UK lawsuit dredges up 2017’s ‘Batterygate’ controversy


Apple iPhone 6s
A UK lawsuit intends to stop Apple from doing something it already promised five years ago it would never do again.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

A UK consumer rights advocate filed a £750m claim accusing Apple of slowing down handsets as old as the iPhone 6. This is over “Batterygate,” a controversy that first erupted way back in 2017 and has long since been settled in the U.S. and other countries.

Even so, a bad decision from five years ago has come back to haunt the company.

Rembembering one of Apple’s worse decisions

In 2017, when the iPhone 8 was a hot new model, Apple got into trouble for surreptitiously slowing down aging iPhone models because otherwise the handsets could crash when their processor required more power than their nearly worn out batteries could deliver. The Batterygate controversy wasn’t over throttling the devices – it was over Apple not telling customers it was doing so.

Apple apologized and introducing a temporary battery replacement program that reduced the cost of swapping out batteries. It also built a system into iOS to allow users to throttle their own aging iPhones.

The company settled a Batterygate class-action lawsuit for $500 million, and paid $113 million to settle a case brought by group of U.S. state attorneys general.

‘Batterygate’ is back in the UK

The fresh UK suit brought by Justin Gutmann doesn’t accuse Apple of anything new. It’s about the company’s actions in 2017 related to the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus. He filed his claim with the Competition Appeals Tribunal, according to The Guardian.

“I’m launching this case so that millions of iPhone users across the UK will receive redress for the harm suffered by Apple’s actions,” said Gutmann.

“We have never – and would never – do anything to intentionally shorten the life of any Apple product, or degrade the user experience to drive customer upgrades,” says an Apple statement to The Guardian. “Our goal has always been to create products that our customers love, and making iPhones last as long as possible is an important part of that.”


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