A consumer champion has launched a legal case worth more than £750m against Apple, linked to an incident in 2017 involving a power management tool on old iPhones.
Justin Guttman has accused the tech giant of slowing down iPhones’ performance – a process known as “throttling” – by hiding a power management tool in software updates to combat performance issues and prevent older devices from suddenly shutting down.
Gottman has lodged a complaint with the Competition Court of Appeal seeking damages of around £768 million to up to 25 million British owners of a range of older iPhone models.
you claim that apple It misled users about the incident by pushing them to download software updates which it said would improve the performance of some devices but actually slow them down.
The claim relates to the introduction of a power management tool released in a software update for iPhone users in January 2017, which was released to slow down older iPhone models with older batteries, which may have had difficulty running the latest iOS software, in order to prevent sudden device shutdowns.
Guttmann said that information about this tool was not included in the description of the software update download at the time or that it would slow down the user’s device.
He claims that Apple introduced this tool to hide the fact that iPhone batteries weren’t able to handle the new iOS processing requirements and that instead of recalling products or replacing batteries, the company instead pushed users to download software updates.
Legal prosecution said Apple added a reference to the tool to the release notes for the update on its website at a later time, but said the company failed to make clear that it would slow down older iPhones.
In late 2017, after some users noticed performance issues, Apple apologized for its handling and said it would replace the batteries at a significantly reduced price for a limited time and also introduce a feature to allow users to turn off the power management tool.
At the time, the company said it had not and would not do anything to intentionally shorten the life of the product, and Apple CEO Tim Cook publicly apologized for the incident, saying the company had never tried to mislead anyone about a tool.
But Guttmann claims that Apple has failed to adequately advertise the prices for its £25 battery replacement service plus recharging and that the company has abused its dominant market position.
The claim relates to iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6S, 6S Plus, SE, 7, 7 Plus, 8, 8 Plus, and iPhone X models.
It seeks compensation for every model owned and is a non-participation claim, which means that customers will not need to actively join the cause to receive compensation.
Apple said, “We have not and will never do anything to… reduce the user experience to drive customer upgrades.
“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.”
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