Back in 2017, Apple was hit with a class-action lawsuit claiming that updates to iOS had throttled iPhones and negatively impacted performance. And now, after a prolonged legal battle, Apple has agreed to settle the lawsuit by paying out up to $US500 ($765) million.
According to Reuters, in a preliminary settlement proposal, Apple would be forced to pay $US25 ($38) per device to eligible owners (depending on the final number of iPhones covered in the settlement), resulting in a total minimum payment of at least $US310 ($475) million.
While the settlement has yet to be officially approved by U.S. District Judge Edward Davila, the settlement would allow Apple to avoid claiming any wrongdoing in the matter.
The lawsuit covers anyone in the U.S. who owned an iPhone SE, iPhone 6, iPhone 6s, iPhone 7, and iPhone 7s, (including the larger Plus models) that ran iOS 10.2.1 or later, along with any iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus phones that ran iOS 11.2 prior to December 21st, 2017.
At the time, Apple claimed that some of the changes in iOS version 10.2.1 and later were made to “deliver the best experience for customers,” and that by slowing down performance of older iPhones, Apple was helping to prevent sudden shutdowns and potentially erratic performance that can occur as part of the natural ageing cycle inherent with today’s lithium-ion batteries.
Poor performance of older iPhones running iOS was proved in part by the makers of Geekbench, who noticed that iPhones running iOS 10.2 boasted better scores and more consistent performance than similar iPhones running iOS versions 10.2.1 and later, which suggested that new code had been added to iOS that throttled or slowed down older phones in certain cases, typically when an iPhone’s battery health had begun to dip below 90 per cent.
Later, as a response to consumer complaints, Apple initiated a temporary battery replacement service that allowed any iPhone user to buy a new replacement battery for just $US29 ($44), instead of the $US79 ($121) it would normally cost.
However, since the settlement has not been finalised just yet, its currently unclear how affected users are supposed to file a claim for their payment. Meanwhile, lawyers for consumers are expected to seek up to 30 per cent of the settlement—around 93 million— in legal fees.