Lawsuit seeks more than $5M from Apple for slowing older iPhones with iOS 9 upgrade

Posted:
in General Discussion edited December 2015
A class action lawsuit lodged with a New York district court on Tuesday dredges up claims that Apple engages in planned obsolescence, saying the company knew of potential compatibility issues when it foisted its latest iOS 9 software update on iPhone 4s owners.




Plaintiff Chaim Lerman asserts Apple engaged in deceptive trade practices and false advertisement by touting iOS 9 as compatible with legacy handsets dating back to iPhone 4s models. In actuality, the complaint reads, iOS 9 significantly interferes with iPhone 4s performance, and because Apple security protocols prevent users from downgrading, owners were forced to choose between an inoperable device or spending hundreds of dollars on a new version.

The class, which includes more than 100 members, asserts iOS 9 bogged down their iPhone 4s devices to the point of being unfit for daily use. After upgrading, both first- and third-party apps exhibited delayed launch times, slow response to touchscreen input and other problems. Overall performance became sluggish, while some users, including Lerman, reported freezes and crash events.

The lawsuit goes on to claim that Apple, through "internal testing and/or through other means," was well aware of iOS 9's negative impact on iPhone 4s functionality. Despite this knowledge, the company went through with a broad marketing campaign advertising faster performance, enhanced security, longer battery life and other enticing features. Further, the company's ads, website and iOS update page fail to warn owners of older hardware, specifically iPhone 4s devices, of potential compatibility issues.

The complaint goes after Apple's iOS ecosystem itself, saying users are more likely to buy a newer device than switch away to a competing platform because of non-transferrable investments like apps. It is also argued that Apple stands to profit from new cellular carrier contract agreements, but those claims were not fully fleshed out.

Plaintiffs are seeking over $5 million in damages with an option to treble.

As with every annual iOS update, iOS 9 was designed to take full advantage of Apple's latest hardware, in this case iPhone 6s. Aside from iPhone 6s-specific features like 3D Touch, iOS 9 is built to push Apple's class-leading A9 system-on-chip, a much more capable version of its 32-bit, dual-core A5 ancestor found in iPhone 4s.

While legacy handsets are technically compatible with iOS 9, older hardware is simply incapable of performing on a par with iPhone 6s. By definition, next-generation software is limited in its support of last-generation hardware. The case, then, in part argues Apple has a responsibility to protect consumers who are unfamiliar with rapidly evolving computer technology, or by extension consumer markets.

Apple faced similar accusations in 2011 from plaintiffs in a class action complaint who claimed iOS 4 turned their iPhone 3G into "iBricks." The case was tossed a year later, though the topic of planned obsolescence continues to crop up with nearly every significant Apple release.

New York District Court Judge Sterling Johnson, Jr. is presiding over the case. No hearings have been set at this time.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 91
    1. You weren’t forced to update.

    2. Old hardware can’t run new software as fast as new hardware can.

    3. These people should be individually fined the full price of their phones for being this stupid.
    thewhitefalconjustadcomicsrogifan_oldtdknoxbrometheusdbbcSpamSandwichmwhitepmzicoco3
  • Reply 2 of 91
    1. You weren’t forced to update.

    2. Old hardware can’t run new software as fast as new hardware can.

    3. These people should be individually fined the full price of their phones for being this stupid.
    Or Apple should just allow people to revert to earlier iOS versions.

    Make it something where you have to click 6 "I'm sure" buttons, but make it possible.

    I could be destructive and reset the entire phone - might even lose contacts in the cloud or backups, but just let it happen. If they click "I'm sure" 6 times then let them revert.

    crowleybradipaoargonauticoco3lymf
  • Reply 3 of 91
    crowleycrowley Posts: 6,065member
    tomhayes said:

    Apple should just allow people to revert to earlier iOS versions.
    This.
    lord amhranfreshmakerbradipaoargonautjahbladeicoco3
  • Reply 4 of 91
    Perhaps the bozo squad should have bought an Anderoid device from 2011. 

    Oh wait, none of those are still getting updated. Assuming they ever got an update. 
    cornchipdrunkzombiechialkruppSpamSandwichwilliamlondonargonautredgeminipajahblade
  • Reply 5 of 91
    tomhayes said:
    1. You weren’t forced to update.

    2. Old hardware can’t run new software as fast as new hardware can.

    3. These people should be individually fined the full price of their phones for being this stupid.
    Or Apple should just allow people to revert to earlier iOS versions.

    Make it something where you have to click 6 "I'm sure" buttons, but make it possible.

    I could be destructive and reset the entire phone - might even lose contacts in the cloud or backups, but just let it happen. If they click "I'm sure" 6 times then let them revert.

