Apple's Plan to Pay $500 Million to Settle Lawsuit Over 'Secretly Throttling' Older iPhones Gets Preliminary Approval

Apple in March agreed to pay $500 million to settle a class action lawsuit that accused the company of "secretly throttling" older iPhone models, and now the settlement has been preliminarily approved by a judge.

iphone 6s battery
According to Law360, U.S. District Judge Edward J. Davila in a Zoom hearing provided preliminary approval but said that he wants to extend the final approval deadlines due to the ongoing health crisis. Apple's lawyers have been instructed to propose a new date for a settlement approval hearing that will take place sometime in December.

If the settlement is approved, it will put an end to dozens of lawsuits that were levied against Apple and ultimately consolidated into one class-action suit in May 2018. The lawsuits were filed against Apple after Apple confirmed that it introduced software to throttle the maximum performance of some older ‌iPhone‌ models with chemically aged batteries no longer capable of supporting full power to prevent these devices from shutting down unexpectedly.

Apple 2017 released iOS 10.2.1 with performance management software that had the throttling built in, but made little mention of the change in the software's release notes. The throttling was discovered by Primate Labs founder John Poole when he noticed lower than expected benchmark scores, and there was a major public outcry after it was discovered Apple was limiting performance.

Apple apologized for its lack of communication and ultimately launched a battery repair program that dropped the price of battery replacements to $29 through the end of 2018. Because the throttling kicks in when an ‌iPhone‌ has a degraded battery, a battery replacement effectively fixes the issue.

Apple in iOS 11.3 introduced a new feature that allows users to see the current health of their batteries, and it turned off the performance management feature by default until an unexpected shutdown occurs. Though agreeing to settle the case, Apple has maintained that it did nothing wrong legally.

If approved, the settlement will provide every affected ‌iPhone‌ user in the class with $25. The amount could increase or decrease somewhat depending on legal fees and the aggregate value of the approved claims. If the payouts, attorney fees, and expenses don't add up to at least $310 million, class members could receive up to $500 apiece until that minimum is reached.

Apple has email addresses for most class members, so attorneys for both sides believe there will be a high claims rate.

The lawsuit includes all former or current U.S. ‌iPhone‌ owners that have the ‌iPhone‌ 6, 6 Plus, 6s, 6s Plus, 7, 7 Plus, and SE, running either iOS 10.2.1 or later or iOS 11.2 or later, and who ran these versions of iOS prior to December 21, 2017.

Top Rated Comments

axboi87 Avatar
13 months ago
I have frequent gripes and a love/hate relationship with Apple. Really don't consider myself a fanboy....but this is one of those things where this was actually a great engineering feature that Apple just wasn't forthcoming enough with. Most phones would just start flaking out when their batteries start to degrade....this actually allows you to get much longer life out of a battery by compromising cpu voltage to prevent failure. The huge push to accuse Apple of malice on this is a perfect example of the scourge that is ignorant populism.
Score: 55 Votes (Like | Disagree)
decypher44 Avatar
13 months ago
Can’t wait to get my check for $0.05!
Score: 34 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ignatius345 Avatar
13 months ago

I have frequent gripes and a love/hate relationship with Apple. Really don't consider myself a fanboy....but this is one of those things where this was actually a great engineering feature that Apple just wasn't forthcoming enough with. Most phones would just start flaking out when their batteries start to degrade....this actually allows you to get much longer life out of a battery by compromising cpu voltage to prevent failure. The huge push to accuse Apple of malice on this is a perfect example of the scourge that is ignorant populism.
Yeah, it's a great engineering solution. I don't think anyone is arguing against that (and if they are, they're wrong).

Where it gets tricky is the "wasn't forthcoming" part. People's older phones slowed down and, not knowing why, they bought new phones from Apple because of that. Until "thottlegate" came to light, Apple didn't tell customers they could pay to have their worn-out batteries replaced to enable their phones to run at full speed.

Even if you give Apple the benefit of the doubt here and attribute this to poor communication instead of manipulation of their customers, they still benefitted from people buying new phones to replace throttled phones. That's why there's a case here.
Score: 32 Votes (Like | Disagree)
fs454 Avatar
13 months ago

Is this an example of actions speak louder than words?



Not sure if this was a great(?) engineering feature or a passive way to push people to upgrade their iPhone. I think if Apple was forthcoming about it, I would've preferred my battery to die than to slow down the phone.
And still to this day, people are alarmingly misinformed about this simple issue.

It's not just having the battery die a little earlier. Either the phone randomly powers down at any battery level under sudden loads (like launching an app) since the aged battery can't sustain voltage spikes like it could 500 cycles prior, or it throttles back slightly to allow for you to not lose everything you were doing and 90 seconds to reboot. Apple chose not to allow the phone to power off. You've got the choice now, I hope you're now using it with the setting in the "will randomly turn off" position.
Score: 24 Votes (Like | Disagree)
edgonzalez32 Avatar
13 months ago

I have frequent gripes and a love/hate relationship with Apple. Really don't consider myself a fanboy....but this is one of those things where this was actually a great engineering feature that Apple just wasn't forthcoming enough with. Most phones would just start flaking out when their batteries start to degrade....this actually allows you to get much longer life out of a battery by compromising cpu voltage to prevent failure. The huge push to accuse Apple of malice on this is a perfect example of the scourge that is ignorant populism.
if it was solely great engineering, then why didn’t they say it in the first place?
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
alitarbegshe Avatar
13 months ago
Now about those iPads that are throttled with no option for battery management.......
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

