iPhone storage lawsuit against Apple is beyond frivolous

“On Wednesday, Apple’s stock fell 1.9%, after it was revealed that a class action lawsuit was filed against Apple, alleging the company misled consumers about the amount of usable storage capacity its devices have, and failed to sufficiently disclose that the free iOS 8 would affect the amount of usable storage on its devices,” Forward Looking Guru writes for Seeking Aplha.

“It is a bit ironic this lawsuit is being filed against Apple, since the amount of usable storage on a 16GB iPhone, approximately 13GB, is significantly higher than most, if not all of Apple’s competitors’ 16GB smartphones. Samsung’s 16GB Galaxy S5, by comparison, only has 10.7 GB of usable storage,” FLG writes. “The following chart gives you an idea of how the amount of usable storage on an iPhone compares to Apple’s competitors.”

smartphone storage space

“Furthermore, according to data from Microsoft’s website, the Surface Tablet, a device Microsoft is heavily advertising, uses an operating system that takes up almost 30 GB, nearly 40% of the “usable storage” on the 64GB model of the device, significantly below the 57GB of usable storage on the 64GB iPad,” FLG writes. “Investors should not pay much attention to any lawsuits alleging Apple acted in “bad faith” when advertising the storage capacity of its devices. Although it’s possible Apple will be found to have not adequately disclosed the storage capacity of its devices, I am convinced this will not be a strong negative for Apple, since Apple, at worst, would be guilty of not providing full disclosure in big bold letters on its packaging about how updates to the operating system affect storage capacity. Apple’s website clearly states the usable storage capacity of Apple devices after being formatted will be less than the stated capacity.”

Read more in the full article here.

“Google’s sloppy Android OS turned back the technology clock on mobile devices, reintroducing many of the mistakes Microsoft had made in the 1990s. That’s why Android is a unmitigated security disaster and why Android devices waste so much storage, even if nobody is actually suing any of those who profited from those bad decisions,” Daniel Eran Dilger writes for AppleInsider. “However, it’s not just Google that had attempted to keep the world’s users stuck in the storage bloated, insecure world of poorly thought out PC engineering. Microsoft’s response to the iPad, launched in 2012 under the Surface brand, similarly shoehorned bloated 1990s PC ideas into an iPad-like form factor.”

iPhone and iPad storage

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote last Wednesday:

From Apple’s iPhone webpage, verbatim: “Actual formatted capacity less.”

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “mpias3785” and “Carl H.” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
Apple sued for ‘deceiving’ people about iPhone, iPad storage – January 2, 2015
Apple hit with class action lawsuit over storage consumed by iOS 8 – December 31, 2014


  1. I have to say, yet another outlet reproducing that blatantly incorrect graphic from Which magazine. The iPhone 5c only comes with 8 GB. So if they got something that simple wrong, how can anyone trust the rest?

      1. It’s been 8 GB only since March. So the above graphic can’t be about iOS 8. Yet iOS uses more space than iOS 7, which, actually, is one element that’s criticized in this lawsuit.

        1. You must be an android user that never gets free OS upgrades. Just because a product shipped with iOS7, doesn’t mean it wasn’t upgraded (for free) to iOS8. I would imagine that is what happened to make the comparison.

        2. kirkmc is mildly confused, apparently.

          That, or I don’t actually have a 16GB 5c running iOS 8.

          Nope, that’s what it is.

          Maybe he figures that when a new model is introduced, or there’s a change in configurations offered, existing devices evaporate. Or something.

          1. You are both correct. Your’s was bought before Apple cut the storage amount in the latest version of the iPhone 5C to make it the low-end marketing teaser. You bought it when Apple was configuring it with 16GB, now new buyers of the iPhone 5C only can buy it with 8GBs. . . too bad.

      1. There may still be companies selling it with more than 8 GB, but, if you notice, that page says that it comes with iOS 7; so these are devices that were manufactured before March. Apple only sells it with 8 GB.

