Apple is being sued in the UK over “iPhone throttling”, in which a software update allegedly slowed down older phones.
The £750 million ($907 million) lawsuit is in connection with the 2017 controversy, in which a software upgrade significantly slowed down older phones.
Market researcher Justin Gutmann has filed a claim with the UK’s Competition Appeal Tribunal demanding compensation for up to 25 million UK owners of older iPhones affected by the upgrade.
The allegation is in reference to Apple’s release of power management tools for older iPhones in order to prevent sudden shutdowns during peak power use on devices with damaged batteries.
These power management measures are alleged to slow down the processor on older iPhones with subpar batteries, resulting in reduced performance.
Gutman says that Apple developed the features to hide the fact that iPhone batteries were unable to meet increased iOS processing demands and that rather than recalling products or replacing batteries, Apple instead forced users to download software updates.
“Instead of doing the honorable and legal thing by their customers and offering a free replacement, repair service or compensation, Apple instead misled people by concealing a tool in software updates that slowed their devices by up to 58 percent.”
“I’m launching this case so that millions of iPhone users across the UK will receive redress for the harm suffered by Apple’s actions.
“If this case is successful, I hope dominant companies will re-evaluate their business models and refrain from this kind of conduct.”
Despite being released in early 2017, Apple’s power management capabilities were not publicly reported until late 2017, leaving many users feeling duped.
The following year, Apple apologized for not adequately communicating how battery health may affect performance. Since then, it has developed a policy that provides low-cost, no-questions-asked battery replacements for out-of-warranty products.
In 2020, the firm agreed to pay up to $500 million to resolve a long-running class-action suit in the United States accusing it of “secretly throttling” older iPhone models.
Similar complaints have been filed against Apple in Belgium, Chile, Spain, Italy, and Portugal.
Gutman’s claim is applicable to the iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6S, 6S Plus, SE, 7, 7 Plus, 8, 8 Plus, and iPhone X.
It demands compensation for each model bought and is an opt-out claim, which means customers will not have to actively participate in the action to seek damages.