Apple faces trial over an iPhone software update in 2017, accused of deliberately slowing down batteries
A consumer champion has filed a £750million lawsuit against Apple linked to an incident in 2017 involving a power management tool on older iPhone models.
Justin Gutmann has accused the tech giant of intentionally slowing down batteries, a process known as “throttling”.
It works by hiding a power management tool in software updates to combat performance issues and prevent older devices from suddenly shutting down.
Mr Gutmann filed a complaint with the Competition Appeal Tribunal to seek damages for up to 25 million owners of a range of older iPhone models in the UK.
What legal entitlement does Mr. Gutmann have?
Mr. Gutmann alleges that Apple misled users by urging them to download software updates that it claimed would improve performance, when in fact it slowed down devices.
The claim relates to the introduction of a power management tool that was released in a January 2017 software update for iPhone users.
He claims it was introduced to slow down older iPhone models with aging batteries to prevent abrupt device shutdowns.
Mr. Gutmann said information about this tool was not included in the software update’s download description at the time or that it would slow down a user’s device.
He claims Apple introduced this tool to cover up the fact that iPhone batteries couldn’t cope with the new iOS processing demands and that the company pushed users to download the software updates rather than recall products or replace batteries.
The legal claim states that Apple later mentioned the tool in the release notes for the update on its website.
But it says the company hasn’t made it clear that it would slow down older iPhones.
How has Apple responded to claims that batteries were intentionally slowed down?
In late 2017, after some users noticed performance issues, Apple apologized for addressing the issue and said it would be replacing batteries at a heavily discounted price for a limited time.
The company also announced that it would introduce a feature that would allow users to turn off the power management tool.
At the time, the company said it had never done anything and would never do anything to intentionally shorten a product’s lifespan.
Apple CEO Tim Cook publicly apologized for the incident and said the company had never tried to mislead anyone about the tool.
However, Mr Gutmann claims Apple has not given sufficient publicity to its battery replacement service, which costs £25 plus for return postage.
He claims the company abused its dominant position.
Which iPhone models are at issue in the lawsuit?
The claim relates to the iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6S, 6S Plus, SE, 7, 7 Plus, 8, 8 Plus and iPhone X models.
It demands compensation for each model owned and is an opt-out claim, meaning customers do not have to be actively involved in the case to claim damages.
Mr Gutmann said: “Rather than doing the honorable and legal cause of their customers and offering a free replacement, repair service or compensation, Apple has instead misled people by hiding a tool in software updates that update their devices slowed by up to 58%.
“I am bringing this case to help millions of iPhone users across the UK receive redress for the harm they have suffered as a result of Apple’s actions.”
He added: “If this case is successful, I hope that dominant companies will reassess their business models and refrain from this type of behavior.”
What did Apple say about the legal claim?
In a statement, Apple said, “We have never and would never do anything to intentionally shorten the lifespan of an Apple product or compromise the user experience to drive customer upgrades.
“Our goal has always been to create products our customers love, and making sure iPhones last as long as possible is an important part of that.”
https://www.nationalworld.com/lifestyle/tech/apple-lawsuit-ps750m-legal-claim-iphone-users-payouts-3733653 Apple lawsuit: What’s the £750m iPhone legal claim all about?