Apple faces two lawsuits over slowing down older iPhones

People who owned iPhone 6, 6s, and 6s Plus devices have been complaining that their devices shut down spontaneously even though they had sufficient battery.

By Zee Media Bureau | Updated: Dec 23, 2017, 13:37 PM IST
Apple faces two lawsuits over slowing down older iPhones

San Francisco: After confirming that it is deliberately slowing down older iPhones to avoid the devices from shutting down owing to old batteries, Apple is now facing two class-action lawsuits from the iPhone users in the US.

Sulaiman Law Group, Ltd, which operates as Atlas Consumer Law, is representing several plaintiffs in a class-action complaint against Apple in Illinois.

"Plaintiffs Ala Abdulla, Lance A. Raphael, Sam Mangano, Ryan Glaze, and Kirk Pedelty came forward against Apple, claiming the company purposefully and knowingly released operating system software updates to a number of generations of the iPhone in an effort to slow the CPU performance speeds of these devices," Atlas Consumer Law said in a statement late on Friday.

"These iOS updates, plaintiffs claim, were engineered with this very purpose in mind -- fraudulently forcing iPhone owners to purchase the latest model offered by Apple," Atlas Consumer Law added.

According to Atlas Consumer Law, Apple`s failure to inform consumers these updates would wreak havoc on the phone`s performance is being deemed purposeful, and if proven, constitutes the unlawful and decisive withholding of material information.

A report in Quartz said that a second lawsuit has been filed in California, claiming that the plaintiffs "never consented to allow Defendants [Apple] to slow their iPhones" and that they "were never given the option to bargain or choose whether they preferred to have their iPhones slower than normal."

Apple Inc has addressed claims that might be slowing down old iPhones that have low capacity batteries.

Recently, John Poole, the Founder of Primate Labs, wrote in a blog explaining slower performance in the Apple`s iPhone 6s and iPhone 7 models as they aged.

Poole has mapped out performance for iPhone 6S and iPhone 7 over time, and has concluded that Apple`s iOS 10.2.1 and 11.2.0 updates introduce this throttling for various devices.

Moreover, iOS 10.2.1 is particularly relevant, as the update was designed to reduce random shutdown issues for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6S.

Some Reddit users have noticed that the Cupertino-based company might be slowing down the performance of older phones.

Meanwhile, Apple has acknowledged that the company does take some measures to reduce power demands - which can have the effect of slowing the processor - when a phone`s battery is having trouble supplying the peak current that the processor demands.

"Last year we released a feature for iPhone 6, iPhone 6s and iPhone SE to smooth out the instantaneous peaks only when needed to prevent the device from unexpectedly shutting down during these conditions," Apple told Reuters.

"We’ve now extended that feature to iPhone 7 with iOS 11.2, and plan to add support for other products in the future,” it said.

The problem stems from the fact that all lithium-ion batteries, not just those found in Apple products, degrade and have problems supplying the big bursts as they age and accumulate charging cycles, Apple said in a statement. The problems with peak current draws can also occur when batteries are cold or low on charge.

When an iPhone`s processor makes a big current draw from a flagging battery, the battery can deliver the current in spikes that can potentially damage the phone`s electronics. As a result, iPhones would suddenly shut down to protect the pricey processor from being damaged by the power spikes.

The sudden shutdown problem became widespread among iPhones in late 2016, forcing Apple to issue a software fix that had the net result of slowing the phone somewhat with an old, cold or low-charged battery, the company said.

The problem can be remedied by replacing the phone`s battery. Apple charges $79 to replace batteries not covered under the phone`s warranty. The company has long faced criticism from repair advocates for making its batteries difficult for users to replace on their own.

With IANS Inputs