Apple to Pay Price for Purposely Slowing iPhones

John Lister's picture

Apple is to compensate customers after claims it intentionally slowed down old iPhones to make people more likely to upgrade. Each person eligible in the class action lawsuit will get around $25, but Apple isn't formally admitting any wrongdoing.

Back in 2017 Apple admitted it had intentionally slowed down the performance of old iPhones through a software update. However, it denied this was a marketing move and instead said it was a necessary step to extend the lifespan of ageing batteries of older iPhones. Specifically it said sudden spikes in processor demand could cause older batteries to shut down as a protective measure, crashing the phone.

The resulting negative response led Apple to cut the price of battery replacements from $79 to $29. That wasn't enough for some users, who launched a court action. They said the software update gave the false impression the phone was so outdated that they needed to buy a replacement.

$25 A Head In Compensation

The case turned into a class action lawsuit which has now led to a settlement. It covers any US owners who had one of six models (6, 6 Plus, 6s, 6s Plus, 7, 7Plus and SE) and ran iOS 10.2.1 or later. (Source:

Apple will pay a total of at least $310 million and a maximum of $500 million. The payout calculation will have a starting point of $25 per eligible customer. This will be increased if not enough users claim to reach the $310 million minimum, or lowered if so many people claim that the total hits the $500 million limit.

Lawyers Hit Jackpot

There will be additional payments outside of these sums for those involved in bringing the case, though it's not exactly an even split. Those customers who agreed to be named plaintiffs will get $1,500 and those who gave evidence will get $3,500. Meanwhile the lawyers will get a total of $93 million in legal fees and an extra $1.5 million in expenses.

Apple has already been fined $25 million over similar claims by French regulators. In that case the legal problem wasn't the slowdown itself - which Apple still does on older models - but rather that it didn't tell customers what was happening. (Source:

What's Your Opinion?

Should Apple have been punished for these actions? Do you buy Apple's explanation of what it did? Are the proposed settlement amounts reasonable?

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Dennis Faas's picture

This is slightly off topic, but we've often covered frivolous court cases in which the European Union (EU) goes after Apple, Microsoft and Google for things like web browser competition and antitrust fines of some sort.

The fines in these court cases are in the billions of dollars - yet it's often been pondered "Where does all the money go when the court cases have been won?" I think this article is an excellent example of such a question: $25 goes to the people who are affected by the problem, and $94.5 million for the lawyers. What a joke!

ifopackets_10683's picture

The Nvidia video chipset Class Action case of a few years ago was better for the Lawyers,
they got around half, after expenses.

matt_2058's picture

Lawyer fees total $93M? It would be interesting to audit those involved. What's that hourly rate?

And the people who were misled and whose paid for services were compromised get a measly $25.

kitekrazy's picture

Big gov't vs. big corp. Rarely do people side with the latter. Let's look at the differences.

Apple makes products people like. EU makes VAT.

One day one of them should not pay it. What are they going to do.

I get it that Apple would do such a thing but it's not like there are no other options for the consumer.

Boots66's picture

What the 'H' about Canada!? Are we some unknown entity? When is this country-related discrimination going to stop!! We live in Canada on the North American Continent.
Any class action suit opened, should not just cover the USA but also Canada!

Boots66's picture

The case turned into a class action lawsuit which has now led to a settlement. It covers any US owners who had one of six models (6, 6 Plus, 6s, 6s Plus, 7, 7Plus and SE) and ran iOS 10.2.1 or later. (Source:
Someone out there, give their head a shake and tell me why when Canada and the USA are so close together does the USA still screw over their best neighbour. Notice above
"will pay any US owners..." what about all the Canadian owners with the same huge issues - We live in Canada North American continent! Why am I not going to get money for my SE or my daughter's iPhone 6???

caseymcpoet's picture

Hey Dennis- Hope all is well. How about you and we & your subscribers file a class action law suit against the lawyers who are getting $93 feckin million- or just one against all or many of the ones that filed & won these suits to re-distribute the settlement rightfully to the people they allegedly represent. That is so outrageous it makes me think of dozens of old lawyer jokes, eg.:
Why do they bury lawyers 23 feet down?

Ans.: Because deep, deep down, they're really good.

Best wishes,