Following a 2018 class action lawsuit that claimed Apple purposefully slowed down iPhones in an effort to get customers to purchase to a newer phone, Apple owners are now receiving their $65 settlement. In March 2020, the corporation agreed to settle the lawsuit for up to $500 million, but two iPhone owners filed an appeal objecting to some of the settlement’s provisions. According to a court document, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the appeal.
In the five-year case, where about three million claims have been lodged since the class action lawsuit was filed in 2018, the ruling was the last roadblock. In 2017, Apple acknowledged slowing down the iOS software on older iPhones. The company stated the update was made to stop older batteries from unexpectedly turning off devices, but it was not intended to force users to upgrade to a newer iPhone or buy new batteries.
The law firm that defended iPhone claimants, Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy, LLP, said in a press release that the 9th Circuit had rejected Apple’s attempt to dismiss the case, enabling the legal battle to continue. The allegations included contravening California’s Computer Data Access and Fraud Act, the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, the California Unfair Competition Law, and Trespass to Chattels.
In a 2019 court document, Apple asserted that lithium-ion batteries degrade over time, losing their effectiveness. However, the business failed to inform users about allegedly slowing down phone updates to iOS, and the issue only came to light after people reported their iPhones would shut down despite reporting 30% battery life.
“The settlement is the result of years of investigation and hotly contested litigation,” Mark C. Molumphy, a partner at Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy, LLP, said in the press release. “We are extremely proud that this deal has been approved, and following the Ninth Circuit’s order, we can finally provide immediate cash payments to impacted Apple customers,” he added.
Apple has agreed to pay the plaintiffs between $310 million and $500 million while denying any wrongdoing in the case. The number of approved claims affected how much each participant in the class action case paid. Some claims are still being examined.
The iPhone 6, 6Plus, 6s Plus, and SE that were using iOS 10 2.1 prior to December 21, 2017, were among the impacted iPhones. Prior to that day, other devices included the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus running iOS 11.2 or later.
Tyson C. Redenbarger, a fellow partner at Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy commented on the case in the press release, saying: “This was an important case, lying at the intersection of privacy, consumer product, and computer intrusion laws. The settlement provides substantial relief to Apple consumers and, going forward, will help ensure that customers are fully informed when asked to update their products.”
The so-called batterygate scandal prompted an investigation in more than 30 states including Arizona, Arkansas, and Indiana in 2020. “Big Tech companies must stop manipulating consumers and tell them the whole truth about their practices and products,” Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich said in a press release at the time. “I’m committed to holding these goliath technology companies accountable when they conceal important information from users.” Apple denied the allegations but ultimately settled the case filed by the State of California for $113 million.
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