Apple slapped with class action suit over iPhone 5/5s data leakage

Posted:
in General Discussion edited December 2015
A group of disgruntled iPhone owners filed a lawsuit against Apple on Thursday for allegedly concealing a defect that caused iPhone 5 and 5s models to switch away from Wi-Fi to cellular data without users' knowledge, resulting in high cellular bills.




According to the class action complaint filed with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, the flaw was first discovered in 2012 shortly after Apple launched iPhone 5 and the iOS 6 mobile operating system.

The supposed defect lies in how iOS 6 interacts with Apple's then-new A6 system-on-chip design when managing wireless data transmission. With three GPU cores, the A6 was for the first time capable of processing large blocks of streaming video and audio without the aid of its two CPU cores. As a result of offloading video processing to the GPU block, iOS 6 would put the CPU to sleep to save power. Powering down the Swift core also triggered the Wi-Fi transmitter to shut down, leaving the cellular radio active for data connectivity.

Since the process takes place in the background, and only after a "few minutes" of streaming, users unwittingly burned through data, the lawsuit claims. Plaintiffs further allege Apple was made aware of the issue "almost immediately," but took no action until the release of iOS 8.1 in October 2014.

While the technical details will be fleshed out in evidentiary proceedings, the suit's argument as to why Apple shipped a faulty product, and later turned a blind eye to resulting problems, is less convincing. According to plaintiffs, Apple rushed out iOS 6 and iPhone 5 amid increased pressure from smartphone rival Samsung, which had recently surpassed Apple as the leading U.S. smartphone manufacturer earlier in 2012. To catch up, the suit suggests Apple released iOS 6 without properly vetting the software.

The complaint notes Apple released iOS 6 "in just over three months after testing only four beta versions," as compared to the seven iOS 5 beta versions issued over four months. Further, when Apple did hear of the defect, it "refused to publicly admit that the new phones were fundamentally flawed" because "disclosing a major defect that made the phones uncompetitive would erode the sales of the marquee iPhone 5 and cause users to distrust iOS 6," the suit claims.

Aside from the potentially false assumption that Apple rushed out iOS 6, and a general misunderstanding of software development, the complaint fails to reconcile Apple's actual release dates. For example, iOS 5 was announced on July 6, 2011, and released three months later on Oct. 12 of that year. Apple's iOS 7, iOS 8 and iOS 9 saw similar launch windows, each being unveiled at WWDC in June before shipping three months later in September. Following the lawsuit's logic, iOS 5 should be considered delayed, not rushed.

Plaintiffs also claim that Apple pushed out a carrier update for users on Verizon's network within two weeks of iPhone 5's launch, though the software appears to address an unrelated issue that caused iPhone 5 to chew through cellular data despite being connected to a Wi-Fi network. That problem seems to be tied to iOS 6, as owners of iPhone 4 and 4s models also reported excessive data charges -- on various carriers -- after installing the operating system.

The case has not been assigned a judge and does is not yet scheduled for hearing.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 16
    So why is the 5s involved? 
  • Reply 2 of 16
    Sounds legit.  /s
    applepieguydjkfisherjbdragon
  • Reply 3 of 16
    I used the iPhone 5 for three years on Verizon and never "chewed through" data even once...

