Apple UK lawsuit over Battery Throttling to proceed

Seven older devices are listed in the latest iPhone battery lawsuit

Apple’s attempt to block a mass lawsuit accusing it of hiding defective batteries in millions of iPhones by “throttling” them with software updates is to proceed in the UK.

The company is facing a lawsuit worth up to 1.6 billion pounds plus interest, brought by self-titled consumer champion Justin Gutmann on behalf of iPhone users in the United Kingdom, where the Competition Appeal Tribunal in London has now denied Apple’s request to throw out the legal action. It will now proceed at a currently unspecified date.

Apple acknowledged that a software update released in 2017 hampered the performance of devices, although it claims the software was meant to protect the phone’s battery life.

The company previously paid $113m to settle a similar case in Arizona, and $500m to settle another in California.

Gutmann’s claim is an opt-out claim, meaning people do not need to actively join the case to seek damages. The devices eligible for compensation in the Apple iPhone battery lawsuit are:

  • iPhone 6
  • iPhone 6 Plus
  • iPhone 6S
  • iPhone 6S Plus
  • iPhone SE
  • iPhone 7
  • iPhone 7 Plus

The saga began following a study by a user who claimed that Apple’s tech automatically slowed phones when the battery had a diminished charge capacity. Apple admitted causing the issue and apologised for the apparent downgrade.

In a statement, the company explained that as the lithium-ion batteries used in its phones age they become less able to provide the top levels of electrical current needed.

The problems with peak current draws especially occur when batteries are cold or low on charge – “which can result in the device unexpectedly shutting down to protect its electronic components”, Apple said.

Lithium-ion batteries lose their capacity over time due to the physical wear-and-tear of ions passing through the material of the battery.

But iPhone users had complained about their devices turning off abruptly even when they had a significant amount of charge left.

The company eventually replaced eleven million iPhone batteries in 2018 and also introduced a feature to allow users to turn off the power management tool.