Apple hit with two lawsuits over slowing down iPhones

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iphone screen2
Apple says that it slows down older iPhones, but for good reason.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Well that didn’t take long! Within a day of Apple acknowledging that it’s software updates cause older iPhone models to slow down, Apple has been hit with not one, but two class action lawsuits from folks outraged that it would behave in this way.

Both suits are asking for unspecified damages from the company.

One lawsuit involves give customers in Illinois, Ohio, Indiana, and North Carolina, who claim that Apple acted in a “deceptive, immoral and unethical” way by slowing down their iPhones, which range from 2012’s iPhone 5 to 2016’s iPhone 7. The suit claims that Apple, “needlessly subjects consumers to purchasing newer and more expensive iPhones when a replacement battery could have allowed consumers to continue to use their older iPhones.”

The second lawsuit was filed by Los Angeles resident Stefan Bogdanovich, who similarly argues that the purposeful slowing down of older iPhone models is a ploy to prompt customers to upgrade to the latest handsets. He also argues that the move hurts customers because it damages the value of older iPhones.

Yes, Apple slows older iPhones — but there’s a good reason

Apple admitted to purposely throttling the performance of aging iPhones this week — but it’s not necessarily as bad as it sounds. In a statement made to TechCrunch, Apple said it lowers CPU performance on some iPhones to prolong their lifespan, not to shorten it:

“Our goal is to deliver the best experience for customers, which includes overall performance and prolonging the life of their devices. Lithium-ion batteries become less capable of supplying peak current demands when in cold conditions, have a low battery charge or as they age over time, which can result in the device unexpectedly shutting down to protect its electronic components.

Last year we released a feature for iPhone 6, iPhone 6s and iPhone SE to smooth out the instantaneous peaks only when needed to prevent the device from unexpectedly shutting down during these conditions. We’ve now extended that feature to iPhone 7 with iOS 11.2, and plan to add support for other products in the future.”

Since batteries get weaker as they age, Apple’s updates are an attempt to smooth out performance so it remains optimal throughout the battery’s life.

If you have an older iPhone, you can significantly speed it up simply by swapping out the old battery for a new one. Don’t know if you need to? Check out our handy battery health guide for some help.