General Music and AirPod 3 Feature

Rumor: Apple to Announce Third-Generation AirPods and HiFi Apple Music Tier on May 18

Thursday May 13, 2021 10:32 pm PDT by
A new rumor suggests that Apple will announce the third-generation AirPods and the recently rumored HiFi, or high-fidelity Apple Music tier, on Tuesday, May 18, via a press release on its website. The new rumor comes from Apple YouTuber Luke Miani who shared the alleged exclusive news with the AppleTrack website. According to the YouTuber, Apple plans to release the next-generation AirPods...
apple park drone june 2018 2

Apple Fires Newly Hired Ex-Facebook Product Manager Following Revelations of Past Misogynistic Comments

Thursday May 13, 2021 12:10 am PDT by
Apple has fired Antonio García Martínez, an ex-Facebook product manager and author of the controversial book "Chaos Monkeys," following public and internal calls for removal and investigation due to past misogynistic statements, The Verge reports. Apple hired Martínez earlier this week to join its ads team, however, comments that Martínez made in the past sparked condemnation from users...
imac m1 blue isolated 16x9 500k

M1 iMac is Up to 56% Faster Than Prior-Generation High-End 21.5-Inch iMac

Wednesday May 12, 2021 10:03 am PDT by
Apple's M1 iMacs are set to start delivering to customers next week, and ahead of the official launch day, benchmarks for the machines have been showing up on Geekbench, likely from reviewers who are testing them. It will come as no surprise that M1 iMac benchmarks are right on par with benchmarks for the M1 MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, and Mac mini, coming in with an average single-core score...
2021 mbp hdmi slot 3d

2021 MacBook Pro Leaks Confirm Returning MagSafe and Ports

Friday May 14, 2021 3:06 am PDT by
Apple's upcoming MacBook Pro models are expected to feature a number of major changes such as larger display options and powerful new Apple silicon chips. Among the more surprising updates to this year's MacBook Pro models is the return of three ports that have been missing from the machines for over five years. Expected to come in 14- and 16-inch sizes, the 2021 MacBook Pro models are...
fortnite apple logo 2

Judge in Epic vs. Apple Case Floats Potential Compromise

Wednesday May 12, 2021 3:54 pm PDT by
In the ongoing legal battle between Apple and Epic Games, the two companies are this week calling up their expert witnesses to argue their points before Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers, who will make a decision in the case after a three week trial. Expert testimony is not as exciting as some of the leaked App Store documents that were highlighted last week, especially as much of what's being...
google photos

PSA: Google Photos Unlimited Storage Ends Next Month, Here's How to Export Your Pictures to iCloud

Thursday May 13, 2021 5:26 am PDT by
For as long as it's existed, Google Photos has offered free unlimited storage for uploading images at a reduced yet good enough quality for most users. From June 1, 2021, however, all photos and videos uploaded to Google accounts will count against users' cloud storage. If you've been relying on Google to back up your media library, it may be time to move that content elsewhere. This article...
AirTag in Envelope Feature 2

AirTag Used to Successfully Track a Mailed Package Across the UK

Wednesday May 12, 2021 8:44 am PDT by
An Apple customer in the United Kingdom has successfully used Apple's Find My network to track an AirTag as it was being sent by mail to a friend in a completely different city. Outlined in a blog post at Intego, Kirk McElhearn said he taped an AirTag to a piece of card, wrapped it inside a small bubble envelope, and then sent it on its way. Kirk lives in the small town of...
m1 ipad pro chip

M1 iPad Pro Over 50% Faster Than Previous Generation in Early Benchmarks

Tuesday May 11, 2021 11:56 am PDT by
Last month, Apple introduced a new iPad Pro with the same M1 chip found in the latest Macs, and early benchmark results indicate that the M1 iPad Pro is over 50% faster than the previous-generation iPad Pro. Based on five legitimate Geekbench 5 results (here's the fifth) for the fifth-generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro with the M1 chip, the device has average single-core and multi-core scores of...
prosser macbook air colors stacked

Images Reveal Colorful New MacBook Air Design

Tuesday May 11, 2021 5:06 am PDT by
Apple's next MacBook Air will feature a completely new design and come in a range of colors like the 24-inch iMac, according to leaker Jon Prosser, who has now released supposedly accurate renders of the new machines based on leaked images. In a new video uploaded to YouTube channel Front Page Tech, Prosser elaborated on his previous prediction that Apple's next-generation MacBook Air models ...
iPhone 13 Camera Backs

iPhone 13 Models Will Be Slightly Thicker and Will Have Larger Camera Bumps

Monday May 10, 2021 10:41 am PDT by
Apple's upcoming iPhone 13 models will be slightly thicker than the iPhone 12 models and will also feature larger, thicker camera bumps with lenses that protrude less, according to iPhone 13 schematics seen by MacRumors. The new iPhone 13 and 13 Pro models are expected to feature a thickness of 7.57mm, up from 7.4mm in the iPhone 12 models. That's an increase of 0.17mm, which won't be hugely ...