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Apple to pay up to $500 million in battery slowdown settlement: Are you eligible to claim, and how?

Apple to pay up to $500 million in battery slowdown settlement: Are you eligible to claim, and how?
(Image credit: Getty)

Apple has agreed to pay out a maximum of $500 million as part of a class action lawsuit over its iPhone batteries. Qualifying customers could get a payout of $25 per eligible iPhone, after Apple admitted to throttling the batteries of older phones in its 10.2.1 and 11.2 iOS software updates.

Owners of eligible iPhones can claim via this form for their part of the $500 million settlement. Although the payout amount is estimated to around $25, this number could drop if the number of claims exceeds the maximum $500 million payout. We'd be surprised if that were to happen, though, as it would require over 20 million claims. 

Can you claim, and how?

There are a few prerequisites to claiming in the throttling lawsuit. For example, you must be a U.S. user. The model must be an iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6s, 6s Plus, and/or SE device that ran iOS 10.2.1 or later before December 21, 2017, and/or an iPhone 7 or 7 Plus device that ran iOS 11.2 or later before December 21, 2017.

To claim, you need to go to smartphoneperformancesettlement.com. Here, you can find a form where you'll need to enter the Serial Number of your iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6s, 6s Plus, SE, 7 or 7 Plus. This can be found in your iPhone settings. If you no longer have the iPhone, check the barcode on the original packaging or search for a receipt or invoice. 

If you can't access the Serial Number you can still search for this information using the form by filling out some details such as your Apple ID and address. 

The deadline is October 6, meaning you have a few months to claim. A final hearing will be held December 4 to approve the settlement, after which point (if there's no appeal) you can expect to receive your settlement "promptly". 

The 'throttling' scandal

The batteries of even the best smartphones and best tablets will inevitably diminish over time, but the 2017 throttling scandal led many to believe that Apple was deliberately limiting iPhone performance in order to make people switch to newer iPhone models or pay for replacement batteries. There was also a lack of transparency, because iPhone users were not warned that the update would slow down their batteries before installing it (and let's be honest, when would we ever knowingly slow down our phone batteries?). According to Apple though, the 10.2.1 and 11.2 iOS software updates were designed to prolong the life of batteries and prevent unexpected shutdowns. 

On the Apple website, the tech giant also listed full effects and explained the reasoning for slowing down older iPhones. These include:

  • Longer app launch times
  • Lower frame rates while scrolling
  • Backlight dimming
  • Lower speaker volume
  • Gradual frame rate reductions in some apps
  • Apps refreshing in background may require reloading upon launch