78 More Customers Sue Apple Over 'Secretly Throttling' Older iPhones in Latest Class Action

Class action lawsuits continue to mount against Apple over the iPhone Slowdown saga.


For those unaware, late last year, Apple admitted that it throttles the maximum performance of some older iPhone models with chemically aged batteries when necessary in order to prevent the devices from unexpectedly shutting down.

Apple views this as a feature intended to provide the best user experience possible, and make iPhones last as long as possible, but it wasn't very transparent about the changes, leading some customers to believe that Apple is purposefully slowing down older iPhones as a form of planned obsolescence.

In an apology letter to customers over its lack of communication, Apple emphatically denied that it would ever "do anything to intentionally shorten the life of any Apple product, or degrade the user experience to drive customer upgrades."

Not everyone believes Apple, however, as a group of 78 customers from multiple states have jointly filed a class action lawsuit against Apple this week, accusing the company of "secretly throttling" older iPhones to force customers to upgrade to a newer iPhone, calling it "one of the largest consumer frauds in history."

The full complaint is exhaustive, as most court documents are, but the gist of it is that Apple allegedly committed fraud by secretly slowing down older iPhones as part of a money-making scheme. Through these actions, Apple is accused of violating California's Consumer Legal Remedies Act and other laws.

An excerpt from the complaint, filed in a U.S. district court in San Jose on Monday and obtained by MacRumors:

While Plaintiffs and the class need not attribute any motive behind Apple's intentional degradation of the Devices, it is evident that Apple continued to do so for the simple reason most frauds are committed: money.

Although technically complex in part, the scheme was logical and simple: The Devices were designed defectively, and Apple released software updates to conceal the Defects, all the while exacerbating the effects of the Defects—principally decreased performance—so that Device users had no choice but to purchase new batteries or upgrade their Devices, resulting in additional payments to Apple and a sustained (albeit forced) customer base.

Apple's VP of marketing Greg Joswiak recently denied this theory, calling it "about the craziest thinking in the world."

Which is about the craziest thinking in the world, where I give you a shitty experience so you go buy our new product. But, to your point, there's been so much that people forgot about how great software updates are. First of all, we have a 95 percent customer satisfaction rate with iOS 11… it's great. We have delivered through the years amazing features, from the App Store to iMessage."

The plaintiffs, who reside all across the United States, are aiming to become the representatives of the proposed class, including all users of the iPhone 5 and newer and various iPad models, including the iPad Air, iPad Pro, and iPad mini.

It's unclear why the complaint includes the iPhone 5-5s and iPads, which are not affected by the performance management, according to Apple.

This case, along with over 60 others, will likely be heard by the Honorable Judge Edward J. Davila, after the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation ordered all iPhone slowdown lawsuits to be consolidated as one large class action in the U.S. District Court for Northern California, where he presides.

Apple has already taken a few courses of action beyond apologizing, including reducing the price of battery replacements to $29 for iPhone 6 and newer through the end of 2018, and offering a $50 credit to all customers who paid for an out-of warranty battery replacement for an iPhone 6 or later in 2017.

Moreover, in iOS 11.3, Apple introduced a new Battery Health feature in beta to track an iPhone's battery and performance status.

When users first install iOS 11.3 or later, all performance management features that might have been enabled are automatically disabled. If an unexpected shutdown occurs, however, the performance management is turned back on and must be disabled manually thereafter—although Apple doesn't recommend it.

If you are experiencing issues with or have questions about your iPhone battery, contact Apple Support. Also read our guide on how to get an iPhone's battery replaced at an Apple Store or Apple Authorized Service Provider.

Related Roundup: iPhone SE 2020
Buyer's Guide: iPhone SE (Buy Now)

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
29 months ago
The lawsuits aren't necessary bad. Apple did something wrong, even borderline malicious to their users.

These lawsuits would be unwarranted if Apple didn't at first lie about it, while users who did complain about it, were told to buy new devices.

Apple throttling the devices themselves ot prevent unwarranted crashes and restarts wasn't the problem. It was the messaging and how they handled this.


First, they were asked outright did they throttle older devices? Apple outright said "NO"

When users took their slow devices to Apple stores to get inspected, These phones passed the battery test, which only tested retention capacity of the battery and not load. So devices would show up as 80%+ of their health left, but still cause crashes / throttling due to a faulty design. These users were originally tol they needed to replace their phone (at their own cost). Apple refused battery service on many of these devices.

