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."

iphone 7 call
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.

Tag: lawsuit

Top Rated Comments

dannyyankou Avatar
25 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)
JPack Avatar
25 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)
novakedy2 Avatar
25 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)
kemal Avatar
25 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)
jezbd1997 Avatar
25 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)
longofest Avatar
25 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

samsung experience 1

Samsung's 'iTest' Lets You Try a Galaxy Device on Your iPhone

Thursday April 8, 2021 12:42 pm PDT by
Samsung has launched "iTest," an interactive website experience that's designed to allow iPhone users to test out Android on a Galaxy device, or "sample the other side," as Samsung puts it. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. The iTest website is being advertised in New Zealand, according to a MacRumors reader who came across the feature. Visiting the iTest website on...
pixel watch prosser leak

Google Pixel Watch Allegedly Leaks with Circular Design, Rumored to Launch in October

Monday April 12, 2021 2:49 am PDT by
Renders of Google's first smartwatch, codenamed "Rohan," have been shared by Jon Prosser, showing that Google plans to adopt a circular design for its flagship wearable watch. Prosser shared the renders in an episode of his YouTube show "Front Page Tech," in which he claims they were made based on marketing material he had seen from a source within Google. The renders show that the Pixel...
AppleTV and HomePod Feature

Bloomberg: Apple Working on New Apple TV With Integrated HomePod Speaker and FaceTime Camera

Monday April 12, 2021 3:32 am PDT by
Apple is working on a combined Apple TV with HomePod speaker that has a camera for video calls through a connected television set, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. From the report: The company is working on a product that would combine an Apple TV set-top box with a HomePod speaker and include a camera for video conferencing through a connected TV and other smart-home functions,...
nba tracking prompt orange

Two-Thirds of iPhone Users Expected to Block Ad Tracking

Friday April 9, 2021 7:19 am PDT by
As many as 68 percent of iPhone users are expected to deny advertisers permission to track them thanks to Apple's App Tracking Transparency feature, in what is beginning to look like a significant blow to the advertising industry (via AdWeek). With the launch of iOS 14.5, apps will have to receive explicit user permission before accessing an iPhone's advertising identifier or IDFA, which is...
fake airpods 3

Counterfeit 'AirPods 3' Hit the Market Prior to Official Announcement

Friday April 9, 2021 2:45 am PDT by
Apple is expected to launch the third iteration of AirPods in the third quarter of this year. Rumors and reports suggest the new AirPods will feature an updated design more in line with the AirPods Pro, but lacking in "Pro" features such as active noise cancellation. Despite AirPods 3 not yet being officially announced by Apple, counterfeit products of the unreleased earbuds have already hit ...
Top Stories 56 Feature

Top Stories: 'Find My' Expansion, iPhone 13 Pro Mockup, Largest-Ever iMac?

Saturday April 10, 2021 6:00 am PDT by
Apple's AirTags may still be nowhere to be seen nearly two years after signs of them were first discovered, but Apple this week launched its Find My network accessory program that will let third-party devices integrate with the Find My app on Apple's platforms to make it easy to keep track of your items. This week also saw fresh rumors about the upcoming "iPhone 13" and new iMacs, while...
ehric

iPhone 12 Mini Missing From Top 5 Best Selling Smartphone List of January 2021

Friday April 9, 2021 4:58 am PDT by
According to market data compiled by Counterpoint Research, Apple's smallest iPhone since the 2016 iPhone SE, the iPhone 12 mini, struggled to obtain a spot in the top five list of best-selling smartphones in January of this year. According to the market data, the iPhone 12 mini came in eighth place for the best-selling smartphone worldwide in the first month of the year. However, the iPhone ...
sonny 2021 ipad mini pro dummies

Leaked Dummy Units Show iPad Mini 6 With Thick Bezels and Home Button, New iPad Pro Models

Thursday April 8, 2021 2:11 am PDT by
Rumors suggest Apple will release refreshed versions of the iPad mini and iPad Pro models in the first half of this year, potentially as soon as this month, and a new leak today has provided us with a possible preview of what to expect in terms of the devices' overall design and camera prospects. Tech leaker and Apple blogger Sonny Dickson this morning shared images on Twitter showing dummy ...
Google maps feaure green

Google Maps App for iOS Finally Updated After Four Months

Monday April 12, 2021 10:03 am PDT by
Following the completed rollout of App Privacy labels for its App Store apps, Google today updated the Google Maps app for the first time in four months. Apple in December began requiring all new app submissions and app updates to include App Privacy labels, detailing the data that is collected by the app so consumers know what they're sharing. Google didn't begin implementing App Privacy ...
epic iap feature 3

Tim Cook Says App Store Would Become a 'Flea Market' if Third-Party Payment Systems Were Allowed

Monday April 12, 2021 9:41 am PDT by
In a recent interview with the Toronto Star, Apple CEO Tim Cook spoke about a wide variety of topics, ranging from App Tracking Transparency to Apple's ongoing legal battle over App Store policies with Fortnite creator Epic Games. Notably, Cook said that Epic Games' desire for Apple to let developers offer their own payment systems in apps "would make the App Store a flea market":At the...