Following the filing of a court claim alleging Apple of secretly lowering the performance of older phones, millions of iPhone customers may be eligible for payments. According to Justin Gutmann, the business misled users about an upgrade that was supposed to improve speed but really slowed phones down.
He is suing for up to £768 million in damages on behalf of up to 25 million UK iPhone customers.
Apple claims that it has “never” intentionally reduced the lifespan of its devices.
The claim, filed with the Competition Appeal Tribunal, claims that Apple decreased the performance of older iPhones, a process known as “throttling,” in order to avoid costly recalls or repairs.
It refers to the introduction of a power management feature in a software update for iPhone users in January 2017 to tackle performance difficulties and prevent older devices from shutting down unexpectedly.
Gutmann, a consumer advocate, claims that the tool’s information was not included in the software update download description at the time, and that the corporation failed to disclose that it would slow down devices.
He argues that Apple created this mechanism to conceal the fact that iPhone batteries may have struggled to run the current iOS software, and that instead of recalling goods or supplying replacement batteries, the company instead urged consumers to download software updates.
“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.
The claim applies to the iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6S, 6S Plus, SE, 7, 7 Plus, 8, 8 Plus, and iPhone X models.
Customers will not have to actively join the case to seek damages because it is an opt-out claim.
“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. Our goal has always been to create products that our customers love, and making iPhones last as long as possible is an important part of that,” Apple said in a statement.
Gutmann’s claim comes two years after a comparable case in the United States was settled. Apple agreed to pay $113 million to resolve charges that intentionally slowed down outdated iPhones in 2020.
Thirty-three US states claimed that Apple did this to encourage consumers to purchase new smartphones.
Millions of consumers were impacted in 2016 when the iPhone 6 and 7 and SE devices were slowed down in a scandal termed batterygate.
Apple declined to comment at the time, but it has previously stated that the phones were delayed to save fading battery life.
According to Claire Holubowskyj, an analyst at Enders Analysis, challenges like this may continue to arise due to the technical constraints of ageing batteries.
“Technology in newer devices improves in leaps and bounds, not as a steady crawl, creating issues when releasing software updates which have to work on devices with often wildly different capabilities,” Holubowskyj said.
“Apple generates 84% of its revenue from selling new devices, making them reluctant to hold back updates to ensure older models keep working smoothly.”
“Until problems of devices and software updates outlasting and exceeding the capabilities of aging batteries are resolved, this challenge will recur,” she added.
(Adapted from TechYarch.com)