US iPhone users receive surprise free cash in Apple 'batterygate' law suit success

Users of certain iPhones who signed up to a class action lawsuit have begun getting their share of the winnings, while Apple remains stoically silent

US iPhone users receive surprise free cash in Apple 'batterygate' law suit success

Without admitting any blame or suggesting that any of their products were ever at fault, Apple have begun issuing payments as part of a long-running class action lawsuit to users who claimed that Apple’s ‘secretive’ policy of slowing down older phones had impacted the quality of service they had paid for, and expected from their devices.

Previously Apple had offered cut-price battery replacements in an effort to come clean and right 'wrongs' but many users wanted to take the issue further with a potential pay-day at the end of a no-risk, no-cost sign up to a US class action suit.

The US suit could be joined by anyone with an iPhone 6, 6S, 7 and 7S phone and today, the case has borne fruit. Complainants who signed up will receive a cut of a $500m (£394m) settlement sum, set aside by the company, which works out to around $92 (£72) per claim.

Nothing is forever

The issue is a hazy one in that current battery technology will always result in performance degrading over time. I.e. No–one can expect any currently available battery to ever work at 100% capacity forever. What is in question however is Apple’s software-based monitoring of individual battery performance and the ‘secretive’ throttling down of the processor they introduced, in line with the capability of the battery, to spare the user any pain. Now, rather than a worn battery triggering a shutdown or unexpected unwanted activity from their phones the phones would simply run a little slower and stay alive.

In a perfect world Apple’s throttling would simply go unnoticed, allowing the phone to continue operating rather than give up, causing user upset and consternation. However, the fact that Apple at no point gave their users any visibility on the diminishing quality of the battery or the fact that phones with older batteries were effectively running slower and becoming ‘worse’ is an issue that has rankled with many iPhone users for years. Many took Apple's intervention as a secret campaign to deliberately make older phones worse so that new upgrades would be forthcoming.

In an attempt to alleviate the problem (and any blame on their part) Apple have since implemented a ‘battery health’ feature within iOS, showing any user the quality of their battery as a percentage and advising that performance may be impacted and - when performance dips to a level where the phone will need to take self-protective measures to prevent a malfunction - that the user seek a battery replacement.

However, the on-going legal implications of Apple’s actions pre transparency have rumbled on and now - while essentially a problem already solved - Apple are (quietly) paying off the most active compaintants who joined the class action suit against them in order to put the episode behind them.

Payday at last!

Users who owned one of the affected phones and had signed up to the suit have today begun receiving payments into their registered bank accounts without further comment of admission from Apple, with many taking to X (formerly Twitter) to express their surprise and share their joy.

Meanwhile a UK lawsuit - which additionally includes iPhone 8, 8 Plus and X - is still in place with an outcome still pending.

It’s safe to say that thousands of UK sign ups will now be watching their bank statements with interest.

Editor - PocketGamer.biz

Daniel Griffiths is a veteran journalist who has worked on some of the biggest entertainment media brands in the world. He's interviewed countless big names, and covered countless new releases in the fields of videogames, music, movies, tech, gadgets, home improvement, self build, interiors and garden design. Yup, he said garden design… He’s the ex-Editor of PSM2, PSM3, GamesMaster and Future Music, ex-Deputy Editor of The Official PlayStation Magazine and ex-Group Editor-in-Chief of Electronic Musician, Guitarist, Guitar World, Rhythm, Computer Music and more. He hates talking about himself.