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

(View all)
Avatar
15 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)
Avatar
15 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)
Avatar
15 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)
Avatar
15 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)
Avatar
15 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
15 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)

Top Stories

Apple Officially Obsoletes First MacBook Pro With a Retina Display

Wednesday July 1, 2020 3:40 am PDT by
As expected, Apple's first MacBook Pro with a Retina display is now officially classed as "obsolete" worldwide, just over eight years after its release. In a support document, Apple notes that obsolete products are no longer eligible for hardware service, with "no exceptions." This means that any mid-2012 Retina MacBook Pro 15-inch models still out there that require a battery or other...

New Mac Ransomware Found in Pirated Mac Apps

Tuesday June 30, 2020 11:44 am PDT by
There's a new 'EvilQuest' Mac ransomware variant that's spreading through pirated Mac apps, according to a new report shared today by Malwarebytes. The new ransomware was found in pirated download for the Little Snitch app found on a Russian forum. Right from the point of download, it was clear that something was wrong with the illicit version of Little Snitch, as it had a generic installer...

Unreleased iMac With 10-Core Comet Lake-S Chip and Radeon Pro 5300 GPU Shows Up in Geekbench

Wednesday July 1, 2020 10:48 am PDT by
Benchmarks for an unreleased iMac equipped with a 10th-generation Core i9 Intel Comet Lake-S chip and an AMD Radeon Pro 5300 graphics card have surfaced, giving us an idea of what we can expect from a refreshed 2020 iMac. The Geekbench benchmarks, which appear to be legit, were found on Twitter and shared this morning by Tom's Hardware. The iMac in the benchmarks would be a successor to the...

Leaker: Future iPhone Models to Come in 'Exquisite' Thinner Box

Wednesday July 1, 2020 1:57 am PDT by
Leaker L0vetodream this morning posted a tweet corroborating recent rumors that Apple's "iPhone 12" lineup won't come with EarPods or a charger in the box, adding that this will also eventually apply to the existing second-generation iPhone SE. L0vetodream also claims that future iPhone packaging will be "thinner" and "exquisite," which would make sense if Apple's handsets are set to come in ...

Apple's A12Z Under Rosetta Outperforms Microsoft's Native Arm-Based Surface Pro X

Monday June 29, 2020 10:31 am PDT by
Apple's Developer Transition Kit equipped with an A12Z iPad Pro chip began arriving in the hands of developers this morning to help them get their apps ready for Macs running Apple Silicon, and though forbidden, the first thing some developers did was benchmark the machine. Multiple Geekbench results have indicated that the Developer Transition Kit, which is a Mac mini with an iPad Pro chip, ...

Kuo: iPhone 12 Models Won't Include Charger in Box, 20W Power Adapter Will Be Sold Separately

Sunday June 28, 2020 7:56 am PDT by
iPhone 12 models will not include EarPods or a power adapter in the box, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said today in a research note obtained by MacRumors. This lines up with a prediction shared by analysts at Barclays earlier this week. Kuo said that Apple will instead release a new 20W power adapter as an optional accessory for iPhones and end production of its existing 5W and 18W power adapters...

Rosetta 2 Benchmarks Surface From Mac Mini With A12Z Chip

Monday June 29, 2020 7:48 am PDT by
While the terms and conditions for Apple's new "Developer Transition Kit" forbid developers from running benchmarks on the modified Mac mini with an A12Z chip, it appears that results are beginning to surface anyhow. Image Credit: Radek Pietruszewski Geekbench results uploaded so far suggest that the A12Z-based Mac mini has average single-core and multi-core scores of 811 and 2,781...

Display Analyst Once Again Says No 120Hz ProMotion Display Coming to iPhone 12 Pro

Wednesday July 1, 2020 11:29 am PDT by
Apple's iPhone 12 models will not feature an upgraded 120Hz ProMotion display, according to display analyst Ross Young. Young previously said that Apple would not implement ProMotion technology until it adopted low-power LTPO display technology, a move Apple is not expected to make until 2021. In a tweet shared this morning, Young said that the none of his contacts have been able to...

Apple Seeds Third Betas of iOS and iPadOS 13.6 to Developers [Update: Public Beta Available]

Tuesday June 30, 2020 10:06 am PDT by
Apple today seeded the third betas of upcoming iOS and iPadOS 13.6 updates to developers, three weeks after seeding the second betas and over a month after releasing iOS/iPadOS 13.5 with Exposure Notification API, Face ID updates, Group FaceTime changes, and more. iOS and iPadOS 13.6 can be downloaded from the Apple Developer Center or over the air once the proper developer profile has been...

The New York Times Ends Apple News Partnership and Pulls All Articles

Monday June 29, 2020 11:17 am PDT by
The New York Times today announced that it is pulling out of Apple News, as the service does not "align with its strategy of building direct relationships with paying readers." Starting today, articles from The New York Times will no longer show up in the Apple News app. The news site says that Apple has given it "little in the way of direct relationships with readers" and "little control...