Wednesday, August 16, 2023

Apple to Send Batterygate Payments

Juli Clover:

iPhone owners who signed up to receive a payment under Apple’s “batterygate” iPhone throttling lawsuit settlement should soon be receiving their payments. As noted by The Mercury News, the judge overseeing the lawsuit has thrown out an appeal from two iPhone owners who were attempting to object to the settlement, clearing the way for the payments to be sent out.

Apple in 2020 agreed to pay $500 million to settle the “batterygate” lawsuit, which accused the company of secretly throttling older iPhone models. The class action lawsuit was open to U.S. customers who had an iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6s, 6s Plus, 7, or 7 Plus running iOS 10.2.1 or iOS 11.2 prior to December 21, 2017.

Dare Obasanjo:

Apple is finally paying out users for slowing down the performance of older phones. This was one of those conspiracy theories that turned out to be true.


Affected users who filed claims should get a $65 check. Much less than the replacement phone they likely purchased. 😁

Ian Williamson:

I would much rather have a phone that ran a bit slower than one that frequently shut down, often at times when you were most relying on it.

Ultimately Apple is still at fault here for designing a phone that could draw more power than the battery could supply (at least towards the end of its lifetime). The slowdown fix and poor communication of said fix were just results of that initial mistake.

Nick Heer:

I remain stunned that anyone at Apple thought it would be completely fine to kneecap iPhones with underperforming batteries without telling users. Asking for forgiveness instead of permission works when you borrow a coworker’s pen, not when you alter the product characteristics of millions of smartphones without a word of communication. It has got to be one of the stupidest decisions made by this company in the past decade.

There were actually two communication problems. First, there had been a narrative that some people thought Apple was purposely making their phones slower but that this was a crazy conspiracy theory. Apple let this continue, even as it knew that it really was throttling phones. Second, Apple eventually flipped and tried to pretend that it had told us all along about the throttling—just like how Amazon secretly getting a special App Store rate turned into an “established program.” I don’t consider that asking for forgiveness.

Ultimately, the problem was a hardware design flaw (never really acknowledged), and the throttling was helpful in that a slow phone is better than a broken phone, but the secrecy meant that many people purchased a new phone when all they needed was a new battery.


Update (2024-01-09): Joe Rossignol (Hacker News):

The website for the so-called “batterygate” settlement said payments would likely start to be distributed this January, and payouts have began on schedule. MacRumors readers Ken Strand and Michael Burkhardt are among the individuals who have received payments of $92.17 per claim from Apple as part of the settlement.

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