Attorneys filed class action complaints in federal courthouses in Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco on Thursday following revelations involving Apple’s newly disclosed practice of releasing iOS operating system updates that slow down iPhones with older batteries.
“Lithium-ion batteries become less capable of supplying peak current demands when in cold conditions, have a low battery charge or as they age over time, which can result in the device unexpectedly shutting down to protect its electronic components,” Apple said Wednesday.
“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. We’ve now extended that feature to iPhone 7 with iOS 11.2, and plan to add support for other products in the future,” Apple explained in a statement.
Apple users with slower iPhones can increase performance by replacing their old batteries with a fresh one, but customers allege the company’s lack of transparency on the topic prompted them to purchase new, expensive devices when they didn’t have to.
In Chicago, attorneys for five iPhone owners said potentially tens of thousands of similarly situated Apple customers purchased phones when they didn’t need to on account of the company’s “fraudulent scheme.”
“Apple’s iOS updates purposefully neglected to explain that its purposeful throttling down of older model devices and resulting lost or diminished operating performance could be remedied by replacing the batteries of these devices,” they alleged in the lawsuit. “Instead, Apple’s decision to purposefully slowdown or throttle down these devices was undertaken to fraudulently induce consumers to purchase the latest iPhone versions of the iPhone 7, as well as new phones such as the iPhone 8 and iPhone X.”
A similar lawsuit filed in Los Angeles federal court argued Apple breached an “implied contract” with its customers, and another filed in San Francisco accused of Apple of deliberately misleading iPhone owners.