Only after definitive evidence of throttling by 3rd parties did Apple finally admit that they had a battery problem that they secretly snuck in throttling to prevent. Again, the throttling itself isn't the problem here, it's that it was secretly implemented without user knowledge or option.


And then to top of all off, even AFTER they admitted to it, They're still charging $29 to replace batteries due to their faulty design.

anyone who doesn't think there's some merit to Apple being sued here is drinking the cool-aid. When companies behave in such anti-consumer behaviours, they should be held accountable for it.
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
29 months ago
Glad people are suing. Throttling loyal customer's phones without full disclosure is INEXCUSABLE.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
29 months ago

I thought Apple stopped slowing down iPhones after it became well known they were doing it...?

Negative. They still throttle but give you a toggle if you would rather have that wonderful experience of your phone randomly crashing under load.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
29 months ago

All batteries degrade over time.

This is a gross oversimplication that doesn't actually address the problem people have had with the battery.

The throttling issue wasn't implemented because of normal degradation. It was put in place because of a battery design issue in which the iPhones themselves attempted to draw more power from the battery than the battery allowed for, causing a shutdown.

the Throttling solution is a decent work around to the problem. But it's just a work around. Apple needed to be upfront and honest about it, which is the biggest gripe. Apple was NOT up front and honest. They got caught lying about it, after many people were either forced to pay for repairs out of pocket to 3rd party repair places (Apple refused to aknowledge this as a battery issue and refused repairs), or being told ot buy an upgraded newer device.

it wasn't until they were outright called to the carpet by numerous publications did Apple finally admit that they did in fact throttle devices.

as for battery degradation: there are two places batteries degrade. Apple's testing only accounts for 1 of those two methods. The phone shutdowns that led to the throttling was not a test Apple conducted. Historically, in virtually every single device (including most of Apple's others as well), the battery's capable load is more than enough to handle 2-5 years of this sort of degradation easily. However in the affecteed devices, margins of error were made so low that they started hitting this form of degradation behavior within 1 year. That's a design flaw.


CAR Analogy time:

Think of a phone battery like the Gas Tank + Fuel Pump combination in your car. Phone batteries perform both of these behaviours for electronics. They provide both the reserve power (gas tank) and flow of energy (Gas Pump) to the engine (CPU). When you press the gas pedal (or launch a program), the energy stored in the reserves (Gas Tank) needs to get moved from the reserve to the engine. This is what is flawed in the affected devices. So While Apple only tests how much fuel reserve the battery can hold, they didn't test for how well the pump is working to move energy to the engine. They ultimately provided a fuel pump that was inadequate for the engine with only 1 years worth of use.

Imagine if you bought a car that did that?
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
29 months ago

Some enterprising lawyer smells cash

Well, Apple WAS slowing down iPhones am I right?
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
29 months ago
Hmmm. I have an iPhone 6s that I bought outright when it was the new iPhone. In the cold of winter it would constantly shut off (because batteries don't handle the cold well) when the battery was under 50%. That's because the battery couldn't handle the peak demand. It made going for walks or doing anything outside in the winter a crapshoot. I was going to replace it because I couldn't go another winter like that.

Then the "slowdown" software was released...and I now have a fully functional 6s that stays on even in the cold of winter.

I'll take the functional phone with the "slowdown" over the one that just crashes constantly. Apple LOST a potential upgrade by instituting this fix, which flies in the face of the claims people keep making here.

The constant with most people still weeping over this? They either willfully don't understand the technical aspects of what's going on (but still bleat about it anytime they can) or they tend to use this "Slowdown" as one of 30 rambling points in an anti-Apple screed. I have a lot of issues with Apple as a company, but giving me another 2 years of life out of a phone by throttling it when the battery chemistry can't handle the peak load is NOT one of them.
[doublepost=1530809678][/doublepost]

I still don't understand why they can't fix the underlying problem when Android has.

Android has the same functionality as Apple's "throttling" built right into the OS.

