Monday, December 4, 2023

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.

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.Tag: iPhone Slowdown
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