Apple Being Sued for 'Purposefully Slowing Down Older iPhone Models' [Updated]

Apple yesterday confirmed that it has implemented power management features in older iPhones to improve performance and prevent unexpected shutdowns as the battery in the devices starts to degrade, and this admission has now led to a class action lawsuit, which was first noticed by TMZ.

Los Angeles residents Stefan Bogdanovich and Dakota Speas, represented by Wilshire Law Firm, this morning filed a lawsuit with the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California accusing Apple of slowing down their older iPhone models when new models come out.

iphone 6s colors

Defendant breached the implied contracts it made with Plaintiffs and Class Members by purposefully slowing down older iPhone models when new models come out and by failing to properly disclose that at the time of that the parties entered into an agreement.

According to the lawsuit, Bogdanovich and Speas have owned the iPhone 7 and several older iPhone models and have noticed that their "older iPhone models slows (sic) down when new models come out." The two say they did not consent to have Apple slow down their devices, nor were they able to "choose whether they preferred to have their iPhones slower than normal."

They're seeking both California and Nationwide class action certification, which would cover all persons residing in the United States who have owned iPhone models older than the iPhone 8.

Apple yesterday addressed speculation that it throttles the performance of older iPhones with degraded batteries, confirming that there are power management features in place to attempt to prolong the life of the iPhone and its battery. Apple implemented these features last year in iOS 10.2.1.

When an iPhone's battery health starts to decline, the battery is not capable of supplying enough power to the iPhone in times of peak processor usage, which can lead to shutdowns, Apple says.

"Our goal is to deliver the best experience for customers, which includes overall performance and prolonging the life of their devices. Lithium-ion batteries become less capable of supplying peak current demands when in cold conditions, have a low battery charge or as they age over time, which can result in the device unexpectedly shutting down to protect its electronic components.

Last year we released a feature for iPhone 6, iPhone 6s and iPhone SE to smooth out the instantaneous peaks only when needed to prevent the device from unexpectedly shutting down during these conditions. We've now extended that feature to iPhone 7 with iOS 11.2, and plan to add support for other products in the future."

The lawsuit seemingly misrepresents Apple's original statement and suggests the plaintiffs and their lawyers do not understand Apple's explanation for how iPhone power management features work and why they were implemented, given the lawsuit's suggestion that it's tied to the release of new devices. As explained by Apple, when certain iPhone models hit a peak of processor power, a degraded battery is sometimes unable to provide enough juice, leading to a shutdown. Apple says it "smooths out" these peaks by limiting the power draw from the battery or by spreading power requests over several cycles.

Lithium-ion batteries degrade over time by nature, and this eventual wearing out addressed by the power management features is unrelated to the release of new iPhone models.

Apple does not deny that iPhones with older batteries can sometimes see slower performance, but power management is a feature that Apple says has been implemented to improve overall performance by preventing an iPhone from shutting down completely rather than a feature that's been implemented to force users to upgrade by deliberately slowing devices.

As many people have suggested, Apple has done a poor job of explaining why it has implemented these power management features and how the state of the battery ultimately affects iPhone performance. More transparent information about battery health should be provided, and customers should be better informed when their batteries start to degrade so they can choose whether or not to pay for a replacement. Apple may also need to relax its policies on when customers can pay for a battery replacement, as currently, a battery can't be replaced unless in-store equipment registers it as near failing.

An iPhone's battery is designed to retain 80 percent of its original capacity at 500 complete charge cycles. A defective battery that does not meet those parameters can be replaced for free for customers who have AppleCare+ or who have devices still under warranty.

For out of warranty customers, Apple offers a battery replacement service, which costs $79 plus $6.95 for shipping.

The lawsuit is demanding the replacement of the old iPhone and compensation for loss of use, loss of value, the purchase of new batteries, ascertainable losses in the form of the deprivation of the value of the iPhone, and overpayments because Plaintiffs and Class Members "did not receive what they paid for" when Apple interfered with the usage of their iPhones.

Additional class action lawsuits have been filed against Apple in Chicago, New York, and Northern California. All three lawsuits allege that Apple slowed down iPhones in an effort to get customers to upgrade to new devices.

Top Rated Comments

chatin Avatar
62 months ago
About time. What they are doing is highly unethical. Their involvement with my property stops after payment.
Score: 240 Votes (Like | Disagree)
macTW Avatar
62 months ago
Users: “why you slow our phones down?!”

Apple: “your battery can’t hold the charge necessary for some tasks. We want you to use your phone for longer.”

Users: “can you believe Apple just wants us to buy more phones?! Let’s sue!!”
Score: 169 Votes (Like | Disagree)
JRobinsonJr Avatar
62 months ago
About time. What they are doing is highly unethical. Their involvement with my property stops after payment.
... and if your phone shut down periodically you would be complaning about that. What Apple is doing is smart. Where they failed is being transparaent.
Score: 145 Votes (Like | Disagree)
swingerofbirch Avatar
62 months ago
This was clearly inevitable and I'm surprised the story hasn't blown up even more.

They can't go around saying their processors trounce SnapDragon's and give specified speed improvements over their previous models when they only perform at the advertised speeds for a year or so. The whole narrative has been false. John Gruber's response was totally uncritical in its thinking. It's not about whether they are intentionally trying to force people to upgrade. It's about whether the product was sold with the specifications it was advertised to have.

And there is so much missing in Apple's explanation about this being about balancing battery vs. performance. If that were the case, why does my fourth generation iPod touch work quickly and without random shutdowns? It's so old I can't even put a number of years on it.

