Apple settles 'slow phone' lawsuit but Australians miss out on compensation

Posted by Michelle Lewis on March 6, 2020

Apple has agreed to pay up to $500 million in compensation to US customers whose iPhones were deliberately slowed down by software updates, but Australians will have to litigate their own case if they want compensation.

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Named plaintiffs in the US case will receive $US1500, while those who gave evidence will get $US3500.

Other owners of the eligible phones in the US will receive about $US25 each, depending on how many people make claims, with a minimum total payout of $310m and a maximum of $500m.

Sadly, Australian users will need to fight their own battle

The settlement does not, however, extend beyond the borders of the United States. Australian iPhone users will miss out on any pay-out with Apple confirming that Australian customers were not eligible for the settlement.

To win our own pay-out, Australian users would need to win a similar lawsuit through the Australian courts. 

Australian law firm Bannister Law is said to be looking at potentially launching a similar class action in Australia, 9News reported. Not surprising, as the American law firm was paid $93million in fees for the case it prosecuted.

“We are investigating if there is a case to answer,” Bannister Law principal Charles Bannister said.

Earlier this year Apple was fined $41 million in France over the same practice of slowing down iPhones without telling the users. The company agreed to pay the sum for “deceptive marketing practice” to the French Directorate General for Competition, Consumption and the Suppression of Fraud.



Sorry, not sorry...

It was Christmas 2017 when Apple finally admitted what we had all known for some time - its software updates were slowing down our 'older' iPhones.

After much ducking and diving, Apple finally fronted with an apology - but not for slowing down our phones, just for the way the action "was communicated."

The company claimed it wasn't their fault, it was the battery's fault. They said we should know they would "never do anything to intentionally shorten the life of any Apple product, or degrade the user experience to drive customer upgrades". They explained they were only trying to help us out by "performance managing" our older batteries which couldn't cope with their fancy new software updates and might do a sudden shutdown.

Unfortunately for Apple, the whole house of cards came tumbling down when they were caught 'performance managing' the iPhone 7 which had only been released at most 12 months earlier. It was a bit hard to buy that the battery needed protection from itself already.

Still no admittance of wrongdoing

This week Apple kept up the show of 'it was all just a bit misunderstanding',  and continued to deny any wrongdoing claiming it was settling the case to avoid the burdens and costs of litigation, according to court papers.

The settlement covers US owners of the iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6s, 6s Plus, 7, 7 Plus or SE that ran the iOS 10.2.1 or later operating system. It also covers US owners of the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus that ran iOS 11.2 or later before 21 December 2017.