Apple Can’t Throw Out iPhone ‘Batterygate’ Suit, UK Courts Say

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Apple’s request to throw out a mass lawsuit over the accusation that the company used subpar iPhone batteries was rejected by a UK judge Wednesday. The lawsuit claims Apple used updates to slow down the functionality of the iPhone operating systems to hide the defective batteries.

Apple says the lawsuit is “baseless” and holds no merit, claiming that in contrast to the allegations that millions of iPhones were affected, only a small number of iPhone 6 models had defective batteries. The company says it offered free battery replacements for affected iPhone 6 models.

The UK Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) said the lawsuit can proceed but there is a “lack of clarity and specificity” in the lawsuit that needs to be resolved before the case goes to trial, according to the court filing posted on Wednesday.

The lawsuit was filed last year on behalf of 24 million iPhone users, claiming Apple installed faulty batteries in the iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6S, 6S Plus, SE, 7, and 7 Plus. It also claims that Apple’s software updates were designed to hide the insufficient batteries and “throttled” iPhones. It’s alleged that Apple allegedly misled consumers by not providing them with the supposed quality product they paid for and could result in damages of up to $2 billion.

An Apple spokesperson reiterated in a statement to Reuters that the lawsuit’s claims are untrue.

“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,” the spokesperson said.

The Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission issued a probe in 2018 following reports that Apple was throttling older phones with unnecessary updates. At the time, Apple dropped the price of battery replacements for the iPhone 6, 6s, and 6s Plus from $79 to $29 and said it would never intentionally hinder an iPhone from working as it should.

The UK lawsuit comes after Apple agreed to pay a $500 million settlement in the U.S. over claims that it intentionally slowed down older iPhones. Consumers with affected iPhone 6, 7, and SE models started receiving payments in August.

Apple did not immediately respond to Gizmodo’s request for comment.

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