There is either bad battery tech that is particular to Apple's phones or they have designed processors that require a power source that is unsustainable in a phone.
Score: 109 Votes (Like | Disagree)
teknikal90 Avatar
62 months ago
Good. This could all be avoided if apple instead put in higher quality battery cells (apple watch's battery life is 1000 cycles), or if they make it easier to replace the batteries.
Score: 94 Votes (Like | Disagree)
trifid Avatar
62 months ago
I take issue with Macrumor's pro-Apple bias criticizing the lawsuit and giving Apple a pass. Apple's 'workaround' of throttling CPU is just that, a workaround and it's not normal. It may be that Apple is trying to avoid issuing a recall of a hardware defect and resorts to a cheap software fix.

Other smartphone manufacturers don't seem to have implemented the throttling. We still don't know for sure the exact details, yet Macrumors presents Apple's questionable secret throttling as something fine and necessary.

If there is a defect with iPhone batteries that kill my CPU prematurely, I expect Apple to issue recall or free battery replacement, not force me to use a slow iPhone.
Score: 91 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

apple watch ultra hammer test

YouTuber Tests Apple Watch Ultra Durability With a Hammer: Table Breaks Before the Watch

Sunday September 25, 2022 2:27 pm PDT by
A YouTuber has put Apple's claims for the durability of the Apple Watch Ultra to the test by putting it up against a drop test, a jar of nails, and repeated hits with a hammer to test the sapphire crystal protecting the display. TechRax, a channel popular for testing the durability of products, first tested the Apple Watch Ultra by dropping it from around four feet high. The Apple Watch...
AirPods Max 2022 Colors

Ten Things AirPods Pro 2 Tell Us About AirPods Max 2

Saturday September 24, 2022 1:00 am PDT by
Upon the release of the second-generation AirPods Pro, the AirPods Max became the oldest current-generation AirPods product still in Apple's lineup. Introducing several new features like Adaptive Transparency and the H2 chip, the second-generation AirPods Pro may provide some of the best indications yet of what to expect from the second-generation AirPods Max. Almost two years later, rumors...
tim cook spring loaded event

Six Major Products to Expect From Apple in 2023

Sunday September 25, 2022 10:57 am PDT by
As we approach the end of a busy product release season for Apple with only new iPads and Macs left to be announced over the next month or so, we're also setting our sights on 2023. Apple is rumored to have several major products in the pipeline for next year, including new Macs, a new HomePod, a VR/AR headset, and so much more. Other than new iPhones and Apple Watches, which are expected...
Tim Cook Apple Event

Gurman: New iPads and Macs May Be Announced Through Press Releases, No October Event

Sunday September 25, 2022 6:50 am PDT by
Apple may decide to release its remaining products for 2022, which include updated iPad Pro, Mac mini, and 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models, through press releases on its website rather than a digital event, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. In his latest Power On newsletter, Gurman said that Apple is currently "likely to release its remaining 2022 products via press releases,...
apple watch series 7 aluminum colors yellowbg

Don't Want the Apple Watch Ultra or Series 8? Amazon Has Record Low Prices on Series 7 Models This Week

Friday September 23, 2022 6:56 am PDT by
The Apple Watch Series 8 and Apple Watch Ultra are now available to purchase, but if you aren't interested in these updates you can save a lot of money on Series 7 models right now on Amazon. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Amazon. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running. The best deals are on cellular...
iphone 14 pro max deep purple

iPhone 15 'Ultra' Could Replace Pro Max Model Next Year

Sunday September 25, 2022 7:02 am PDT by
Apple is gearing up to possibly replace its "Pro Max" iPhone with an all-new "Ultra" iPhone 15 model next year, reliable Bloomberg journalist Mark Gurman said today. Writing in his latest Power On newsletter, Gurman said that for the iPhone 15, Apple is planning a revamped design alongside USB-C and a potential name change. Apple could replace its "Pro Max" branding, which it started to use...
AirPods Pro Second Generation 2 Pairing Feature 1

AirPods Pro 2 Engravings Appear in iOS During Pairing and Connecting

Friday September 23, 2022 9:40 am PDT by
Customers who personalize their second-generation AirPods Pro charging case with an engraving will now have that engraving reflected directly on iOS as they pair and connect their AirPods Pro. Apple allows customers to personalize their AirPods Pro charging case with a special engraving that can include select emojis and Memojis. Unlike before, starting with the second-generation AirPods...
General iOS 16 Feature Yellow

Some iOS 16 Users Continue to Face Unaddressed Bugs and Battery Drain Two Weeks After Launch

Monday September 26, 2022 7:34 am PDT by
Today marks exactly two weeks since Apple released iOS 16 to the public. Besides the personalized Lock Screen, major changes in Messages, and new features in Maps, the update has also seen its fair share of bugs, performance problems, battery drain, and more. After major iOS updates, it's normal for some users to report having issues with the new update, but such reports usually subside in...
14 vs 16 inch mbp m2 pro and max feature 1

New 14-Inch and 16-Inch MacBook Pros Reportedly Launching Later This Year

Friday September 23, 2022 7:08 am PDT by
Apple plans to release new MacBook Pro models in the fourth quarter of 2022, according to supply chain publication DigiTimes. The report does not mention specific models, but it very likely refers to the next-generation 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros given that the 13-inch model was already updated earlier this year. There has been uncertainty surrounding the timing of new 14-inch and...