A little over two years ago, Apple faced one of its highest-profile scandals that wasn’t related to privacy, security, or even monopoly. It was, instead, about how it silently started throttling older iPhones in order to preserve and extend their battery life. Apple was unsurprisingly sued but surprisingly decided to just settle the matter. Now eligible members of this class action suit can file a claim and, if they meet the requirements, receive $25 for all their troubles.
On a technical level, Apple’s reasoning for throttling the performance of the iPhone 6 up to the iPhone 7 generations does make sense. That, however, was not the point of contention but rather how it never informed people about making such a change. Perhaps it presumed owners wouldn’t bother to care about such technical matters but the response after word got out might have caught Apple off guard.
The lawsuit practically accused Apple of consumer fraud as affected users had their batteries replaced out of warranty or were even compelled to buy more recent iPhone models. Of course, Apple denied allegations of ill will and planned obsolescence and pushed updates to inform users better or even give them back some control. By December 2017, however, it was too late since the lawsuit was already filed.
Apple decided to settle the lawsuit last March but not as an admission of wrongdoing, something the court made clear. The company just decided the litigation would have cost more than the settlement. At $25 per claimant, that settlement would cost it as much as $500 million. Not a small figure but probably still cheaper than letting the case go on.
Of course, not just any iPhone owner can make a claim to that $25. They have to own or owned one of the affected models running an older version of iOS and must have owned those before the lawsuit filed on December 21, 2017. Of course, you also have to claim you experienced diminished performance due to the throttling. Even if eligible, however, class members can also opt to exclude themselves to retain their rights to sue Apple separately over the same matter, though the chances of winning will probably be slim at this point.