Apple Hit With Two Class Action Lawsuits Over iPhone 7 Audio Issues

Apple potentially has a legal battle on its hands over iPhone 7 audio chip issues informally known as "Loop Disease."


Two class action lawsuits filed against Apple in California and Illinois over the last week accuse the company of knowingly selling the iPhone 7 and ‌iPhone‌ 7 Plus with an audio chip defect that causes issues ranging from a grayed-out speaker button to customers not being heard during phone calls and FaceTime video chats.

The nearly identical complaints, viewed by MacRumors, allege that "the materials used in the ‌iPhone‌'s external casing are insufficient and inadequate to protect the internal parts," eventually resulting in the audio chip losing electrical contact with the logic board due to "flexion" of the device during regular use.

Apple is accused of actively concealing the defect and failing to provide free repairs to affected customers outside of a brief period last year, thereby breaching its warranties and violating multiple California and Illinois consumer protection laws.

The plaintiffs, including California residents Joseph Casillas and De'Jhontai Banks and Illinois residents Brianna Castelli, Karen Lyvers, and Matthew White, are seeking damages "likely in the millions of dollars" on behalf of all other affected ‌iPhone‌ 7 and ‌iPhone‌ 7 Plus customers in the United States.

The plaintiffs are also seeking an order that requires Apple to repair, recall, and/or replace the affected iPhones and to extend the warranties of the devices for a reasonable period of time. A jury trial has been demanded.

In an internal document obtained by MacRumors in May 2018, Apple acknowledged a related microphone issue affecting some iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus models. The document, provided to Apple Stores and Apple Authorized Service Providers, described the same audio issues mentioned in the class action lawsuits.

Apple's document said service providers could request a "warranty exception" for affected iPhones, which resulted in free repairs for at least some customers, but that abruptly ended in July 2018 after Apple deleted the document.

Since then, many Apple employees have failed to acknowledge the internal guidelines ever existed, resulting in many customers having to pay an out-of-warranty fee of over $300 in the United States for a fix. Of course, some customers have managed to argue their way to a free repair, but this is not common.

‌iPhone‌ 7 and ‌iPhone‌ 7 Plus devices still within Apple's limited one-year warranty period or covered by AppleCare+ remain eligible for a free repair, but the audio chip issues usually take time to manifest, and warranty coverage has lapsed on many of the devices since they were released in September 2016.

MacRumors has repeatedly contacted Apple for comment regarding the audio chip issues, but we have never received a response.

The complaints are embedded below.

Casillas et al v. Apple, Inc. by MacRumors on Scribd on Scribd

Castelli et al v. Apple Inc. by MacRumors on Scribd on Scribd

Tag: lawsuit

Top Rated Comments

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18 months ago

What a dumb case. You really can sue for anything in the USA lol.

This is a real issue, my brother had to replace his phone over it. People couldn't hear him on phone calls.
Score: 24 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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18 months ago
This is often the pre-requisite before Apple will launch a repair extension program.

Until then, Apple will forever claim a “small percentage” of owners are affected.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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18 months ago

Does seem very odd that it takes 3 years to get around to suing over a device that was first released in 2016... just upgrade and get over it.. and how many devices did it actually affect? If it were as bad as it always gets made out to be, it would not have taken this long to get to this point.. Course let Sammy have a crummy device, and no one cares to bother to sue..

What Apple does by forcing these people to upgrade their devices is what’s breeding this sort of rude attitude toward a big issue like this. My very best friend and I bought our iPhone 7 Plus’ together on the same day. Just over a year and a half or so, past warranty, and I’ve already upgraded to the iPhone X, her phone has this issue. I swap her out with my old one and it almost immediately had the same issue. She is, like I’m sure many are, not in a financial position to just add monthly costs to their phone bills for upgrades that shouldn’t be necessary for what should be a perfectly working and still relevant phone. A lot of people fail to think about those struggling to just pay their normal bills and can’t even use hand me down phones because of an issue like this one. I hope this gains traction and they make a repair or replacement possible
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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18 months ago
Boils down to a very short PCB trace normal to the axis of flexure. And they knew about it.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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18 months ago

What a dumb case. You really can sue for anything in the USA lol.

It's a real issue, my mum's 7 plus had it on and off.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
18 months ago

What a dumb case. You really can sue for anything in the USA lol.

Its a dumb case to sue the manufacturer of a phone for the phone breaking and being useless as a phone?
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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