Class Action Lawsuit Over iPhone 7 Audio Chip Defect Narrowed, But Allowed to Proceed

A class action lawsuit accusing Apple of violating consumer laws and breaching its warranties over an alleged iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus audio chip defect has been allowed to proceed, but the case has been narrowed.

U.S. district judge Jon Tigar on Thursday denied Apple's motion to dismiss the plaintiffs' claims for breach of implied warranty under California law, violations of the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, and unjust enrichment in the form of an alternative remedy. The court granted Apple's motion to dismiss the remaining claims, but the plaintiffs have an opportunity to amend their complaint within 21 days.

iphone 7 call
Filed in May 2019, the class action lawsuit alleged 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.

The defect results in multiple issues on affected devices, ranging from a grayed-out speaker button to customers not being heard during phone calls and FaceTime video chats, according to the complaint.

The initial complaint sought an order that would require Apple to repair, recall, and/or replace the affected iPhones and to extend the warranties of the devices for a reasonable period of time. The plaintiffs also sought damages "likely in the millions of dollars" that would be divided among affected customers.

The class action has been consolidated in Northern California court.

"Loop Disease"

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

The alleged defect is commonly referred to as "Audio IC issues" and it is also informally known as "Loop Disease" on the web.

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, some 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 mileage varies.

‌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 full order on Apple's motion to dismiss is embedded below.

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Top Rated Comments

rjp1 Avatar
58 months ago
I wish they'd just step up and fix things like this without being forced to do so. The flaw is widespread and was their fault.

The repair community narrowed it down to one point on the mother board. I had to get 2 iPhone 7's fixed for this issue and paid $100 for a 3rd party to do it. They install a small wire so that if it flexes in the future, then it will still stay connected and not have the issue again.

If you pay Apple for the repair, then they will give you another iPhone 7 that will just have the same issue.

Apple has miserable support on things like this. At the very least, if people pay them to do the repair, then do the proper repair.


Had my iPhone 7 Plus since release and so far, I've had no issues. Hopefully upgrading this year though
That is what everyone says right up until they do. :rolleyes:
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
now i see it Avatar
58 months ago
Yeah-
How they're treating some iPhone 7 customers is really bad.
Makes one not want to have anything to do with them.
I have an iPhone 7 out of warranty with ALL the loop disease problems and an Apple tech refused to acknowledge the problems existed and refused to repair it. All I was given was a run-around to go to AT&T who then told me to go to Apple - who then tried to sell me a newer iPhone 7.
If that wasn't enough, I asked them to replace the battery - but was told it didn't need replacing (though 85% on its death bed) ... so wasn't -- and now if I don't use the phone for a few days, it won't even boot up because the battery is at ZERO charge even though I left it at 80% before shutting it down.

Yeah-this forum is full of fake apple apologists, defending the big , but my experience with their customer support gets an F--
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Stromos Avatar
58 months ago
I have a friend who's perfect condition 7 Plus lost microphone functionality this week. Now I need to do some digging Apple laughed at her and said pay 300 or get a new phone.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Marshall73 Avatar
58 months ago

Where's the lawsuit for iOS bricking people's phones and killing their pictures/data?



backup your data, no backup then no luck. People a just plain dumb and take zero responsibility for their data. If an update causes data loss and you have no backup then tough ****.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
HVDynamo Avatar
58 months ago

Yeah-
How they're treating some iPhone 7 customers is really bad.
Makes one not want to have anything to do with them.
I have an iPhone 7 out of warranty with ALL the loop disease problems and an Apple tech refused to acknowledge the problems existed and refused to repair it. All I was given was a run-around to go to AT&T who then told me to go to Apple - who then tried to sell me a newer iPhone 7.
If that wasn't enough, I asked them to replace the battery - but was told it didn't need replacing (though 85% on its death bed) ... so wasn't -- and now if I don't use the phone for a few days, it won't even boot up because the battery is at ZERO charge even though I left it at 80% before shutting it down.

Yeah-this forum is full of fake apple apologists, defending the big , but my experience with their customer support gets an F--
I don't understand the refusal to change the battery. Granted this is just my experience, but I had an older 6S that I got from a friend that was down to 88%. The battery was still fine, but I was giving my phone to my dad that Christmas, so I just told them I was gifting it to my dad and I wanted a fresh battery for him. They didn't bother me about it at all, they just replaced it for me. I think you should take it in again and just tell them you want the battery replaced.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Joe Rossignol Avatar
58 months ago

I have a friend who's perfect condition 7 Plus lost microphone functionality this week. Now I need to do some digging Apple laughed at her and said pay 300 or get a new phone.
Yup, this is common
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)