The saga of unwanted iPhone throttling due to dying batteries, which has lasted for almost six years, is coming to an end – at least in the US. A court in San Francisco (9th US Circuit Court of Appeals) has now cleared the way for an out-of-court settlement – after two Apple smartphone owners withdrew their objection to a deal. It should now lead to Apple paying out half a billion US dollars to those affected. This was actually agreed in the summer of 2020.
iPhone 6 and up
A total of three million people living in the United States had contacted the plaintiffs’ attorneys to seek compensation. The sum per person should be around 65 dollars. Apple had agreed to pay between $310 million and $500 million, excluding legal fees (certainly not small). As usual in such out-of-court settlements, the iPhone maker admits no guilt.
The models in question in this case are iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6s, 6s Plus and SE devices with operating system iOS 10.2.1 or higher and iPhone 7 and 7 Plus with iOS 11.2 or higher – they must be before have been in operation since December 21, 2017. The amount paid out is slightly higher than expected, in 2020 it was still assumed to be 25 dollars per affected person.
Hidden choke discovered
In 2017, it was discovered more or less by accident that Apple had integrated a power choke into its iOS operating system to prevent iPhones from unexpectedly shutting down when the battery was low. However, this was not clearly communicated, only when an increasing number of frustrated iPhone owners documented the sometimes considerable slowdown of their devices through tests and benchmarks did Apple apologize and replace the battery for a year at a flat rate of just under 30 euros. Since 2019, prices have risen again.
A class action lawsuit was then filed in 2018 because of the affair, which had since been dubbed “Batterygate”. However, that wasn’t the only lawsuit, as California and two counties in the state sued Apple directly and got $113 million out of it. Meanwhile, consumer advocates also tried to get a payment in Europe as well. In addition, there was a lawsuit against Apple in Italy for planned obsolescence.
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