A consumer rights activist is suing Apple for more than €750 million (about €1 billion), alleging that the company intentionally slows down older devices to avoid the cost of repairing or replacing a device that had a low battery. .

In a lawsuit brought before the UK Competition Court of Appeal, Justin Guttman alleges that Apple included a secret battery management system in an iOS update, intended to hide the fact that older iPhone models don't work. they could handle the new version. This practice is known as “throttling”.

Guttman says the system wasn't included in the software's ratings and consumers didn't have the option to turn it off, meaning the "upgrade" was actually a "downgrade" in performance.

iPhone limitation

Because Apple didn't admit that its older models couldn't handle the upgrade and offered no other course of action, the case says consumers were harmed.

"The complaint is against [Apple] for breaching UK competition law by abusing its dominant position in related markets through abusive and unfair trading practices that have caused widespread harm to UK consumers and businesses," reads on the UK website.

“These practices include: pressuring users to download iOS updates that placed demands on iPhones that exceeded the capacity of installed batteries, increasing the likelihood of unexpected shutdowns; push iOS updates to users that contained a 'speed-up' feature, which resulted in significant performance reductions on these iPhones; and failing to communicate transparently about unexpected outages and subsequent 'chokeholds'."

If successful, anyone with an iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6S, 6S Plus, SE, 7, 7 Plus, 8, 8 Plus, or X would be entitled to claim damages.

Apple has faced accusations of "throttling" devices to encourage consumers to buy new hardware sooner. In 2020, it filed a settlement in a California court, agreeing to pay up to €500 million (with a minimum of €310 million) in payments to affected US customers. Similar lawsuits have also been filed in France and Italy.

Although the company denied deliberately slowing down older phones for nefarious reasons, it did confirm that it does so with older phones under certain circumstances. This could be due to a very old battery or the device being cold, scenarios that would otherwise cause the device to shut down. Newer features include a "battery status" dashboard and the ability to choose whether or not to optimize charging.

TechRadar Pro has contacted Apple for comment.

Share This