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Apple is facing a $2 billion lawsuit in the United Kingdom over its controversial decision to throttle older iPhones as their battery health degraded. This lawsuit accuses the company of “hiding defective batteries in millions of iPhones” by throttling the performance of those devices. The lawsuit is valued at 1.6 billion pounds plus interest, which equates to around $2 billion.
The lawsuit is being led by “consumer champion Justin Gutmann on behalf of iPhone users in the United Kingdom”. Lawyers representing Gutmann argue that “concealed issues with batteries in certain phone models and ‘surreptitiously’ installed a power management tool which limited performance”.
This is not the first time that Apple has faced lawsuits over the Batterygate controversy. The company’s practice of throttling older iPhones based on performance was first discovered in 2017 by sleuthing users on Reddit. Apple agreed to pay $500 million to settle a United States lawsuit over the matter. It also agreed to pay $113 million to settle a separate multistate investigation.
At the time, Apple was forced to issue a public apology, offer discounted battery replacements, and give users the choice of whether or not to enable the feature. Since then, the company has also rolled out new features to iOS designed to mitigate the long-term degradation of battery health.
In response to the UK lawsuit, Apple has argued that it is “baseless” and said that most iPhone batteries were not defective. The company did, however, acknowledge that a “small number of iPhone 6s models” did have defective batteries, but those users were offered free battery replacements. As for its decision to throttle performance based on battery health, Apple said that it “only reduced an iPhone 6’s performance by an average of 10%”.
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Despite Apple’s protestations, it seems that this is a fight that the company will never truly be able to end. Apple has faced lawsuits around the world over the Batterygate controversy, and it remains to be seen where this United Kingdom lawsuit will ultimately lead. However, Apple seems keen to keep fighting it.
In the years since Batterygate, Apple has taken steps to repair its reputation, including offering discounted battery replacements and rolling out new features to iOS designed to mitigate the long-term degradation of battery health. However, it seems that the company’s decision to throttle performance based on battery health will continue to haunt it for years to come.