Apple has begun paying out its agreed $500 million settlement as a result of the iPhone ‘Batterygate’ controversy.
The Batterygate saga originally started out as a tech conspiracy theory on Reddit, with eagle eyed Reddit users suspecting that Apple may have been slowing down older iPhones that had smaller batteries with new iOS updates. This could be seen as a tactic to make people upgrade their iPhones to newer models.
Apple eventually revealed that there was a feature in newer iOS updates that slowed down older iPhones, but it wasn’t to get people to upgrade. The throttling was put in place to lessen the strain on performance that older batteries might encounter when updated to a new iOS. Apple stated these older batteries could even accidentally shutdown without the throttling feature.
Apple published a long page on its website explaining the battery issues, which included the following info:
“iOS dynamically manages performance peaks to prevent the device from unexpectedly shutting down so that the iPhone can still be used. In cases that require more extreme forms of this performance management, the user may notice effects such as:
- Longer app launch times
- Lower frame rates while scrolling
- Backlight dimming (which can be overridden in Control Centre)
- Lower speaker volume by up to -3 dB
- Gradual frame-rate reductions in some apps
- During the most extreme cases, the camera flash will be disabled as visible in the camera UI
- Apps refreshing in the background may require reloading upon launch"
However, Apple’s problem was that it took too long to explain this issue. Lawsuits centred around users claiming they bought new devices when they actually could have just had the battery replaced, and ultimately saved money.
A class action US lawsuit followed and Apple then agreed to a multi-million dollar settlement which will see individual iPhone owners around the United States receive a portion of the sum.
With millions of people affected, it’s thought that the payout will be around $25 per person, with those who are eligible for the payout beginning to be notified.
To meet be eligible for the payout you must have or previously have had one of the following iPhones:
- iPhone 6
- iPhone 6 Plus
- iPhone 6S
- iPhone 6S Plus
- iPhone SE that ran iOS 10.2.1 or later before 21st December 2017
- Phone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus that ran iOS 11.2 or later before 21st December 2017
Apple agreed to pay out a maximum of $500 million as part of the settlement. Which was split up as “a cash payment of approximately $25 per eligible device,”. However this sum could go down if the amount of claims exceed the $500 million cut off.
People who own one of the affected phones have to register to claim their portion of the settlement, which can be done via a website.
At the moment, this lawsuit and the settlement payout is strictly limited to the US so no one here in the UK can benefit. But with countless people outside of the United States also owning the iPhones in question, could we soon see similar lawsuits here in the UK?