    Who wants to go back to iOS 8? That was some of Apple's worst coding of all time. Even Copland wasn't that bad. 
  • Reply 6 of 91
    snovasnova Posts: 1,281member
    crowley said:
    tomhayes said:

    Apple should just allow people to revert to earlier iOS versions.
    This.
    This +1
  • Reply 7 of 91
    tomhayes said:
    Or Apple should just allow people to revert to earlier iOS versions.

    Make it something where you have to click 6 "I'm sure" buttons, but make it possible.

    I could be destructive and reset the entire phone - might even lose contacts in the cloud or backups, but just let it happen. If they click "I'm sure" 6 times then let them revert.

    Who wants to go back to iOS 8? That was some of Apple's worst coding of all time. Even Copland wasn't that bad. 
    Dumbest hyperbolic comment on this site, and that's hard to do.
    bb-15
  • Reply 8 of 91
    snovasnova Posts: 1,281member
    Its gotten quite bad now.. If only I would have known that they were going to bug me every single day to upgrade to latest iOS 9 update, then I would not have upgraded from iOS 8.  Very annoying. No way to turn it off as far as I can tell.  If iOS 10 comes out with this nagware, I won't upgrade. I am sick of the nagging and hopefully it will stop when they stop updating iOS 9. 
    edited December 2015
  • Reply 9 of 91
    snova said:
    Its gotten quite bad now.. If only I would have known that they were going to bug me every single day to upgrade to latest iOS 9 update, then I would not have upgraded from iOS 8.  Very annoying. No way to turn it off as far as I can tell.  If iOS 10 comes out with this nagware, I won't upgrade. I am sick of the nagging and hopefully it will stop when they stop updating iOS 9. 
    If you're a 4S owner, no need to worry, you won't be getting iOS 10.
    cornchiptallest skilSpamSandwichredgeminipajahbladeicoco3
  • Reply 10 of 91
    Following this line of thought would make sense sue Samsung for failing to release Android updates. Or, maybe they should sue Google for failing to ensure that all smartphone makers are able to update Android in every device released.
    williamlondonargonautredgeminipaicoco3jddc
  • Reply 11 of 91
    jdwjdw Posts: 804member
    I remember watching a guy Kawasaki speech once where he mentioned having to buy a new Mac about once every year because he personally felt it was slowing down and time to get a new one. He wasn't saying anything negative about the Mac, of course. He said it as an observation of fact, for him. I myself have been a Mac user since my 128K in 1984. I don't feel my experience has been quite as bad as Mr. Kawasaki's has apparently been, but I will agree that if you continue to update MacOS year by year, at some point your Mac will begin to feel slower and slower. And after about six years of doing that, performance can become quite painful. But the pain comes more swiftly and is perhaps more pronounced in the iOS world. I purchased my iPad 3 in 2012. Performance and responsiveness were acceptable through iOS 6. But from iOS 7, I began to experience lags and other performance slowdowns that were not resolved in iOS 8 or in iOS 9. In fact, iOS 8 and iOS 9 made performance slightly worse, despite the advertising. Unsurprisingly, I read similar experiences from others over and over again in the media.

    It's a fact that Apple wants us to upgrade all of our Apple hardware as often as possible. But whether that translates into them willfully slowing down our devices or their simply not spending enough time to optimize their operating systems for "slightly older devices" is something that no one can definitively prove, except for genuine "Apple insiders." Maybe they can make performance better on slightly older devices (within the past 3 years or so) but choose not to because they feel it would be a waste of ther time. "Apple is never wrong" defenders would say "that's their right as a business" and "they have no ill intent," while folks at the opposite extreme sue Cupertno, claiming Apple is willfully defrauding people. The truth probably lies in between -- willful ignorance and apathy toward what Apple deems "aging hardware."

    There many times I wish I had never upgraded my iPad3 past iOS 6. But the fact is that a lot of new apps require a minimum of iOS 7 to run. So either I have to, as a family man, take my family resources and buy a new iPad, or I avoid using a large number of apps which require iOS 7 or higher. I bought my daughter a refurbished iPod touch for Christmas last year that can only run up to iOS 6, and over the past year she has complained to me that she cannot install a lot of apps on it because she gets a message saying they require iOS 7 or higher. One could effectively argue that is not the responsibility of Apple, but it is a severe limitation and eye-opening reality to the end-user.

    I personally feel that we ought to be able to keep the latest iOS on our Apple devices for at least three years after purchase without performance being noticeably degraded. This is something that I personally would like Apple to work very hard to guarantee.

