South Korean Court Dismisses iPhone Users' $1.6 Million 'Batterygate' Lawsuit

A South Korean court on Thursday dismissed a lawsuit seeking compensation from Apple over allegations the company deliberately slowed down the performance of older iPhones in order to compel customers to buy new models (via The Korea Herald).

iPhone slow
"The lawsuit is dismissed," a court judge briefly said, without elaborating as to the reason for the ruling, denying the case brought by some 9,800 Korean smartphone buyers who were seeking 2 billion won ($1.64 million) against Apple.

The ruling comes five years after a group of consumers filed a civil lawsuit demanding damages of 200,000 won ($163) each. Initially brought by some 64,000 plaintiffs, the lawsuit claimed that Apple had induced some iPhone users to install a software upgrade that caused a performance slowdown so that users would consider replacing their devices with new ones.

The case relates to Apple's introduction in early 2017 of 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.

The power management features were not widely publicized until late 2017, leading many customers to feel deceived by Apple.

Apple denied that it misled users, but later admitted that it slowed down some older iPhones with degraded batteries during times of peak power usage in order to prevent unexpected shutdowns. The company subsequently accepted that it should have provided a clearer explanation when it introduced the power management feature in iOS 10.2.1.

Following an apology, Apple implemented a battery replacement program that allowed all customers with an ‌iPhone‌ 6, 6s, 7, 6 Plus, 6s Plus, 7 Plus, and SE to replace their batteries for a reduced fee through the end of 2018.

Apple also introduced better battery monitoring features in a later iOS update, including the ability for customers to turn off the power management feature it introduced in iOS 10.2.1.

The Korean ruling stands in contrast with similar lawsuits brought against Apple in other countries. Apple in 2020 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. Apple faced similar lawsuits in Belgium, Chile, Spain, Italy, and Portugal.

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Top Rated Comments

Fraserh02 Avatar
18 months ago

I hope sooner or later the EU will force smartphone companies to make batteries removable. Water resistance was just a bad excuse.
No thanks! Water resistance is fine
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Skyscraperfan Avatar
18 months ago

No thanks! Water resistance is fine
A removable battery does not need to make the phone less water resistant. The Insta360 cameras have removable batteries and they even work under water.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
JonathanParker Avatar
18 months ago
IIRC Apple only slowed down certain iPhone models with a significantly degraded battery when the percentage was low.

The phones that Apple “slowed down” suffered from spontaneous shutdowns because the batteries couldn’t supply enough power to the phone at full performance. Either apple had to slow them down, or they would just shut down randomly.

Apple just needed better communication
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
nelloismello Avatar
18 months ago

IIRC Apple only slowed down certain iPhone models with a significantly degraded battery when the percentage was low.

The phones Apple “slowed down” suffered from spontaneous shutdowns because the batteries couldn’t supply enough power to the phone. Either apple had to slow them down, or they would just shut down randomly.

Apple just needed better communication
Exactly. Apple definitely had good intentions, but it backfired on unknowing consumers who perceived this as planned obsolescence.

If only Apple stated it publicly or even in small fine print on their website, then this wouldn't have been a big deal.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
MajorFubar Avatar
18 months ago

This is silly

It’s not worth making it user removable for something that gets changed every two years.
Said no one ever in 2003. We expected that consumable parts should be easy to change by the end user, and having done so, we did not expect our device to restrict our usage or lock us out of certain functionalities because we didn't buy the official battery or have it changed for an eye-watering premium at a certain service centre.

The 20 years (probably less) where all this has become acceptable, is what's wrong. You (along with many others) have been brainwashed into accepting - and even justifying - what would once have been considered to be a fundamental exploitation of consumer rights.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
OnawaAfrica Avatar
18 months ago
the speed was only reduced when the battery was not able to provide enough power anymore for full speed.
swap the battery its that simple.
i guess people rather have thair phones randomly crashing then keeping their data from corrupting.
but then they would also sue apple cause they think apple makes their phones crash so that u buy a new phone
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)