Apple starts sending out checks for “batterygate” class action claims

After admitting guilt in 2017 and settling in 2020, Apple has finally begun making payments over claims that it deliberately slowed down iPhones in the United States.

Complainants in this long-running class action lawsuit are receiving a cut of a $500 million settlement, which works out to around $92 per claim.

Indeed, the website set up for the settlement was updated in December to say that the payments are about to go out, and now, some social media users are uploading screenshots that show that checks have been deposited to their accounts.

“Based on the timeline set forth in the Settlement Agreement, we anticipate distribution should occur sometime in January 2024,” says the December 26th update.

So ends the great saga of litigation that started back in December 2017 when Apple confirmed an old suspicion among phone owners by admitting that it had deliberately slowed down some iPhones as they got older.

The company said the goal was to keep phones from randomly shutting down once the battery degraded beyond a certain point. But, since Apple forgot to tell the customers, the ensuing uproar, later named “batterygate,” unsurprisingly led to legal action in the US.

Multiple class action lawsuits cropped up, saying that Apple basically drove people to upgrade early rather than simply having their phones’ batteries replaced. According to the 2018 lawsuit, some iPhones were shutting off even though the batteries showed a charge of more than 30%.

Apple finally agreed to settle the lawsuit in 2020. The firm stated at the time it denied any wrongdoing and was merely concerned with the cost of continuing litigation.

However, back in 2020, Arizona Attorney General Brnovich said that the settlement exposed Apple's deceptive behavior before the company opened up over slowing down users' batteries.

"Big Tech companies must stop manipulating consumers and tell them the whole truth about their practices and products," Brnovich said. "I'm committed to holding these Goliath technology companies to account if they conceal the truth from their users."

The class action lawsuit included any US resident who owned an affected iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, and/or iPhone SE that ran iOS 10.2.1 or later, and/or an iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus that ran iOS 11.2 or later, before December 21st, 2017.

In August 2023, a judge in the US gave their final nod to allow payments to affected iPhone users who submitted a claim to come through.

Starting in 2018, iPhone users have been able to better control an iPhone's battery life and check on the health of the battery. Consumers are now also allowed to turn off iPhone battery throttling.

In the United Kingdom, Apple lost a bid to block a similar mass action lawsuit last November. The case represents an estimated 24 million iPhone users and is seeking around $2 billion in compensation.

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