    What were these users doing??
    applepieguyjbdragon
  • Reply 4 of 16
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,547member
    I hate class action lawsuits like this. 
    williamlondonjbdragonapplepieguydjkfisher
  • Reply 5 of 16
    Another ridiculous lawsuit. It's up to the user to make sure they are still connected to a wifi connection. All it takes is seconds to look at your phone to see if there is a wifi logo. 
    djkfisher
  • Reply 6 of 16
    Another ridiculous lawsuit. It's up to the user to make sure they are still connected to a wifi connection. All it takes is seconds to look at your phone to see if there is a wifi logo. 
    I always check if I have wifi once I am close to my limit, but if I am downloading something, I only check before I click download. I do not watch while things download. If you download a big file and the server hosting it is slow this can take a long time. I do check every few minutes to see if I still have wifi unless I am moving around. One of the features of smart phones, including the iPhone, is they will switch to trusted wifi if available. This lawsuit claims that they changed this without telling people, then failed to fix it for a long period. Not being an iPhone user, I don't know how true these claims are.
  • Reply 7 of 16
    It would seem this article leaves out some details. It mentions that the suit is based on the what it calls a rushed 3-month beta phase for iOS 6. Seems starting at iOS 5, all major releases has had a 3-month beta phase. Granted, only 4 beta releases IS a small number for Apple. However, a few things don't make sense. Hence, the thought of missing details. 1. How can developers beta test an OS on hardware that is NOT available for developers to test before the beta program? Beta tests on unreleased hardware is Apple's and probable a very small, select set of testers outside of Apple. 2. [The start of the REAL questions:] If Apple learned about the flaw "shortly" after the release of the iPhone 5 and iOS 6, why was it allowed to persist in the release of the iPhone 5s? 3. OK, assuming it was more economical to allow the flaw to persist in the 5s, then why was the flaw NOT fixed in iOS 7.0 instead of waiting until iOS 8.1 (not to mention it wasn't even fixed in iOS 8.0!]? During iOS 7.0 beta testing, the hardware (iPhone 5) WAS available for beta testing the new major iOS release. Even more so, the 5 AND 5s were available for the beta testing of iOS 8.0. To be fair, I jumped from an iPhone 4s to an iPhone 5s this past March (2015) which was, obviously, after iOS 8.1 came out. So, technically, I don't have "a dog to hunt with" in this lawsuit. However, my questions are valid ones if such is the case.
  • Reply 8 of 16
    I had this issue & believe it to be real. My iPhone would display the wifi symbol & my podcasts would begin downloading, but later I would discover that the podcasts were downloading over cellular, not wifi. When I would turn the screen back on, I would see the 3G/4G symbol before it displayed the wifi symbol again. So in the mean-time podcasts continued to download over cellular while the screen was off. I could replicate the issue over and over. My iPhone burned through $600 of excess data in a couple of hours and I had to disable podcasts from downloading over wifi. I don't remember the exact version when the issue was fixed, but it was some iOS versions later. I had support calls with Apple and provided them with details of the issue, but never received compensation from them for the data loss, nor the time spent on the phone to them to provide information on how to replicate it. I know that there are a lot of lawsuits out there that are rediculous, but I was actually affected by this. I'm actually a software engineer & do know how to use my iPhone well, debug such situations, etc. I also follow my data usage to ensure that I don't go over. This was a situation that was truely out of my hands. The iPhone would display the wifi symbol & use data like it was on wifi, but it was switching to cellular when the screen was off, but still using data like it was on wifi. I'm not part of this lawsuit & I still own iPhones. Just saying that this was a real issue.
  • Reply 9 of 16
    The real lawsuit should be against AT&T, and any other carrier that lets a user's data usage skyrocket past the data cap without any warning to the account holder. Sprint sends out such alerts to users. It wouldn't be hard for AT&T or others to do it. 
    jfc1138jbdragon
  • Reply 10 of 16
    The real lawsuit should be against AT&T, and any other carrier that lets a user's data usage skyrocket past the data cap without any warning to the account holder. Sprint sends out such alerts to users. It wouldn't be hard for AT&T or others to do it. 
    Actually, as much as I dislike AT&T and their business practices I recieve automatic text notifications starting when I have hit 75% of my data limit up to 100% and then when they charge me for going over the data cap.

    For me I try not to go over my limit so when I'm at home or on a trusted wifi network I disable my LTE, it may not be the best course for many individuals but it works for me.
    freshmaker
  • Reply 11 of 16
    The real lawsuit should be against AT&T, and any other carrier that lets a user's data usage skyrocket past the data cap without any warning to the account holder. Sprint sends out such alerts to users. It wouldn't be hard for AT&T or others to do it. 
    Actually, as much as I dislike AT&T and their business practices I recieve automatic text notifications starting when I have hit 75% of my data limit up to 100% and then when they charge me for going over the data cap.

