Apple To Settle US iPhone Slowdown Lawsuit

Apple is to settle a class-action lawsuit filed against it in the United States, after it had admitted it deliberately slowed down older iPhone models.

Earlier this month, France’s competition and fraud watchdog DGCCRF, fined Apple 25 million euros (£21m) for deliberately slowing down older iPhone models.

The issue for the iPad maker has been hanging around since December 2017, when it was discovered that Apple deliberately slowed down older iPhones, which it claimed at the time would help avoid unexpected handset shutdowns.

iPhone slowdown

The issue was discovered when an iPhone user shared performance tests on Reddit that revealed that a iPhone 6S had slowed down considerably as it had aged.

However the handset suddenly sped up again after the battery was replaced, pointing to a deliberate policy by Apple to slow older iPhones.

Apple was forced to say sorry over the matter and lowered the price for replacement batteries to $29 from $79, but it denied accusations at the time that it was a clumsy attempt to force customers to upgrade to new handsets.

Apple’s official position on the matter remains that lithium-ion batteries become less capable of supplying and maintaining peak current demands, as they age.

Apple insisted its slowdown was designed to stop older iPhones unexpectedly shutting down to protect its electronic components.

But just one week after Apple’s admission in December 2017 that it slowed down older iPhones, three class-action lawsuits were launched in the US against the iPad maker.

Plaintiffs argued they didn’t consent to the company’s “interference”.

Lawsuit settlement

Now two years later, it seems that Apple has agreed to settle the matter in a move that could cost it between $310 million to $500 million.

The proposed settlement still has to be approved by US district judge Edward Davila in San Jose, California.

It could result in $25 (£20) for each affected user, depending on how many claims are made. US owners of iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6s, 6s Plus, 7, 7 Plus, and SE devices are all entitled to the $25 payment.

The “named plaintiffs” (i.e. those people who signed their names on the class action on behalf of all iPhone owners) will receive $1,500.

Legally, Apple has denied any wrongdoing in the case, but settled in part because of the cost of continuing litigation.

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Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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