors 65816
Feb 23, 2010
1,478
175
Lagrange Point
This is sad. When a phone has an older battery and tries to pull more amps than the battery can provide, the phone has three choices. The first is, turn the phone off. The second is, slow the phone down a bit so it pulls less amperage. The third is, let the battery explode like a thermite grenade. Of the three, option two is the least disruptive.
 

Tozovac

macrumors 68000
Jun 12, 2014
1,759
1,713
I’d rather have my iPhone operating than shutting down randomly, so never had a problem with this.
The issue was not Apple’s programming the feature but not informing customers of the rationale behind the feature and to explain any decrease in performance, to give a customer an educated choice to either keep things as is or get a battery replacement
 
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hagjohn

macrumors 6502a
Aug 27, 2006
842
964
Pennsylvania
This is sad. When a phone has an older battery and tries to pull more amps than the battery can provide, the phone has three choices. The first is, turn the phone off. The second is, slow the phone down a bit so it pulls less amperage. The third is, let the battery explode like a thermite grenade. Of the three, option two is the least disruptive.
I do not think anyone has a problem with that but you have to tell the customer you are doing it. That is where Apple went wrong. They tried to hide it instead of being open about it.
 

realtuner

Suspended
Mar 8, 2019
1,712
5,051
Canada
I told you guys this would be a big nothing. Some people were saying this would be the biggest class action ever.

They will only pay "up to" $500M, or less than 3 days of profit for based on Q1 earnings.

Apple still wasn't really wrong in this, but probably should have communicated better. Again, class actions don't amount to anything. Lesson learned for those calling for doom.
The dollar figure per iPhone tells you this is nothing. Just like the $15 people got for "antennagate". Dollar payouts are proportional to the amount of suffering/inconvenience people had to put up with. The $25 payout proves this was only a minor issue for people.
 

rp2011

macrumors 68000
Oct 12, 2010
1,572
1,323
Be sure spend your $25 wisely
I doubt even that. The lawyers will be celebrating though. Ive received a few $10 dollar checks from all the lawsuits BofA have had to settle. But that was ok, it was the good to see BofA have to pay out of principle.
But BofA and Apple are not the same. At least Apple sells something of value.
Live and learn.
 

ghanwani

macrumors 68000
Dec 8, 2008
1,775
1,008
Cost of doing business.

Now go and try to find all the other ways they are cheating the consumer.
 
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