Apple begins paying users under 2020 settlement that ended legal dispute over deliberately slowing older iPhone models
Users in the US have reported beginning to receive payments from Apple in a legal dispute over the firm deliberately throttling the speed of older iPhones.
In 2020 Apple agreed to pay up to $500 million (£393m) to settle the issue, and at the time it was estimated that each claimaint might receive as little as $25 each.
But users who registered as claimants under the settlement instead reported receiving about $92.
Michael Burkhardt, an iOS engineer, posted an image on social media platform X, formerly Twitter, showing the payment entering his bank account.
“Nice thing to wake up to on a Saturday morning — especially after 3.5 years of waiting!” he wrote.
Burkhardt’s payment was first reported by MacRumors, which said other readers had made similar reports.
The website for the settlement was updated in December to indicate that payments could begin in January 2024.
In 2017 a developer showed that certain iOS 10 updates throttled the performance of older iPhone models including the iPhone 6S and iPhone 7.
Apple later that year confirmed that this was the case, saying the speed reduction was designed to stop models with older batteries from unexpectedly shutting down.
— Michael Burkhardt (@mbrkhrdt) January 6, 2024
Apple also argued the change extended phones’ battery life.
It apologised for omitting to include this information in information about the iOS updates in question and temporarily offered cut-price battery replacements.
The dispute led to the legal action, with Apple in 2020 finally agreeing to the settlement in order to “avoid burdensome and costly litigation”, while admitting no legal wrongdoing.
Users had to register their claims by October 2020 for the settlement, with payments finally cleared by a judge last year.
UK legal action
Last November Apple lost an effort to block a similar class-action lawsuit in the UK, which was first brought in 2022 and seeks £1.6bn in compensation.
The company has previously called the lawsuit “baseless” and 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”.