Apple has agreed to pay $750 million to settle a class action lawsuit that alleged the tech giant was secretly slowing down old iPhones to compel users to buy newer models.
Owners of the eligible iPhone models in the US will now be able to claim about $US25 ($38) each as part of the class action.
Unfortunately, Australian iPhone users will not be eligible to receive any money as part of the class action lawsuit win.
A similar lawsuit would have to be successfully conducted in Australia for this to happen.
Earlier this week Apple settled the case, agreeing to pay between $US310 million and $US500 million for its practice of “throttling” older iPhones without telling the users.
The case dates back to 2016 when owners of iPhone 6 devices began noticing that their phones were turning off despite appearing to have lots of battery life left.
Apple quickly offered to provide free batteries to the impacted users, but it was soon revealed that more devices and models were experiencing similar issues.
By the end of 2017 Apple had admitted that a software update for these iPhones had aimed to level out that degradation that batteries experience over time by “throttling” the phones’ performance.
Apple offered to replace the phones’ batteries for the lower price of $29, but this did little to placate angry users.
Apple CEO Tim Cook said this was with an aim of lessening performance in an effort to reduce the risk of the phones experiencing an “unexpected restart”.
“We deeply apologise for anybody that thinks we had some other kind of motivation,” Cook said on US TV in early 2018.
“The user is at the centre of everything we do. We felt it would be better to take something off the performance to prevent that from happening. Our actions were all in the service of the user - I can’t stress that enough.”
The company said that it “dynamically manages” iPhone batteries when they get older so the phone can continue to function.
But the company soon faced accusations that it was deliberately slowing down its older phones in an attempt to force users to purchase newer, more expensive models.
The class action lawsuit in the US revolved around claims users were never told their phone would have its battery life reduced by downloading the software update.
The case covers iPhone models 6, 6 Plus, 6s Plus, 7 Plus and SE that installed software updates before 21 December 2017.
Named plaintiffs in the case will be receiving $US1500, while those who gave evidence will be getting $US3500.
Other owners of the eligible phones in the US will receive about $US25, depending on how many other people make claims.
Lawyers for the consumers, who will be asking for $US93 million in legal fees, said the result was “fair, reasonable and adequate”.
Australian law firm Bannister Law is looking at potentially launching a similar class action in Australia, 9News reported.
“We are investigating if there is a case to answer,” Bannister Law principal Charles Bannister said.
“Consumers may not be aware or may not have agreed to purchase a phone that may slow down or not perform how it should after updating the software.
“We have spoken with consumers who have updated their iPhone software and experienced issues with phone usage,” Bannister said.
Earlier this year Apple was fined $41 million in France over the same practice of slowing down iPhones without telling the users.
The company agreed to pay the sum for “deceptive marketing practice” to the French Directorate General for Competition, Consumption and the Suppression of Fraud.
In late 2018 Apple confirmed it was continuing the practice, but telling users about it this time. For the iPhone 8, 8 Plus and X models, the company said users are able to use a “more advanced performance management system that more precisely allows iOS to anticipate and avoid an unexpected shutdown”.