    For me I try not to go over my limit so when I'm at home or on a trusted wifi network I disable my LTE, it may not be the best course for many individuals but it works for me.
    Yeah they all should hopefully do that.  I'm on Verizon, and I get both a text and an email at 75%, 90% and 100%.
    jbdragon
  • Reply 12 of 16
    jfc1138jfc1138 Posts: 3,090member
    jodi said:
    I had this issue & believe it to be real. My iPhone would display the wifi symbol & my podcasts would begin downloading, but later I would discover that the podcasts were downloading over cellular, not wifi. When I would turn the screen back on, I would see the 3G/4G symbol before it displayed the wifi symbol again. So in the mean-time podcasts continued to download over cellular while the screen was off. I could replicate the issue over and over. My iPhone burned through $600 of excess data in a couple of hours and I had to disable podcasts from downloading over wifi. I don't remember the exact version when the issue was fixed, but it was some iOS versions later. I had support calls with Apple and provided them with details of the issue, but never received compensation from them for the data loss, nor the time spent on the phone to them to provide information on how to replicate it. I know that there are a lot of lawsuits out there that are rediculous, but I was actually affected by this. I'm actually a software engineer & do know how to use my iPhone well, debug such situations, etc. I also follow my data usage to ensure that I don't go over. This was a situation that was truely out of my hands. The iPhone would display the wifi symbol & use data like it was on wifi, but it was switching to cellular when the screen was off, but still using data like it was on wifi. I'm not part of this lawsuit & I still own iPhones. Just saying that this was a real issue.
    " This was a situation that was truely out of my hands. "  Not exactly: go into settings: cellular, and turn OFF "cellular data". That eliminates that entirely. Probably best to turn off "data roaming" as well.

    "burned through $600 of excess data in a couple of hours" Now THAT I find incredible.
    edited December 2015 djkfisherjbdragon
  • Reply 13 of 16
    dysamoriadysamoria Posts: 1,739member
    "Following the lawsuit's logic, iOS 5 should be considered delayed, not rushed."

    Don't you mean iOS 6?

    Presuming you're confused in your versions, it seems that, in order to invalidate their case, you suggest that the speeding-up of development (and increase in bugs) is a baseline or norm to model all development, because that's how it is today, post iOS 6... when the lawsuit is about iOS 6 and its development in comparison to what came before it.

    That's a stretch, AI.

    Edit: Also unimpressed at how you throw the usual "you don't understand computers" commentary into it in order to discredit the people bringing on the lawsuit. You give no justification for making that statement. It comes off as ad hominem and special pleading. Both are bad argumentation.

    edit 2: this commenting feature breaks autocorrect at the first word of each new line (press return, new line gets no automatic capital and no autocorrection). iPhone 6s, iOS 9.2. Just like Apple's discussion forum has been with iOS since iOS 6.x.

    thievod ab example. <- example. 

    I csnt ant wait for someone to tell me "you're doing it wrong". 
    edited December 2015
  • Reply 14 of 16
    freerangefreerange Posts: 1,581member
    "A group of disgruntled iPhone owners filed a lawsuit..." AI please get your facts right - "a group of scumbag, money grabbing lawyers recruited for plaintiffs, any plaintiffs, then filed a lawsuit that will only line the lawyers pockets while giving pennies to the alleged victims..."
    applepieguyjbdragon
  • Reply 15 of 16
    Anecdotal I know, but I had an iPhone 5 with iOS 6 and never had this issue. Never did anything special like turning cellular data off or roaming off either.  I had a fairly low data plan as well so it would have been easy for me to go over my data cap.
    jbdragon
  • Reply 16 of 16
    More validation of why most people think dead lawyer jokes shouldn't be jokes/fiction.When the revolution comes, they will be the first group to be eliminated.
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