Apple faces class action lawsuit on deliberately slowing down old iPhones

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On Dec. 20, Apple confirmed that a long-held, controversial theory about its iPhone contained some truth. The company admitted that as its phones age and battery performance declines, it slows down older devices to allegedly avoid quickly draining batteries. In response, lawsuits made against Apple argued that the company misled its customers in spending money on fixes that did not speed up their phones.

According to the The Verge, an American technology news and media source, Apple confirmed all the models of the iPhone 6 were slowed down through its software update, claiming that this feature “smooth[ed]out the instantaneous peaks only when needed to prevent the device from unexpectedly shutting down,” and that the lithium-ion batteries which are used in phones “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.”

Some Apple users saw this as a sign of a long running conspiracy to encourage customers to buy new phones through planned obsolescence. The company has already faced nine lawsuits filed in various federal courts– California, New York, and Illinois– in the week since it opened up about its software update, all of which seek to represent the millions of iPhone owners nationwide. Residents in Los Angeles filed three of the lawsuits. One accused Apple of fraud through concealment and unfair business practices. Another accused Apple of breaching an unfair contract; the lawsuit stated that Apple did not get iPhone owners’ consent before interfering with the phones’ speed. The last one alleged many misdeeds such as fraud, false advertising, and unjust enhancement.

“As an owner of the iPhone 6 as well as many other apple products, I was quite disappointed at Apple’s actions,” said Youngwoo Kim (11). “In fact, I have experienced a slow down in my phone battery several times after getting software updates periodically. So when I heard this news, I was shocked and angry that a company I loved and trusted so much actually deceived me into buying a new one.”

According to TechRadar, a leading news source for technology, Samsung and LG have confirmed that none of their phones employ similar practices in that they don’t slow down their phones’ processors as their batteries age. HTC and Motorola have also stated that they do not throttle their phones’ performance. Thus, the statements by other phone companies make it clear that Apple’s battery management practices aren’t standard behavior.

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Yejune Park

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