Consumer Group Sues Apple in Belgium and Spain Over iPhone Throttling

An EU consumer advocacy group has filed class-action lawsuits against Apple in both Belgium and Spain for "unfair and misleading commercial practices" related to the iPhone performance management system it introduced in iOS 10.2.1 without informing customers.

iphone 6s battery
Brought by Euroconsumers, which describes itself as the "world's leading consumer cluster organization," the suits allege that the system introduced via iOS update in order to preserve battery life amount to "planned obsolescence."

In a press release on Wednesday, the group stated:

The lawsuits cover owners of iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6S and 6S Plus and alleges Apple engaged in unfair and misleading commercial practices. The lawsuits ask for compensation of on average at least 60 euro for each affected consumer in Belgium and Spain.

Apple introduced power management features for older iPhones to prevent unexpected shutdowns during times of peak power draw on devices with degraded batteries.

These power management features throttle the processor on older iPhones with less than optimal batteries, resulting in slower performance. Though introduced early in 2017, the power management features were not widely publicized until late 2017, leading many customers to feel deceived by Apple.

Apple apologized for not better explaining how battery health could impact performance and has since implemented a policy offering no-questions-asked $29 battery replacements for the ‌iPhone‌ 6 and later.

Earlier this year, the company also agreed to pay up to $500 million to settle a long-running class action lawsuit in the United States that accused the company of "secretly throttling" older ‌iPhone‌ models.

Euroconsumers references the latter settlement along with more recent state-level U.S. settlements in its press release, and says it has two identical suits planned for Italy and Portugal. Together, the four complaints seek about 180 million euros in damages from Apple, according to the Financial Times.

"Consumers are increasingly upset by products wearing out too quickly, the iPhone 6 models being a very concrete example of that," said Els Bruggeman, head of Policy and Enforcement at Euroconsumers. "Not only does it cause frustration and financial harm, from an environmental point of view it is also utterly irresponsible. Consumers want to be treated with respect, demand fair compensation and more sustainable phones. Euroconsumers is sending a clear message to Apple that planned obsolescence can no longer be accepted."

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Top Rated Comments

2979382 Avatar
45 months ago
Jaaaayzus, how long are they gonna keep whining about this? Products wearing out too quickly? My 6S was in perfect condition with a full day's battery life after over 3 years when I sold it, my XS still delivers the same 2 days' worth of battery-life after 2 years, and I sold my 7 year old MacBook Pro for 500 quid in fully working condition. Maybe they should have a look at other brands, cause from where I'm standing Apple still builds stuff that lasts longer than many other companies.
Score: 23 Votes (Like | Disagree)
farewelwilliams Avatar
45 months ago

It is because Apple did not explain to iphone owners what they were doing so when the update was implemented and iphone owners saw the phone had battery issues, it would prompt one of two things happening, getting a new battery or getting a new phone. Getting a new phone is what 'planned obsolescence' is all about, in that by introducing the power management feature, Apple 'planned' for owners of older iphones to ditch their old iphones due to battery issue an purchase a new one.
no. a phone that randomly shuts down would cause the user to buy a new phone.

a phone where the OS updates stops after three years instead of 5-6 causes the user to buy a new phone

there are many other ways Apple can encourage the user to buy a new phone but for some reason, people like you attribute fixing a shutdown issue to prolong the life of the device as planned obsolescence. makes absolutely no sense.
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Unsupported Avatar
45 months ago
How does an update to preserve battery life amount to "planned obsolescence"?

Preserving battery life would seem to me to be quite the opposite. ?
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
farewelwilliams Avatar
45 months ago
here we go again.

idiotic.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
SmOgER Avatar
45 months ago
That's BS. Take android from the same era and it will be more or less unusable.
Now iPhone 6S can still run pretty much all AppStore apps and it's not lagging at all, gets the job done for every task. What more could you ask?
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Smigit Avatar
45 months ago

And if your phone shuts off unexpectedly... you'd also believe you needed a new one when you only needed a new battery.

Either throttling or dying... neither is a good outcome.
No it’s not a good outcome.

A good outcome is Apples engineers documenting the behaviour and having support staff trained so that when a customer walks into a store, instead of being told to buy a new device, wasting time on a factory reset (again!) or blaming third party apps/devs, support could instead provide appropriate advice and sell the user a battery replacement instead of a new handset. At the very least users can make an informed decision. That’s basically where we have landed and no ones fussed about how it’s now handled.

The lawsuits aren’t because of the behaviour of the device being inappropriate, they’re over Apples lack of transparency and the repercussions that had for paying customers seeking support.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)