Apple to Pay Up to $500 Million to Settle iPhone Class Action Lawsuit

Posted on March 2, 2020 by Paul Thurrott in Apple, iOS with 17 Comments

Apple has agreed to pay up to $500 million to settle a class action lawsuit related to it silently slowing down older iPhones over time. The firm will pay a minimum of $310 million should the settlement be approved.

The settlement was first reported by Reuters, and Apple hasn’t yet publicly commented. According to that publication, Apple has agreed to pay $25 per affected iPhone and that sum could be adjusted up or down depending on the number of eligible iPhones. As part of the settlement, Apple will not admit to wrongdoing and will instead claim it is settling only to “avoid the burdens and costs of litigation.”

The settlement impacts U.S. owners of the iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6s, 6s Plus, 7, 7Plus, and SE who purchased their device before the end of 2017. Lawyers representing the consumers impacted by this behavior had asked for a per-iPhone payment of $25 to $46, and they described the proposed settlement as “fair, reasonable, and adequate.” Those lawyers are seeking nearly $100 million in legal fees and expenses.

As you may recall, Apple admitted that it was throttling the performance of older iPhones in December 2017, but it contended that it did so to preserve battery life, and not to help convince users to upgrade to a new iPhone, which was of course the real reason. But it did issue a public apology, and it offered to replace batteries in older iPhones for just $29 for a limited time. Then, in January 2018, the firm revealed that it would give users the option to throttle performance as batteries aged.

The settlement proposal needs to be approved by U.S. District Judge Edward Davila in San Jose, California.

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Comments (20)

20 responses to “Apple to Pay Up to $500 Million to Settle iPhone Class Action Lawsuit”

  1. glenn8878

    I have to dig up old receipts for my iPhone 6. I replaced it to due to the battery bug that shuts down my iPhone 6. Those lawyers are making the real money.

  2. r2d22

    it's not a bug, it's a feature!

  3. jamJAR

    I'm sure they're doing this with the macbooks too. Every time there is an OS upgrade, the slowdown on the macbooks is noticable.

  4. Stooks

    "Those lawyers are seeking nearly $100 million in legal fees and expenses."

    This is who won. Apple slowed your phone down so it would not crash because the batter was old. They should have told you and gave you and option. I think an apology would be fine. No please fork out half of a billion.

    The world is run by lawyers. 98% of politicians are lawyers. Once in office they hire their former/friends law firms to write the mountains of legal documents for the new bills/laws push.

    • Paul Thurrott

      Apple slowed down your phone to trigger upgrade purchases and, when caught doing so, concocted a story about them doing it for battery life reasons. Is currently as provable a fact as "Apple slowed your phone down so it would not crash because the battery was old." But is more believable.
      • Stooks

        In reply to paul-thurrott:

        On Apple's website in the release notes for iOS 10.2.1 for all the world to see.

        "It also improves power management during peak workloads to avoid unexpected shutdowns on iPhone."

        That was when the change was made. I would include a link but I can't because of your website rules.

        Could they have explained it better? Yes. Should they give an option to turn that feature off? Yes.

        We get it you do not like Apple. However there is a reason they did this and it was NOT to sell more iPhones. It was to prevent crashing of iPhones that had worn out batteries. Crashing of course is bad PR for them or any cell phone maker.

        Their implementation of this change and communication was horrible but they have gone out of their way to provide cheap battery replacements and have since given us the ability to turn it off and show us via the settings where our battery is at. All of my family got a $29 battery in November of the year they offered it whether they needed or not.

        I just upgraded my daughter from her iPhone 7 (3 years old) to a iPhone XR because the battery indicator showed 81% and it is my understanding that once it hits 80% or less the power mode will turn on to prevent power issues.

  5. curtisspendlove

    I guess. I mean they can’t just blame the JVM like all the Android makers can do.

  6. will

    We want people to have $25, and we want to make sure we have our $100 Million in "fees/expenses". Yes, there is expense and time in doing cases but the only people that win with these cases are the lawyers.

  7. ghostrider

    God forbid Apple have to admit they did it on purpose. They've almost certainly agreed to pay so they don't have to stand up in public and say they've f*cked over their customers. We all know they have - many times, but their brand image is everything, and they don't want it tarnished.

    • red.radar

      In reply to ghostrider:

      I disagree.

      Most likely the Class suing apple realized from the discovery process that Apple did it to preserve customer experience... as Apple claimed.

      They are simply trying to level the playing field and help customers affected before Apple's voluntary $29 battery program. And in the process make sure their lawyers get paid.

      Apple see's the settlement as reasonable and see's no reason to pursue the issue further since there is no admission of wrong doing. By apple accepting the settlement when they don't have too demonstrates they are looking after their customers. Those who were affected by the policy before the $29 dollar replacement program.

      This was a nothing burger..

      • Paul Thurrott

        lol No. Apple met the price the lawyers said they would accept as a minimum and was able to get away without admitting guilt. Common settlement arrangement.
        • bob_shutts

          In reply to paul-thurrott: Incorrect on so many levels I don't don't know where to begin. Have you ever heard of discovery? Don't you think plaintiff's counsel was hoping to find evidence of the malfeasance you are talking about? If they *had* found a conspiracy to boost sales of new phones, don't you think it would be all over the press? Would they have settled the case instead of going to trial for the punitives? If the plaintiffs' lawyers did just accept the minimum without bothering to investigate Apple's motives, then they are guilty of malpractice. And no, I don't think that's the case. From what I read in Martindale, the class was well represented.
          Do I sound like a lawyer? Hmmmm. I wonder why? (Upvoted your comment anyway because everyone is entitled to an opinion.)

          • Paul Thurrott

            lol As if a class-action lawsuit over a consumer complaint would ever have the ability in this amount of time to request and gain access to Apple internal communications and to interview Apple executives and thus discover that evidence. This is only about money, and about how our legal system works. Apple is rich. And they can pay, and not admit doing anything wrong. And no one needs to see any internal information for that to happen. What's fun about this is thast it happens all the time. And you don't have to be a lawyer to know that. Or an investigative journalist. Just someone with open eyes and common sense. But you know all that, of course.
          • Andi

            In reply to Bob_Shutts:

            This is not about being a conspiracy. This is a company hiding a fault. When you design a phone you must take into account some battery degradation down the road. In the race for thinness Apple coupled their powerful soc with a relatively small battery that could not keep up.

            Also during this time Apple cut loose one of its chip suppliers, Dialog. Guess what Dialog does... power management chips.

      • lwetzel

        In reply to red.radar:

        Maybe they will choke on that nothing burger!

    • Andi

      In reply to ghostrider:

      You hit the nail on the head. What a travesty of justice. Apple slowed devices because the tiny battery could not withstand the demands of the relatively powerful soc. People with healthy batteries as per in-store diagnostics were actively denied battery change even after they signaled the performance loss. At the time these devices were barely 2 years old and no way near "old" status;thus warranty and Apple Care conditions were gamed.

  8. wosully

    Wow. The lawyers did this all out of concern for us! Thank you legal team, now go take that Caribbean vacation...forever!

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