Apple Faces $1B Trial Over iPhone Slowdown

John Lister's picture

Apple is facing a billion dollar penalty for allegedly slowing down iPhones to extend battery life. It's failed in a bid to stop a trial in a class action case.

The lawsuit alleges that Apple issued an iOS update that intentionally made apps run slower. Apple says it did so to extend battery life and to avoid batteries draining so quickly that the phone unexpectedly shut down. In some cases phones ran 58 percent slower.

However, the man bringing the case claims this harmed consumers by misleading them into thinking their handsets were slowing down 'naturally'. The lawsuit alleges consumers would be likely to buy newer models early than otherwise.

Critics say that slowing down the phones to benefit batteries wasn't necessarily a bad move from a technical perspective. The problem was that Apple didn't give users a choice over the tradeoff, or even let them know the slowdown was happening.

Competition Case

The case is going through the United Kingdom's Competition Appeal Tribunal, a specialist legal body that hears competition cases. That's because the claimants say Apple was able to pull off the slowdown thanks to its (100%) dominance of the market for iOS handsets, which it allegedly abused in this incident.

Apple has asked the tribunal to throw out the case entirely for not having enough merit. The tribunal has now ruled the case must proceed as it has a reasonable enough prospect of succeeding to justify a trial.

The case carries collective action status, which means that anyone who meets set criteria is automatically considered a co-claimant (and eligible for any damages) unless they opt out. In this case, it's any UK residents who bought an iPhone 6 or 7. (Source:

Newer Models Exempted

Justin Guttman, who is leading the case, estimates the potential damages at $1.03 billion USD. Similar cases around the world have largely led to fines. When users have received damages it's been an estimated $65 each. (Source:

Apple did get a victory with the tribunal dismissing the "allegation of abuse after December 28, 2017." That means the case no longer covers the iPhone 8 and X models.

What's Your Opinion?

Was Apple right to slow down phones to extend battery life? Do you think it deliberately aimed to make users think their phone needed replacing? If so, what do you think would be fair compensation?

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dbrumley3077's picture

So if I am the owner of an iPhone how do I determine if my phone has been slowed down? I'm not sure what slowing down on an iPhone would be noticable, or even what, exactly is being slowed down. Is there some sort of test that that can be used to determine this?