Apple Faces Yet Another Class Action Lawsuit Over 'Secretly Throttling' Older iPhones

A group of 18 individuals have filed a class action lawsuit against Apple this week in a Northern California federal court, accusing the company of "secretly throttling" older iPhones starting in January 2017.

iphone 6s battery
The complaint, seen by MacRumors, refers to the iPhone slowdown saga as "one of the largest consumer frauds in history, affecting hundreds of millions of mobile devices across the globe," adding that Apple intentionally degraded devices as part of a planned obsolescence scheme to maximize profits:

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.

Apple previously denied any kind of planned obsolescence by flat out stating that it never has and never would do anything to intentionally shorten the life of any Apple product, or degrade the user experience, to drive customer upgrades:

We have never — and would never — do anything to intentionally shorten the life of any Apple product, or degrade the user experience to drive customer upgrades. Our goal has always been to create products that our customers love, and making iPhones last as long as possible is an important part of that.

Apple faces over 60 class action lawsuits worldwide over this matter. The first was filed in December 2017, after Apple revealed 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.

This latest lawsuit will likely be consolidated with the others in Northern California district court for streamlined proceedings.

Apple introduced the performance management system in iOS 10.2.1, but it did not initially mention the change in the update's release notes. Likewise, in a statement issued a month later, Apple still only mentioned vague "improvements" resulting in a significant reduction in unexpected ‌iPhone‌ shutdowns.

Apple only revealed exactly what the so-called "improvements" were after Primate Labs founder John Poole visualized that some ‌iPhone‌ 6s and ‌iPhone‌ 7 devices suddenly had lower benchmark scores starting with iOS 10.2.1 and iOS 11.2 respectively, despite operating at maximum performance on previous versions.

Apple apologized for its lack of communication in December 2017, and reduced the price of battery replacements to $29 for ‌iPhone‌ 6 and newer through the end of 2018. Apple then released iOS 11.3 with a new feature that enables users to track their ‌iPhone‌ battery's health and performance status.

The performance management system has also been disabled by default since iOS 11.3, and it is only enabled if an ‌iPhone‌ suffers an unexpected shutdown. The performance management can be manually disabled by users as well.

MacRumors put together a list of frequently asked questions and answers about Apple's performance management system, which can be avoided entirely by replacing your ‌iPhone‌'s battery if necessary. Read our guide on how to get an iPhone's battery replaced at an Apple Store or Apple Authorized Service Provider.

The full complaint is embedded ahead…

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Top Rated Comments

popltree2 Avatar
63 months ago
"...one of the largest consumer frauds in history". I haven't seen that kind of melodrama since my kid dropped her ice cream and she acted like I just told her our dog died.
Score: 39 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Narcaz Avatar
63 months ago
The iOS update should have been more clear about the real cause of sudden shutdowns and slow performance. In addition to this their 80% health policy prevented customers from replacing worn out batteries (even if they were willing to pay for it) while the geniuses recommended new devices as replacement for suddenly slow phones. Especially the latter reeks of bad intentions and will hopefully result in a lot of lost lawsuits for Apple.
Score: 25 Votes (Like | Disagree)
kennyt72 Avatar
63 months ago
The so called geniuses at my local Apple store told my sister in law that they recommend a new phone as hers was slowing up and they did not mention anything about battery replacement, luckily she refused a new phone and got a new battery after talking to me. My 6S Maximum Capacity in the battery health in settings has been at 81% for the past 2 years funny how it won't creep below the 80% mark even though my battery is dead if i use it for 30 mins. Apple have been running the battery scam for years and years and I hope they lose all these cases.
Score: 25 Votes (Like | Disagree)
e1me5 Avatar
63 months ago
Planned obsolescence, my back. My 6s outlived all of my friends' newer android phones and it keeps going strong.
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
KazKam Avatar
63 months ago
Usually I'm against these frivolous class actions, but SOMETHING is going on with older phones. I know my experience is anecdotal, but my 6s was recently running fine until iOS 12.31 (now on 12.4) and all of a sudden my battery is draining super fast. Battery was replaced by Apple less than two years ago, and battery health reports at 88%. This is without any change in my app/usage habits.

They keep doing something that negatively effects the battery performance of my older phone, and it's really pissing me off.
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
AppleTO Avatar
63 months ago
This is getting really old and I’ve never understood why this is a big deal. Apple didn’t invent lithium ion batteries or how they lose capacity and electrical potential over time.

What happens when you decease the voltage on an incandescent bulb? It gets dimmer... duh

Did you know that if you plug an underrated power supply into most laptops they will automatically throttle down the processor in order to prevent power loss? Hmmm... kind of seems like the better option. Apple was only following industry standards for power management.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)