    1. Currently, Kirkmc is correct. However, for over a year, the 5C was sold with 16GB of storage. Now it is the low end iPhone and only comes with a minimal 8GB. The chart, however, was working with iOS 7 and the phones at that time. iOS 8 is a bit larger for some devices but that is because there is more functionality for those devices. The OS itself is 1.1GB to 1.4GB depending on the device. The rest of the space is used by Apps Apple includes with the distribution which benefit the user. Some have more apps because they have more hardware. . . for example, iPads that have GPS and cellular abilities, which the WIFI only devices don’t have, have a larger install because of the software needed for that hardware, both in the OS and the apps for that hardware. Larger screen acreage requires OS space to be set aside for each app that will use it in the background. . . all of this takes away from available “user space” but in reality it is all “user space” because it is for the benefit of the user.

  2. As I posted on SA, all computers come with storage and once you add an operating system you have less storage available. This is common knowledge and goes back to the early days of floppy drives.

    It’s no wonder that you see the saying “these days common sense should be considered a super power” on T-shirts, bumper stickers and as taglines. Sometimes it seems that people are just getting more stupid as the years tick by.

    1. It’s common knowledge for people familiar with computers. Such people are a minority, especially now with so many people using mobile devices. I personally know quite a few people who are clueless about the storage issues, and get flustered when their devices become full and don’t know why. It’s very different from desktop computers, where the OS takes up a small percentage of the storage. On a new iMac with a 256 GB SSD, the OS takes up about 8 GB, or 3%.

      1. There was a learning curve 35+ years ago and there is one now, but people will learn as we did, the hard way. Either that or the manufacturers will have to warn customers about changes to capacity with every OS update.

      2. I hate to burst your bubble but iPhones, iPods, iPads and Macs are all computers.

        Everyone knows that you need some room for the operating system. We aren’t using floppy discs anymore.

    2. I think it’s interesting and disappointing that MDN keeps trotting out the irrelevant “formatted capacity less” warning as an answer to this stupid lawsuit. The lawsuit is about the space the OS and pre-installed apps take up, not about formatting. The answer to the lawsuit is that you are buying a functional phone, NOT a blank storage disk. You are PAYING them to include those things.

      I think it would be helpful for readers here to understand (or remember?) the difference between disk formatting (adding a file system, etc.) and installing an OS. They aren’t the same thing, and Apple’s warning is only about the former. Installing the OS is a feature, so no disclaimer should be needed, which is probably why they didn’t give one.

      1. Computers are sold with X sized hard drives and no one complains that the OS takes up disk space (unless the storage is tiny and the OS is huge, à la the 64GB Surface). People need to male the effort to learn about what they’re buying. People are getting dopier as time passes, that’s why cans of butane have a flammable warning on them. People need to learn to think.

        1. I doubt anyone reasonable was actually confused and then upset by this. More likely this is a lawsuit fishing for a settlement. If so, the attorneys involved haven’t been paying attention: Apple tends to avoid settling unless it really is in the wrong, and I doubt they believe that here. Apple can afford to pay its attorneys to beat this, while the dopes filing this are going to get nothing for all their effort.

      2. The operating system uses the file system. An iPhone is not an iPhone without all of iOS, not just a formatted pile of storage. Try reformatting your Mac (or Windows PC, for that matter) and doing anything remotely useful without installing some sort of OS.

        It is very simple to determine the amount of free storage available on an iOS device. Did the plaintiffs try to promptly return their iOS devices to Apple after discovering the “storage deficit”? If so, did Apple reject their attempts to obtain a refund? If not, there is no lawsuit, only a law firm’s greed.

  3. While this lawsuit is bullshit, I’d like Apple to allow (again) to delete certain preinstalled apps, like Game Center, Tipps, iBooks, Health, and Newsstand – i’ll never use them. Ever.

    1. No, no, no! Healr, iBooks, Newsstand are essential to me and many other people I know, they should be baked into the OS and never taken away!

      If any, they can safely delete Stocks and Weather (because I never use them. Ever).

