Wednesday Apple admitted that it deliberately slowed down older iPhones to prevent unexpected shutdowns when the batteries were worn out. Thursday, the lawsuits began. A proposed class-action breach-of-contract suit was filed by two consumers, via a Los Angeles lawyer, saying they never consented to allow Apple to slow their older iPhones. “As a result of Defendant’s wrongful actions, Plaintiffs and Class Members had their phone slowed down, and thereby it interfered with Plaintiffs’ and Class Members’ use or possession of their iPhones,” according to the lawsuit, which has been posted online by a New York CBS TV station.
Apple didn’t respond to requests for comment about the lawsuit. On Wednesday, it had put out a statement confirming what many users had suspected — but couldn’t verify — that iPhones slowed as they aged. New to iPhone owners was the explanation: Rather than just a reflection of age, the slowing was deliberate, an after-effect of software designed to prevent blackouts. “Lithium-ion batteries 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,” Apple said. “Last year we released a feature for iPhone 6, iPhone 6s and iPhone SE to smooth out the instantaneous peaks only when needed to prevent the device from unexpectedly shutting down during these conditions. In a nutshell, Apple’s iOS mobile operating system is designed to avoid unexpected shutdowns on older phones and this, in turn, can slow the phones. Apple had said last year it had released a fix to help avoid such blackouts. But its failure to disclose that this solution could slow down the phone, which may have prompted some owners to decide to scrap their old phone and buy a new one, has raised the ire of some consumers. iPhones, like many recent Android devices, do not have batteries that can be easily replaced by users. But they can be replaced. Apple charges $79 for a new battery for those without its AppleCare warranty protection, a cheaper cost than several hundred dollars for a new device. The newest iPhone, the iPhone X, starts at $999. If you’re curious about the status of your phone’s battery you can download a free app, such as Battery Life from developer RBT Digital or head into your local Apple Store to get it checked out.