Also, what Android phone are you describing? There are thousands of different battery configurations in the Android world.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

When Will the iPhone 12 Launch? Here's What We Know

Wednesday September 16, 2020 6:12 am PDT by
Yesterday's "Time Flies" Apple event saw the release of the Apple Watch Series 6, Apple Watch SE, iPad 8, and iPad Air 4, but no new iPhone models. Rumors before the event strongly alleged that it would not see the unveiling of new iPhones, with many reports pointing to an October launch. The lack of new iPhone models yesterday seems to confirm that the iPhone 12 lineup will not appear...

iOS 14 Picture in Picture No Longer Working With YouTube's Mobile Website in Safari [Without Premium]

Friday September 18, 2020 12:21 pm PDT by
Apple in iOS 14 added Picture in Picture to the iPhone, a feature designed to let you watch a video in a small screen on your device while you continue to do other things on the phone. When Picture in Picture was working with YouTube The YouTube app doesn't support Picture in Picture, but up until yesterday there was a functional workaround that allowed videos from YouTube.com to be watched...

Hands-On With the New Apple Watch Series 6 and Apple Watch SE

Friday September 18, 2020 1:19 pm PDT by
Today's the official launch date for the Apple Watch Series 6 and the Apple Watch SE, both of which Apple announced on Tuesday. We picked up a couple of the new models and thought we'd give them a quick look for MacRumors readers thinking of ordering a new watch. Apple Watch Series 6 & Apple Watch SE Hands-On! When it comes to design, both the $399 Series 6 and the $279 SE look just like...

Here's How You Can Download iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 Around the World [It's Out]

Wednesday September 16, 2020 2:36 am PDT by
Apple's official public release of iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 dropped on Wednesday, September 16, just a day after the company released the Golden Master to third-party developers. Also set to be made available to the general public for the first time are watchOS 7 and tvOS 14. Getting Started With iOS 14 Video Click image to watch iOS 14 Getting Started While that's left a lot of developers...

Apple Releases iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 With Home Screen Redesign, App Library, Compact UI, Translate App, Scribble Support, App Clips, and More

Wednesday September 16, 2020 12:48 pm PDT by
Apple has released iOS 14 and iPadOS 14, the newest operating system updates designed for the iPhone and iPad. As with all of Apple's software updates, iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 can be downloaded for free. iOS 14 is available on the iPhone 6s and later, while iPadOS 14 is available on the iPad Air 2 and later. The updates are available on all eligible devices over-the-air in the Settings app. To ...

iOS 14.2 Beta Adds New Shazam Music Recognition Feature for Control Center

Thursday September 17, 2020 3:36 pm PDT by
Apple today released the first beta of iOS 14.2 to developers for testing purposes, and the new update introduces a Music Recognition control for the Control Center. The new feature lets you discover music playing around you and it recognizes the music playing with in apps, even when you're wearing AirPods. Songs pop up as notifications, and you can tap to listen in Apple Music....

Apple Updates AirPods 2 and AirPods Pro Firmware to Version 3A283

Monday September 14, 2020 11:24 am PDT by
Apple today released new 3A283 firmware updates for the second-generation AirPods and the AirPods Pro. The second-generation AirPods are being updated from the 2D15 firmware they were previously running, while the AirPods Pros are being updated from the 2D27 firmware they had installed previously. Apple does not provide details on what's included in refreshed firmware so we don't know what's ...

Rumor Report Card: Assessing the Accuracy of Leaks After Apple's Event

Friday September 18, 2020 12:57 pm PDT by
Apple hosted its virtual "Time Flies" event this week, where it introduced four new products, including the Apple Watch Series 6, lower-cost Apple Watch SE, a 10.9-inch iPad Air with an all-screen design, and an updated 10.2-inch iPad with a faster A12 Bionic chip. As expected, there were no new iPhones, which are believed to be coming in October instead. Apple also announced that it will be ...

Epic Games Announces 'Fortnite: Save the World' Will No Longer Be Playable on macOS

Friday September 18, 2020 4:50 am PDT by
Epic Games has announced that "Fortnite: Save the World" will no longer be playable on macOS, after Apple terminated Epic Games' developer account. Fortnite has been in violation of the ‌App Store‌ rules since August 13, when it introduced a direct payment option that skirted Apple's in-app purchase system by allowing payments directly to ‌Epic Games‌. Shortly after Epic blatantly...

Deals: Cellular Carriers Introduce First Offers on Apple Watch Series 6 and SE

Friday September 18, 2020 7:43 am PDT by
With the launch of the Apple Watch Series 6 and Apple Watch SE today, cellular carriers have now introduced special offers for these new wearable devices. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with these vendors. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running. Starting with AT&T, if you buy one Apple Watch Series 3, Series...