      And somebody else might also now chip in with their own idea which apps to delete and which to keep…

      1. I’m not against these apps being preinstalled, they should just be deletable, along with Weather and Stocks. I’d just keep the latter two, you can keep Health etc…

        1. With that I completely agree. However, it will be a bit tricky to figure out exactly which ones can be deletable and which can’t. I am sure there are users who would prefer to use third-party apps for everything (e-mail, web browsing, music purchases, music player, photo archive, etc), I’m sure Apple will never even consider making any of these deletable, for more than one reason. First, quite a few of these apps are so deeply integrated into the OS, and into the whole eco-system, it would be practically impossible to extricate them from it without consequences, not to mention how complicated it would be to allow third-party developers to integrate their apps that deeply into the OS and the eco-system. Secondly, why would Apple even consider doing this? The principal advantage of iOS over everything else is the broad and deep integration of all software components across Apple’s eco-system (iOS, Mac, iCloud), and visual and interface consistency across all applications and all platforms. This would easily be lost if people start replacing native apps with third-party alternatives. For them, Android provides perfect solution — customize it to your heart’s content, you’ll never get bored customizing…

          So, if Apple were to ever decide to allow users to remove apps, they would then likely have to draw the line somewhere.

            1. ??

              We are debating here which built-in apps should be allowed to have that little ‘X’ in the corner (i.e. which should be deletable).

  4. MDN often points out Apple’s main goal isn’t kowtowing to Wall Street like most companies, but delighting customers. So the recent articles about how sticking with 16 GB as base for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus saved them a couple billion dollars? That’s pandering to Wall Street. The end users who aren’t investors simply don’t care.

    And while available storage isn’t exactly something that by itself delights most people, running *out* of storage sooner than expected will certainly cause the opposite reaction, especially since Apple loves highlighting the camera’s photo and video-taking abilities. And video eats space like crazy, around 1 GB every 6 minutes.

    1. And when all that starts syncing to the cloud automatically, with the Photos app, you can bet that people will blame Apple for the huge phone bills they get because of using so much data.

        1. I’m not sure how it works now; I’m not using the beta. But I can imagine that there will be the option to use cellular data, just as there is for other apps. Or maybe they’ll only allow cellular data for photos, and not for videos.

      1. I hope you aren’t suggesting limiting the amount of photos and videos they’re taking is a way to limit data overage charges, because under identical iCloud sync or Photostream settings, the same amount of data will be used even if the user deletes pics/vids they’ve already taken and then take more, which are then also uploaded.

  5. The class action lawsuit is BS…but I do do think it’s time to do away with the 16 gb iPhone…I understand the argument that many people only need a bare bones phone…but there are also many folks who are new to the platform and don’t realize how much storage they will consume when they start taking videos of kids…loading on movies for kids etc. I believe the memory should be 32 64 and 128 rather than 16 64 128. The difference in a 32 vs a 16 could only be a few bucks. This will result in a few billion less in up sales but as a share holder I can live with that to greatly improve the use experience for entry level users.

  6. This is how computers work: They have a drive. The operating system takes up part of the drive space. New operating systems almost always take up more drive space than the previous version thanks to new and improved features. It’s always been this way. You can’t sue over it.

    Meanwhile: Apple WARNS users about this situation. Microsoft doesn’t bother. So sue Microsoft. There’s nothing to sue Apple about here. Go home.

    In future: I suggest buying nothing less than a 32 GB iOS device.

    Dear Apple: Kill off 16 GB iOS devices already! SD drives are dropping considerably in price!

  7. The Plaintiffs should be given the following instructions:
    1. Take your iPhone, packaging it in the original packaging.
    2. Return it to the store you purchased it from for a full refund.
    3. The reason given for the return should be “I am too stupid to own a smart phone”.

    1. Well, if they ever hand out awards for arrogant attitudes then you’ll certainly get one! Wow! I have used iPhones for years and I am fully aware of storage issues, however, most people – those who you call “stupid people” (the bulk of smart phone buyers these days), are not aware of the difference between a gigabyte a megabyte or a how much space each activity fills up on an iPhone. THAT is the reality.

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