Apple sued after it admits slowing down iPhones

Apple is being sued after it admitted to slowing down older iPhone models to keep them running longer.

The U.S. technology giant said that it has algorithms in place to help keep an iPhone running at optimal performance if there is an older battery inside that can’t keep up with the required power. The aim is to stop unexpected shutdowns of older iPhones and keep them running to the best possible standard.

However, Stefan Bogdanovich and Dakota Speas brought a class action lawsuit in California — where they are residents — against Apple, an official filing revealed Thursday.

They claim that Apple never requested consent from them to “slow down their iPhones.” Both plaintiffs are owners of an iPhone 7. Bogdanovich and Speas claim they “suffered interferences to their iPhone usage due to the intentional slowdowns.”

The plaintiffs claim they are therefore entitled to compensation, including for the replacement of an old phone, loss of use and value, purchase of new batteries, and losses in the form of deprivation of the value of their iPhones.

They also claim that they are entitled to compensation for “overpayments” to Apple for iPhones that, due to Apple having “purposefully interfered in order to slow down its performance”, the plaintiffs “did not receive what they paid for”.

Speed issues with older iPhones were recently highlighted by Reddit users, who found when they replaced the batteries in their devices they returned to normal performance. Analysis of performance data by benchmarking firm Primate Labs clearly showed the artificial inhibition of the iPhone’s performance, which prompted Apple’s admission.

The company said that it intentionally slowed the performance of the older iPhones because when their batteries wear to a certain level they can no longer sustain the required current demanded by the phones’ processors.

When the processor demands more current than the battery can supply, the phone abruptly shuts down to protect its internal components, as was the case with the iPhone 6S forcing Apple to replace batteries.

However, Apple wasn’t available for any comments.

1 COMMENT

  1. Apple’s explanation is that when the battery cannot meet immediate demand for voltage, slowing the processor/etc is a necessary safety feature.

    If that’s true (and I’m skeptical, naturally, but if) then I doubt the lawsuit will go anywhere. You can’t claim damages from not being able to do something you wouldn’t have been able to do anyway. Apple should have been forthcoming about the cause, rather than denying it. They should have had a notification that your phone is degraded due to battery performance and that a replacement would make it like new again.

    But I see that as more of a customer service issue than a legal one.

    Even if their primary reason for not notifying users of the issue was to make people more likely to buy new phones, if the battery issue is sufficient to cause what Apple is claiming it causes, then we’ve likely suffered no legally cognizable losses.

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