Apple has been the subject of several major controversies since the first iPhone launched over a decade ago, but few have been as impactful as “batterygate,” which was the name the internet adopted when we found out that Apple was throttling old iPhones to preserve battery life. That discovery led to litigation, and on Monday, Reuters reported that Apple has agreed to pay up to $500 million to settle the case despite not admitting to any wrongdoing. Court documents stated that Apple agreed to the settlement in order to avoid a lengthy and potentially even more costly court battle.
As Bloomberg Law explains, dozens of class-action lawsuits were filed against Apple between December 2017 and June 2018 regarding the throttling, but the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation combined those suits in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in April 2018.
According to the report, the settlement covers anyone in the US who did or still does own an iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, or iPhone SE running iOS 10.2.1 or later, as well as iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus owners running iOS 11.2 or later. Those who ran these versions of iOS before December 21st, 2017 are eligible.
The settlement calls for Apple to pay consumers $25 per affected iPhone, but that amount could fluctuate based on how many claims are approved. Those named in the suit will receive between $1,500 and $3,500, while the attorneys involved in the case will receive over $90 million, which is 30% of the settlement amount.
The idea of Apple participating in a scheme known as “planned obsolescence” has been floating around for years, but when iPhone owners began to notice that their phones were actually slowing down after a few years, the conspiracy theory became reality. Apple ended up admitting to slowing down processor speeds in order to reduce stress on the battery and prevent issues as the phone aged. The problem was that Apple didn’t inform consumers before they purchased the phones, which is why Apple is now obligated to pay at least $310 million to the people who were affected by this issue, and up to $500 million.