Consumer rights activist Justin Gutmann is suing Apple for £768 million over a 2017 software upgrade that slowed down older iPhones. He is suing on behalf of up to 25 million iPhone users in the United Kingdom who have been harmed by Apple’s policies.
Apple has confirmed that a 2017 software upgrade impacted device performance while claiming that the software was intended to protect the phone’s battery life.
Critics have accused the tech giant of deliberately lowering the effectiveness of older models to entice users to upgrade to newer ones.
Mr Gutmann has filed a lawsuit with the Competition Appeal Tribunal, UK. It is an opt-out claim, which means that those who own an iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6S, 6S Plus, SE, 7, 7 Plus, 8, 8 Plus, or iPhone X do not have to join the action to seek damages actively.
“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%,” Mr Gutmann said.
“I’m launching this case so that millions of iPhone users across the UK will receive redress for the harm suffered by Apple’s actions. If this case is successful, I hope dominant companies will re-evaluate their business models and refrain from this kind of conduct,” he added.
The story first broke after a Reddit user claimed that Apple’s software automatically slowed phones when the battery’s charge capacity was low.
Apple admitted to the problem’s source and apologized for the apparent downgrade.
The company noted that when lithium-ion batteries used in its phones age, they become less capable of providing the highest amounts of electrical current required.
Lithium-ion batteries lose capacity over time due to the physical wear and tear of ions moving through the battery’s substance. However, iPhone customers had complained of their handsets abruptly going off, even when they had a significant amount of charge left.
The business eventually announced that it would replace consumers’ batteries at a discounted rate for a limited time and add a feature that would allow users to disable the power management tool.
The corporation stated that it never had and would never intentionally limit the lifespan of a product. In addition, company CEO Tim Cook publicly apologized and noted that Apple did not intend to mislead anyone with the software.
Mr Gutmann, on the other side, claims that Apple abused its market dominance by failing to inform users about its battery replacement service sufficiently.