One iPhone slowdown lawsuit is seeking a wild $999 billion

iPhone or iPad keeps shutting off? Here's how to fix it!
iPhone or iPad keeps shutting off? Here's how to fix it! (Image credit: iMore)

After Apple admitted to slowing down iPhone CPUs earlier this month, as many as eight class action lawsuits claiming that the company has robbed plaintiffs of the functionality and value of their devices have been filed. However, according to a report by Patently Apple, one is seeking a payout a bit larger than the rest — $999 billion, to be exact.

The lawsuit (opens in new tab), filed by Violetta Mailyan in the Central District of California, alleges the following:

Each member of the Class had to buy a newer iPhone model because the performance of their older iPhone model had slowed down as a result of Defendant's purposeful conduct. Each member of Class was denied the use, utility and value of the older iPhone model because of the slowdown of performance.

The filed complaint goes on to say that the iPhone slowdowns are unlawful due to the fact that Apple intentionally deceived users, failing to disclose both the fact that the slowdowns were happening at all and that slowed performance could be remedied more cheaply by purchasing a new battery (rather than splurging on a a whole new phone). What's more, there was no way that users could discover this information with any real certainty on their own.

If Defendant disclosed that it would purposefully slow down the performance of older iPhone models Plaintiff and Class would not buy these iPhone models. Further, if Defendant disclosed that the slow performance of older iPhone models could be remedied by purchasing a new battery, Plaintiff and similarly situated Class members would buy a new battery instead of buying a newer iPhone model.

Apple copped to slowing down older iPhone models with worn-out lithium-ion batteries to prevent unexpected shutdowns in a statement to TechCrunch, after Reddit user TeckFire noticed that their iPhone was running noticeably faster post-battery replacement.

Though the consensus among iPhone owners is obviously that Apple should have been clear about the intentional slowdowns (and perhaps should have offered users the option to choose performance over battery life), $999 billion seems like a payout of cartoonish proportions for any lawsuit, let alone one regarding smartphone function.

Thoughts?

Do you feel that asking Apple for $999 billion is ridiculous, or do you feel the price fits the offense? Share your opinion with us in the comments.

Updated December 26, 2017: This article has been updated to include a link to the court document obtained by Patently Apple revealing the $999 billion lawsuit.

Tory Foulk

Tory Foulk is a writer at Mobile Nations. She lives at the intersection of technology and sorcery and enjoys radio, bees, and houses in small towns. When she isn't working on articles, you'll likely find her listening to her favorite podcasts in a carefully curated blanket nest. You can follow her on Twitter at @tsfoulk.

20 Comments
  • Well no...but apple would sue someone for 999 billion because they make a rectangular phone with rounded edges...So I guess turn around is fair play? how do Canadians get in on the class action?
  • You will be sorely disappointed. These lawsuits will go one for years behind the scenes. If there’s a settlement you will get a $10 iTunes coupon and the lawyers will get millions, pocket change for Apple. In my opinion these lawsuits are without merit and will be either dismissed or settled for a couple of million for the lawyers.
  • They didn't have to buy a new one. They could have you know just stuck with it, or maybe just get the battery replaced.
  • "They didn't have to buy a new one. They could have you know just stuck with it, or maybe just get the battery replaced." They could, yes, had they known the battery replacement did something good -- a fact which Apple deliberately chose not to disclose, in order to goad people to rather buy a new phone. Obviously. Why else would they have done so? A 1000 USD phone is a better sale than a 79 USD battery. And they though they would get away with it -- and did, for a good while. Moreover, the throttled iPhone 6 is so slow that it is rendered quite unusable. It is not merely "a little bit slower", but stutters and bogs down like nothing you have seen. This is Apple's polite way of saying you need to buy a new one, since you have not figured out that need yet for yourself. They lend a helping hand, so to say.
  • Yep, the battery is toast in my ipad 2, it's pretty well unusable now. A new battery is going in it soon and i bet it will speed right up!
  • Considering that comes out to about $3,000 for every man, woman and child in the US, yea a bit over-reaching. (probably closer to $1500, the lawyers need their cut) I do think people have a valid complaint, if replacing the battery really does make a big difference and that option was intentionally withheld. I still have a 6s that runs acceptably. I doi upgrade to a X, but not because the 6s was unusable.
  • My 3 6s's run fine too....but I am sorry to hear about your downgrade. Hope you kept your 6s..ha ha!
  • This complaint is so valid. The amount is not. But Apple is in the midst of some shady doings here and need to be taught a lesson.
  • Queue Dr. Evil pinky raise
  • $999bn is all kinds of absurd. But Apple absolutely need to be taken to task for this. Their initial clandestinity is bad enough, but their response is supercilious and condescending. They don't get to take their customers for chumps. Nope.
  • This lawsuit should be thrown out for its sheer stupidity.
    Just doing a few very simple calculations and assuming that the average selling price of iPhones affected stands at a rate very generous $700, then this lawsuit alleges that 1.4 billion customers may have been touched by this throttling.
    Were there really that many people on earth at any given time, using iPhones?
  • You can't start low, you have to start high. Plus, 14 billion upgrades would be a more accurate statement. 7.5 billion people on earth. 1/2 have smartphones. 1/4 of the 7.5 use iPhones, again being generous. If they replaced them 8 times, there's your 14 billion. That's not counting frustration and time wasted on an option that should've been opt-in.
  • I am sure it will. The judge will go, what is this ****....and say get outta my courtroom!
  • Echoing most of the other comments - the amount asked for is a tad high, but Apple do deserve a reprimand here. They've grown extremely arrogant in recent times and need to be knocked down a few pegs.
  • I don't know where you see arrogance in this. Judging from recent history one can say that they may have lost touch or overlooked certain aspects of their business, communication being one of them.
  • “Fool me once.........” Shame on Apple for not being honest, and straight with the issue. It is not the first time, and will not be the last. Apple customers are loyal. Apple should honor that loyalty. Too much in damages? May be, but Apple needs a lesson. Will they learn from it remains to be seen.
  • I have experienced slowdowns on my iPhones - usually when a new model was launched. I and many other people reported it in here just for Rene Ritchie to dismiss us as deluded people. Thank goodness it is not for Tory Foulk to decide whether or not $999 billion is a ludicrous sum...
  • New models are launched at the same time that a new version of iOS is released with new features. New features means more demand on the CPU and the battery. If you don't update you will not see a difference. This is not an evil plan, this is just the way things work for all devices of all kinds, not just Apple's.
    Most Android devices never get an update and those who do are supported for only a few years after they are sold. The iPhone 5s is still getting updates now 4 years later.
  • For my part I don't see any reason to blame Apple for this. I use a 4 year old device and still get the latest features that my hardware will allow. Getting new updates every year for free for so many years is unique to the iPhone. If your iPhone slows down after an update it is mostly because you're asking more from it by using new features that were not available before. And it's not only iOS, it is all these apps that are updated to take advantage of new software capabilities.
    What Apple admitted is that the functionality is there to slow down some phones under very specific circumstances. Nobody knows how many devices were actually slowed down and by how much they were slowed down. There is even a pop up message displayed on the screen when that happens and it seems only a few people ever saw it. I've never seen it myself.
    The functionality is there to protect older batteries and conserve energy so your phone can last through the day. Personally I prefer a slower phone that lasts through the day than a top speeder that is dead by midday.
    Batteries lose peak power and capacity as time goes. More demanding features make your iPhone slow down. No surprise here.
  • Damages like this are to keep deceptive companies from being deceptive. Apple was deceptive, hope they get it.