Apple is being sued in the United Kingdom, the legal claim that could reimburse millions of users has alleged the company secretly slowed down the performance of older iPhones.
Justin Guttman, a consumer rights campaigner in the UK, alleges Apple misled users over an upgrade that would improve performance, but it did the opposite.
He is seeking damages of more £750 million for up to 25 million UK users who used any of the 10 iPhone models from the 2014 iPhone 6 until the 2017 iPhone X.
It is an opt-out claim, meaning the affected customers won’t need to actively join the case to seek damages.
The claim alleges Apple slowed the performance of older iPhones, known as “throttling”, to avoid expensive recalls or repairs.
A software update in January 2017 released a power management tool that slowed down the performance of older iPhones to stop them from abruptly shutting down.
However, Apple gave users no option to disable the setting and no warning their phones were intentionally being “throttled”.
Guttman says the information about the tool was not in the update download description, that Apple did not make clear that it is slowing down devices and pushed users to download the updates rather than offering battery replacement or recalling devices.
“Instead of doing the honourable and legal thing by their customers and offering a free replacement, repair service or compensation, Apple instead misled people by concealing a tool in software updates that slowed their devices by up to 58%,” he said.
The tech firm has denied they deliberately misinformed their users about the software update.
“We have never, and would never, do anything to intentionally shorten the life of any Apple product, or degrade the user experience to drive customer upgrades,” Apple said in a statement.
“Our goal has always been to create products that our customers love, and making iPhones last as long as possible is an important part of that.”
A similar case was settled in the United States in 2020, when Apple agreed to pay US$113 million to settle allegations it slowed down older iPhones.
Millions were affected when iPhone 6, 7, and SE models were slowed down in 2016 which was dubbed as “batterygate”.