Apple is currently facing upwards of 61 class action lawsuits surrounding allegations (and the company’s own admission) that it willfully throttled the performance of certain older iPhone models in order to prevent those devices from “unexpectedly shutting down.”
While the majority of those cases were filed by disgruntled iPhone users in the Northern District of California — near Apple’s Cupertino headquarters — others were subsequently filed in various jurisdictions across the country.
Now, according to a declaration made public this week by the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation, all 61 of Apple’s battery slowdown lawsuits have been transferred to the same Northern District of California court where the original class action suit was filed back in December of 2017.
The Honorable Judge Edward J. Davila has been assigned to oversee the consolidated pretrial proceedings, according to the agency’s official announcement, which is also available via PDF.
“These actions share factual questions arising from allegations that Apple included code in updates to its mobile operating system (iOS) that significantly reduced the performance of older-model iPhones,” the agency said in its official statement, adding that “Plaintiffs also allege that Apple misrepresented the nature of the iOS updates and failed to adequately disclose to iPhone owners the impact the iOS updates would have on the performance of their iPhones.”
“Discovery regarding the engineering of the iPhone and the iOS updates likely will be technical and complex. Plaintiffs assert similar causes of action for false advertising, alleged unfair business practices, trespass to chattels, breach of contract, and unjust enrichment. Moreover, plaintiffs bring these actions on behalf of overlapping putative classes of iPhone owners.”
We’ve reported on these lawsuits extensively as they’ve sprouted up in various parts of the country. The first case was filed back in December 2017 with the same Northern District of CA court where they’ve since been centralized.
While the iOS 10.2.1 software update inherently brought about these system changes in the first place, Apple failed to mention them at the time the update was released. Moreover, in a statement issued less than a month later, the company acknowledged only “vague improvements” which may result in a reduction in unexpected shutdowns for some users.
Shortly thereafter, however, Primate Labs founder Johnathan Poole conducted his own independent testing which revealed that some iPhone 6s and iPhone 7 devices exhibited signs of weakened performance beginning with the iOS 10.2.1 and iOS 11.2 software updates — news that prompted Apple to reveal the true nature of these “improvements” and also issue a public apology for its lack of communication.
Since then, Apple has not only announced a new $29 battery replacement program for iPhone 6 devices or newer — effective through the end of 2018 — but the company last week released its anticipated iOS 11.3 software update, which includes new battery health and features designed to give users deeper insight into their iPhone’s battery status and performance.
Adding insult to injury, Apple has also faced a barrage of questions from some of the world’s leading governments — including here in the U.S., Canada, France, South Korea, and more — in addition to backlash from some leading consumer protection groups.