Apple lost its bid to block a 1.6 billion pound ($1.9 billion) lawsuit accusing the company of hiding defective batteries in millions of iPhones in the United Kingdom. British consumer champion Justin Gutmann is seeking damages on behalf 24 million iPhone users, Reuters reported earlier.
The suit alleges that Apple hid the battery issues by “throttling” users with software updates.
“[B]y issuing software updates, persuaded users to alter their phones to fix a defect in a way which has left the consumer with a substandard phone,” the court documents.
Apple called the accusations “baseless,” according to the report, and said only a small number of iPhone 6S models had issues, which the tech giant offered the impacted users free battery replacements.
“We have never – and would never – do anything to intentionally shorten the life of any Apple product, or degrade the user experience to drive customer upgrades,” an Apple spokesperson told Reuters, citing an earlier statement.
The lawsuit was originally filed in 2022 and referred to a power management tool introduced through a 2017 iOS update. The fix was reportedly aimed at fixing performance issues and preventing older devices from shutting down. Gutmann said information about the tool wasn’t included in the update’s description meaning users didn’t know it would slow down their device.
Prior to Gutmann’s lawsuit, Apple settled a similar situation — coined “batterygate” — for $113 million in the U.S.. Millions of iPhone users in 33 states said Apple slowed down iPhone 6, 7, and SE models in 2016 to drive users to buy new phones.
It remains to be seen how the lawsuit in the United Kingdom will resolve.
Apple wasn’t immediately available for further comment.