Apple recently admitted to installing “power management” via software updates on its iPhone 6, 6S, SE and 7. This software deliberately slows down the processing performance of phones with older batteries to prevent unexpected shut downs and protect aging batteries. Many consumers are upset over slower phones and the possibility that Apple may have done this to force consumers to prematurely purchase newer iPhones or replacement batteries.
Buried in the fine print of Apple’s 17-page Terms and Conditions for software updates (which most users bypass by quickly tapping “I Agree”) are several disclaimers. One grants Apple wide authority to incorporate any functionality feature. Another disclaims any warranty against interference with your enjoyment of the iOS software or that the software is error-free. Further, Apple warns that installation of the iOS software “may affect the availability and usability” of apps and services.
So, has Apple essentially shielded themselves from responsibility?
Many states do not think so and have filed lawsuits on behalf of consumers, asserting contract law claims and consumer protection violations. If Apple deliberately concealed the fact that the software updates would slow down the phone or that it deceived consumers into purchasing new iPhones instead of replacing their battery, Apple can be held liable despite its disclaimers.
What can iPhone users do if they have been affected?
Apple is offering reduced-price battery replacements to owners of the iPhone 6 and newer iPhone versions through the end of 2018. Those wanting to pursue a legal claim will need to show that Apple intentionally withheld information about slowing down the iPhones, and that the consumer would have made a different decision about purchasing a newer phone or replacing the battery.
Consumer protection law is intended to prevent deception by merchants. Each state has laws that prohibit unfair and deceptive acts from companies, especially representations on which consumers are known to rely.
If you believe you have been treated unfairly as a consumer, the experienced consumer protections attorneys of Humble Law, LLC can assess the facts of your case and determine whether you have a valid basis for a claim.