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
22 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
22 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
22 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
22 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
22 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
22 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

lg wing

LG Considering Exit From Smartphone Business, Halts LCD Production for iPhone

Wednesday January 20, 2021 5:38 am PST by
LG is considering exiting the smartphone business entirely amid declining shipments and accrued losses of $4.5 billion over the past five years (via The Korea Herald). LG CEO Kwon Bong-Seok cautioned staff earlier today that the company is re-evaluating its presence in the smartphone industry: Since the competition in the global market for mobile devices is getting fiercer, it is about...
google maps detailed street level e1611052089473

Google Maps Gains Enhanced Street-Level Detail in Four Major Cities

Tuesday January 19, 2021 2:34 am PST by
Google Maps has quietly been updated to include significantly more detailed street-level information in a handful of key cities around the world. Upon zooming in, Google's maps for Central London, Tokyo, San Francisco, and New York now benefit from shapes and widths that match the scale of roads more accurately. Meanwhile, enhanced graphical representations of sidewalks, crosswalks,...
2019 mac pro side and front

Tim Cook Gifted Donald Trump 'First' 2019 Mac Pro

Wednesday January 20, 2021 5:45 pm PST by
Apple CEO Tim Cook gifted former United States President Donald Trump with the first 2019 Mac Pro that came off of the assembly line in Austin, Texas, according to a financial disclosure report that was released today (via The Verge). "Mac Pro Computer, the first created at the Flex Factory in Austin, Texas," reads the entry, which values the machine at $5,999, the base price for a Mac Pro....
airpods max sim ejector

AirPods Max Headband Removable With Just a SIM Ejector Tool, Hinting at Interchangeable Headbands

Tuesday January 19, 2021 8:25 am PST by
It is possible to remove the headband of AirPods Max with just a standard SIM card ejector tool, hinting at the possibility of interchanging headbands to achieve a different colorway. Image via Prelook In December, MacRumors revealed the large variety of AirPods Max ear cushion color combinations when it became clear that they were magnetically attatched and available for sale separately....
iphone 5s black slate

Images of Unreleased iPhone 5s in Black and Slate Shared Online

Sunday January 17, 2021 9:47 am PST by
Twitter user @DongleBookPro has today shared images of a prototype iPhone 5s in an unreleased Black and Slate color. The iPhone 5s was launched in September 2013. The device featured Touch ID, a 64-bit processor, and a True Tone LED flash for the first time. Other new features included a five-element lens with an f/2.2 aperture, a 15 percent larger camera sensor, Burst Mode, and Slo-Mo...
iphone 12 vs iphone 12 mini

Apple Shifting Some Production From iPhone 12 mini to iPhone 12 Pro to Meet Demand

Wednesday January 20, 2021 8:12 am PST by
Apple has reportedly cut production of the iPhone 12 mini by two million units to create more manufacturing capacity for the iPhone 12 Pro, according to a new Morgan Stanley investment note seen by PED30. Apple is believed to have made the switch for the first quarter of 2021 in an effort to combat continuing lead times for the more popular iPhone 12 Pro. iPhone 12 Pro lead times remain ...
Apple VR Feature

Bloomberg: Apple's First AR/VR Headset 'Pricey, Niche Precursor' to More Ambitious AR Glasses and Could Launch Next Year

Thursday January 21, 2021 3:27 am PST by
Apple's first virtual reality headset will be a "pricey, niche precursor" to a more ambitious augmented reality product, according to a new report from Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. As a mostly virtual reality device, it will display an all-encompassing 3-D digital environment for gaming, watching video and communicating. AR functionality, the ability to overlay images and information over a view...
shot on iphone 12 apple

Apple Highlights Photos Shot by iPhone 12 Users: Portraits, Cityscapes, and More

Tuesday January 19, 2021 6:05 am PST by
Apple today shared a gallery of photos shot by customers using the iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPhone 12 Pro Max, with scenes including cityscapes, landscapes, portraits of people, and more at day and night. Shot on iPhone 12 Pro Max by "NKCHU" in China (top) and shot on iPhone 12 Pro Max by Rohit Vohra in India (bottom) iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 12 models have a dual camera ...
Apple and Hyundai feature

Apple Car Production Again Linked to Kia Motor's US Plant in Georgia

Tuesday January 19, 2021 4:19 am PST by
Hyundai intends to transition the company's Apple Car involvement to its Kia brand as part of an internal arrangement that could see production move to the U.S., according to a new report today. On Sunday, Korea IT News reported that Apple and Hyundai are seeking a partnership agreement for the upcoming Apple Car by March, and that the electric vehicles could be made at a Georgia factory...
iPhone 13 Notch Feature

iPhone 13 Rumored to Feature Smaller Notch, Pro Model Cameras to Use Larger Image Sensor

Thursday January 21, 2021 1:38 am PST by
Apple's iPhone 13 series will feature a redesigned Face ID system that will allow for a smaller notch at the top of the screen, according to a new report today. The rumor comes via hit-and-miss Taiwanese industry publication DigiTimes, whose supply chain sources also claim that the ultra wide-angle lens in Apple's next-generation iPhones is due for an upgrade. The next-generation iPhones'...