UK Lawsuit Over 'Throttled' iPhones Moves Forward

A legal claim in the United Kingdom over Apple's 2017 "throttling" controversy has been allowed to move forward by the Competition Appeal Tribunal, according to Reuters.

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Consumer advocate Justin Gutmann filed the claim back in June 2022, originally seeking a total of £750 million for up to 25 million iPhone users in the UK whose devices were affected by the issue, which stemmed from Apple's efforts to prevent devices with degraded batteries from unexpectedly shutting down while in use. The claim has since ballooned to as much at £1.6 billion plus interest.

Gutmann's lawyers had argued Apple concealed issues with batteries in certain phone models and "surreptitiously" installed a power management tool which limited performance.

Apple, however, said the lawsuit is "baseless" and that it strongly denies batteries in iPhones were defective, apart from in a small number of iPhone 6s models for which it offered free battery replacements.

Gutmann's claim covers ‌iPhone‌ 6 through ‌iPhone‌ X models, and while the Competition Appeal Tribunal ruled the claim can move forward, it also highlighted "a lack of clarity and specificity" that will need to be resolved before it can actually proceed to trial.

Apple deployed power management features with iOS 10.2.1 in 2017 that throttled performance to prevent devices with degraded batteries from attempting to draw peak power the batteries could no longer provide. Apple says it introduced the features to help extend device lifespan while minimizing disruptive device shutdowns, but the company was criticized by some customers for not disclosing what it was doing amid suggestions it was attempting to hide defective devices.

Apple apologized for not better explaining the changes it made and why it did so, and introduced a low-cost battery replacement program that lasted for several years.

In 2020, Apple agreed to pay up to $500 million to settle a long-running class action lawsuit in the United States over the issue, and the company has faced similar lawsuits in a number of other countries.

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Top Rated Comments

MRxROBOT Avatar
8 months ago
They misled consumers by throttling their devices without informing users of said devices. While I don't think Apple should replace the batteries... but throttling devices over 50% without telling its users is in fact a big deal. Companies should absolutely be held accountable for these practices. Let the users have all the information so they can choose to either upgrade the battery or the phone.
Score: 26 Votes (Like | Disagree)
kiranmk2 Avatar
8 months ago
The issue is they didn't tell anyone, but it is a serious thing that to me is very deceptive. Apple throttled devices without telling people, thus making people think that their phone was getting slower / unable to cope with the latest versions of iOS/apps which likely led to purchasing a new phone. If people were aware that the slowdown was due to a degraded battery, they would then have the choice whether to get a new phone anyway, or spend 90% less and get a new battery fitted.
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
blazerunner Avatar
8 months ago
So not only did consumers think their batteries were crapping out but also their performance was degraded? How many of those people did Apple fool into buying a whole new iPhone because they thought their current one was no longer any good?

And why the hell are people in this thread defending Apple over this?
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ios3 Avatar
8 months ago

I can see both sides, but I mean who doesn't know that batteries don't last forever? Kinda weird to me that a company would have to shell out $500million for not telling people what they should already know.
Batteries not lasting forever isn't the issue. The issue is Apple not disclosing slowing down system performance based on battery health. Nice job to spin the story
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ios3 Avatar
8 months ago
The Apple defenders here are pathetic. People bought new iPhones instead of battery replacements because Apple wasn't transparent with this feature.

You people are defending a wicked rich corporation that wrongs and rips off their customers.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Mr. Heckles Avatar
8 months ago
If Apple was upfront with this and the option to turn it off (like they do), this would be a non-issue.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)