Legal action seeks damages for 25 million users for battery ‘throttling’

Apple faces legal claim (PA) (PA File)

A consumer advocate has filed a legal claim of more than £750 million against Apple, related to an incident in 2017 surrounding a power management tool in older iPhone models.

Justin Gutmann accused the tech giant of slowing down the performance of iPhone phones, a process known as “throttling,” by hiding a power management tool in software updates to combat performance issues and prevent older devices from crashing. suddenly turn off.

Mr Gutmann has brought a claim in the Competition Court of Appeal for damages of approximately £768 million for up to 25 million UK owners of a range of older iPhone models.

It alleges that Apple misled users about the incident by pressuring them to download software updates that it said would improve the performance of some devices but, in fact, slowed them down.

I’m bringing this case so that millions of iPhone users across the UK can get redress for the damage they suffered as a result of Apple’s action.

justin gutmann

The claim relates to the introduction of a power management tool released in a software update for iPhone users in January 2017, which was implemented to slow down older iPhone models with old batteries, which may have had trouble running. run the latest iOS software. to avoid abrupt shutdowns of the device.

Gutmann said that information about this tool was not included in the software update download description at the time or it would slow down the user’s device.

It claims that Apple introduced this tool to disguise the fact that iPhone batteries could not cope with the new processing demands of iOS and that instead of recalling products or replacing batteries, the company urged users to discharge the batteries. Software updates.

The legal claim says Apple added mention of the tool to the update’s release notes on its website at a later date, but says the company didn’t make it clear that it would slow down older iPhones.

In late 2017, after some users noted performance issues, Apple apologized for its handling of the issue, saying it would replace batteries at a greatly reduced price for a limited time and also introduce a feature to allow users to turn off the battery. power management tool.

At the time, the company said it would never, and would never, do anything to intentionally shorten a product’s lifespan, and Apple CEO Tim Cook publicly apologized for the incident, saying the company never tried to fool anyone about the tool.

But Mr Gutmann claims that Apple under-advertised the price of its £25 plus return postage battery replacement service and that the company had abused its dominant market position.

The claim refers to the iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6S, 6S Plus, SE, 7, 7 Plus, 8, 8 Plus and iPhone X models.

It seeks compensation for each ownership model and is an opt-out claim, meaning clients will not need to actively join the case to seek damages.

“Instead of doing the honorable and legal thing on behalf of its customers and offering a free replacement, repair service, or compensation, Apple tricked people into hiding a tool in software updates that slowed down their devices by up to 58 percent. %,” Gutmann said.

“I am launching this case so that millions of iPhone users across the UK can receive redress for the harm they have suffered as a result of Apple’s actions.

“If this case is successful, I hope that dominant companies will re-evaluate their business models and refrain from this type of conduct.”

In a statement, Apple said: “We have never done, and would never do anything to intentionally shorten the life of any Apple product, or degrade the user experience to drive customer updates.

“Our goal has always been to create products our customers love, and making iPhones last as long as possible is an important part of that.”

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