Apple will pay up to $500 million to settle a lawsuit that claims the company purposely slowed down certain iPhones to persuade customers to buy new ones.
The settlement orders Apple to pay a minimum of $310 million and a maximum of $500 million. The money will go toward payments to former and current U.S. owners of Apple iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6s, 6s Plus, 7, 7 Plus, and SE devices running iOS 10.2.1 (or later) and iOS 11.2 (or later).
“For a release of their claims, Settlement Class Members will receive $25.00 for each iPhone owned, the amount of which may increase or decrease depending on the amount of any Attorneys’ Fees and Expenses, Named Plaintiff Service Awards, notice expenses, and the aggregate value of Approved Claims,” the settlement reads.
In the lawsuit, customers alleged that the company deceived them by using software updates to cap the performance on their iPhones without telling them. Therefore, they assumed their phones, rather than just their batteries, needed to be replaced.
In 2017, after Reddit users said that replacing batteries on the iPhone seemed to improve performance, Apple admitted that this was what was happening.
“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,” said an Apple spokesperson. “We’ve now extended that feature to iPhone 7 with iOS 11.2, and plan to add support for other products in the future.”
In response to the outcry, Apple offered to replace customers’ batteries for $29 instead of the $79 it usually costs for the service. The following year, more than 11 million people took advantage of the offer, which is more than 10 times as many people in previous years.
Apple has denied any wrongdoing in the settlement. They said the updates were intended to keep the phones from trying to draw too much power from old batteries, potentially causing the devices to crash.
“The settlement provides substantial relief to Apple consumers and, going forward, will help ensure that customers are fully informed when asked to update their products,” said Joseph Cotchett, co-lead counsel for the plaintiffs.