    Regardless, I am against lawsuits in pretty much any situation. I don't care if one has been defrauded and done wrong. Our litigious society has set me against most lawsuits of any kind, especially lawsuits against Apple which are, by far, more frivolous than others I've seen. It's time we turn the other cheek, and yes, that applies to corporations as well as individuals. America sues way too much. It's time to stop.
    edited December 2015 ZooMigo
  • Reply 12 of 91
    jdw said:
    But whether that translates into them willfully slowing down our devices or their simply not spending enough time to optimize their operating systems for "slightly older devices" is something that no one can definitively prove, except for genuine "Apple insiders.”
    Hey, @mdriftmeyer ! Do you remember being told to code in anything like, say, a timer to count down to the next hardware update, which would then inject a “lag time” into processes that was an ever growing number of milliseconds?  :p
  • Reply 13 of 91
    On a semi-related note, El Capitan is noticeably smoother than Yosemite on my 2011 MBP when it comes to graphic-intense things like activating Mission Control on my 30" Cinema Display and built-in screen with a dozen windows open. That used to look like a slide show, but is now smooth as butter — not bad for a machine pushing 5 years old now, probably thanks to Metal. Just saying. :)
    argonautredgeminipabb-15
  • Reply 14 of 91
    This is anecdotal but in my house there are three 4s that work just as they did with iOS 8. That's not to say that they work perfectly, we all know that, but this people are so wrong it's not even funny. 

    Just buy a new phone if your four-going-on-five-year-old phone with a FREE update doesn't work. 
    Prof_Peabodytdknoxargonautredgeminipalatifbpbb-15
  • Reply 15 of 91
    tomhayes said:
    1. You weren’t forced to update.

    2. Old hardware can’t run new software as fast as new hardware can.

    3. These people should be individually fined the full price of their phones for being this stupid.
    Or Apple should just allow people to revert to earlier iOS versions.

    Make it something where you have to click 6 "I'm sure" buttons, but make it possible.

    I could be destructive and reset the entire phone - might even lose contacts in the cloud or backups, but just let it happen. If they click "I'm sure" 6 times then let them revert.

    No, no no. Apple needs to ensure the software for a supported older device works well enough. I have a hard time believing iOS 9 performs worse than iOS 8 did so were these people coming from iOS 6 or 7?
    ajl
  • Reply 16 of 91
    Apple needs to ensure the software for a supported older device works well enough. I have a hard time believing iOS 9 performs worse than iOS 8 did so were these people coming from iOS 6 or 7?
    "Well enough" is too subjective.

    If I have a iPhone 4 and am on iOS 7, then upgrade to iOS 9 and *I* think i's much slower, or I just don't like it, why can't I revert to iOS 7?

    Apple has it's reasons for not letting you revert - but there is a clash between what a reasonable consumer might want to do and what Apple wants to do.

    All Apple has to do is distribute the software and sign the damn thing. You could have reverted from iOS9 to iOS8 in the first few days that iOS 8 was out. Apple choose to stop that for "reasons."

     Just let people revert any version of iOS that was out when that phone model was released. Add all kinds of "are you sures" and "don't do its" -- but let me do it.

    (Waiting for obtuse response about jail-breaking and piracy from someone now.)
    ZooMigo
  • Reply 17 of 91
    focherfocher Posts: 645member
    I might join this lawsuit. I couldn't even get iOS 9 installed on my 3GS.
    freshmakerdickprinterargonautredgeminipaicoco3
  • Reply 18 of 91
    honestly this is like the fifth time this has happened. I really don't see why Apple keeps pushing software that far back. Just release it for the new hardware and 2-3 back and screw folks that are mad that they aren't getting the latest tricks. They can get them when they update their hardware. Course that would probably get them sued as well
    ZooMigobb-15
  • Reply 19 of 91
    It seems like most of their arguments are basically conspiratorial in nature.  That is, they require Apple to be a sort of underhanded "evil" corporation to be true and repeat conspiracy theory nonsense about Apple's purported intentions and aims.  

    It's a shame because the central complaint about the 4s might actually have some merit, but no one is going to listen to them with all that other nonsense they are spouting about planned obsolescence etc. which is almost certainly unprovable (even if you believe it).  The fact that the lawyer(s) allowed that shit into the complaint is probably an indication that they are just literally writing down whatever the complainants are asking them to and that the whole thing lacks basic reason or sense.  

    Emotionally driven complaints like this hardly ever succeed. 
    williamlondonredgeminipaicoco3
  • Reply 20 of 91
    Microsoft has been guilty of this for decades on the PC. Until recently new versions of Windows almost always needed new hardware to run properly. Is it frustrating? Yeah probably. But it is not the cause of financial damages.
    pmz
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