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Apple to Pay Up to $500M to iPhone Owners as ‘Batterygate’ Appeals End

Even as Apple prepares to put the 2018 lawsuit behind it, murmurs of new iPhone battery issues have started.

Michael C. Anderson, Editor-in-Chief, Battery Technology

August 15, 2023

2 Min Read
batterygate suit.jpg
Credit: Serhej Calka / iStock via Getty Images

Apple Inc.'s highly anticipated $500 million settlement in the "Batterygate" case is expected to bring relief to iPhone users—even as current users of iPhone 14 and Pro share new concerns regarding poor battery performance.

Apple’s 5+ years of 'Batterygate'

In 2018, Apple faced allegations of discreetly slowing down certain iPhone models to address battery and processor issues, leading to widespread user frustration and distrust. The case focused on iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6s, 6s Plus, and SE devices running iOS 10.2.1 or later before December 21, 2017, as well as iPhone 7 and 7 Plus phones running iOS 11.2 or later before that date.

By 2020, Apple agreed to settle a lawsuit accusing it of deceptive practices, branded as one of the largest instances of consumer fraud in history. According to reporting in The Mercury News, the 2018 lawsuit documented unexplained iPhone shutdowns starting in 2015, intensifying in the fall of 2016. Users complained about shutdowns despite batteries showing over 30% charge.

The lawsuit attributed these shutdowns to a mismatch between hardware components like batteries and processing chips and the growing demands of constantly evolving operating systems.

Apple attempted to address the issue with a software update, which allegedly only throttled device performance to mitigate shutdowns, according to the lawsuit.

Last week, the final obstacle to the settlement was overcome when the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed an appeal from two iPhone owners contesting the terms. This clears the way for eligible iPhone owners to receive compensation, as reported by Mercury News.

Around 3 million claims were submitted by iPhone users seeking compensation prior to an October 2020 deadline. Estimated compensation per claim stands at approximately $65, contributing to a total settlement ranging from $310 million to $500 million.

Is there a new battery issue?

Just when it seems all parties will soon close the book on the Batterygate saga, new reports of iPhone battery issues are coming in from the Wall Street Journal, UK’s Independent, and other sources—specifically that iPhone users are asserting that the latest models exhibit unexpectedly rapid battery drainage. Certain users of the iPhone 14 and 14 Pro express dissatisfaction with faster battery aging compared to earlier iPhone versions.

All lithium-ion batteries naturally degrade over time, of course, due to various factors such as temperature and usage frequency. However, some owners of the new iPhone 14 and 14 Pro are reporting that this degradation is occurring unnaturally quickly. Some users report a loss of 15% or more battery capacity within less than a year of ownership.

Apple is anticipated to unveil the iPhone 15 and 15 Pro around September of this year—touting improved battery life as a selling point.

About the Author(s)

Michael C. Anderson

Editor-in-Chief, Battery Technology, Informa Markets - Engineering

Battery Technology Editor-in-Chief Michael C. Anderson has been covering manufacturing and transportation technology developments for more than a quarter-century, with editor roles at Manufacturing Engineering, Cutting Tool Engineering, Automotive Design & Production, and Smart Manufacturing. Before all of that, he taught English and literature at colleges in Japan and Michigan.

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