Lawsuit seeks millions from Apple for slowing older iPhones with iOS 9 upgrade

“A class action lawsuit lodged with a New York district court on Tuesday dredges up claims that Apple engages in planned obsolescence, saying the company knew of potential compatibility issues when it foisted its latest iOS 9 software update on iPhone 4s owners,” Mikey Campbell reports for AppleInsider.

“Plaintiff Chaim Lerman asserts Apple engaged in deceptive trade practices and false advertisement by touting iOS 9 as compatible with legacy handsets dating back to iPhone 4s models,” Campbell reports. “In actuality, the complaint reads, iOS 9 significantly interferes with iPhone 4s performance, and because Apple security protocols prevent users from downgrading, owners were forced to choose between an inoperable device or spending hundreds of dollars on a new version.”

“The class, which includes more than 100 members, asserts iOS 9 bogged down their iPhone 4s devices to the point of being unfit for daily use,” Campbell reports. “Plaintiffs are seeking over $5 million in damages with an option to treble.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Not having a 4s handy (because it’s a freaking four-year old device!) on which to install iOS 9, we’ll assume it’s dog slow, but that it also does “work” as it’s listed as compatible on Apple’s iOS 9 page.

To avoid confusion (and class action lawsuits), Apple needs to inform the [redacted], uh… “less technically inclined user” that, yes, a four-year-old device may be compatible, but might also struggle with more advanced iOS versions. After all, the iPhone 4s debuted with iOS 5 and is powered by an A5! Or, if performance is indeed so hampered, just omit the really old devices from the iOS compatibility list as some smartphone users might not understand how computers work and what “compatible” really means when used by a computer maker.

58 Comments

    1. I rather think it’s technology itself—and even more, life and circumstance—that’re the eternal pains in the ass. Apple has become a high-profile scapegoat for all that went wrong with our science-fiction delusions of bliss… What if they just said piss off, took the money they made, shut it all down, and left the future to the likes of Microsoft? The whining wouldn’t stop, but at least it would be directed at someone else for a change—and maybe Microsoft would get it right this time.

    1. That’s the problem. They are idiots (technically illiterate) and Apple legally has to do all they can to protect them from their ignorance. Telling them their iPhone is “compatible,” but making it not work well may be grounds for a successful lawsuit.

      1. I agree, but I think a better avenue for Apple is to get their compartmentalized iOS plans in the works faster. Where the core OS will run well on each of the compatible phones, but the extra goodies will be an OS add-on for the new phones, thereby if executed properly will enable all compatible devices to operate at their max potential without bogging them down with necessary code for unsupported features.

        I think Apple has created an iOS ecosystem where the devices are very reliable, and they will keep their value over time. This will enable them to have an ecosystem similar to car buying. New devices can have higher price tags because the devices will last and have good re-sale value with low depreciation. However for this to work well, Apple needs to support old systems better without bogging them down.

        This will also be good practice in case Apple does get into the electric car business. They will need to support old models or get in trouble with re-calls a la Detroit/VW.

    2. Wouldn’t a Genius Bar appointment to downgrade their software fix the problem?

      Still, Apple has brought this upon themselves. By being so controlling over ‘the experience’ with complete integration, curation, and lock down, they are in effect the IT department. People pay top dollar for these devices and this IT service, and it appears these customers aren’t satisfied.

      There is also no way to increase storage, so premature obsolescence is inevitable.

    3. If this were before 2012 or 2013 I’d agree, but Apple pushes iOS updates pretty aggressively now. On wifi and given sufficient space it’ll download the update without asking, which pissed me off because the iOS 8 update blew through my uncle’s monthly bandwidth while I was staying there on vacation. And as of iOS9 the only options to defer that are presented are keep asking to install tonight, or remind me (24 hours?) later. There’s no “don’t ask me again” option, short of manually deleting the auto-downloaded update.

      You may recognize this as being exactly the same tactic Microsoft adopted to “encourage” users to upgrade to Windows 10, except you can’t revert an iOS update if you find it slows you down too much. And the world rightly eviscerated Microsoft for it.

      So, complaints about performance on the latest major iOS upgrade are absolutely valid. Lawsuit, maybe not so much.

    4. Trouble is, you don’t know how big the performance hit will be until after the upgrade. What are we to do, never upgrade from the original OS? Two things would help, an explicit warning that a particular device will slow down considerably and a roll back feature so you can easily downgrade to the previous OS. I know a number of people, none of whom are idiots, that have been caught like this with older iPads. Myself included.

  1. First World Problems. These fools should be thankful that they have a smartphone of the Apple kind. I have an older model from 2012 and guess what? It still works! It doesn’t bother me. The people doin’ this lawsuit are crazy.

    1. I’m one of those ‘fools’. I don’t give two shiites about a lawsuit, since all I use my 64 GB 4S for is portable music, but the update has made it almost unusable in my truck, where it used to work flawlessly.

      The only reason I applied the update was because I thought it was going to be more streamlined and a better Music app.
      No such luck, so I will keep looking for betas to fix what the updates broke….

    1. With Santa bringing me a new 6s, I’m retiring my slow 4s. But while the 4s is slow, primarily in opening apps, it still works fine under iOS 9.

      The thing everyone is forgetting is that young technology changes very quickly, making devices built for the technology obsolete quickly.

      For example, desktop chip technology is fairly mature and stable. That’s why you can run El Capitan on Macs that are 8 years old without much difficulty. But try running iOS9, which is built for the A9 on an iPhone that is 8 years old, in other words the very first iPhone. You can’t do it. In fact you can’t run iOS 9 on anything older than a 4s.

      That’s call progress.

  2. Normally I’d agree that cases like this should be thrown out but Apple did seem to imply iOS9 would make a 4s iPhone faster.

    My wife and I sold our 4s’ a while back on eBay. I had thought about reaching out to the buyers and recommending upgrading to iOS 9 based upon Apple’s advertising of a faster iPhone. Glad I did not.

  3. “(because it’s a freaking four-year old device!)”

    There are many of us who spend a lot of money on Apple devices because we expect them to last for a long time without being made obsolete. There are also a lot of us who are still using our 4s phones because the phones now are way to freaking big.

    Yes I absolutely expect a 4 year old Apple device to not be significantly crippled by an OS upgrade. Especially if Apple says it will make it faster. I expect an 8 year old Apple device to work fairly well with an OS upgrade. There are many of us who aren’t caught up in the race for status, and just use our Apples to produce work or facilitate functionality.

    1. I agree.
      Apple makes premuim products. Charges premium prices. These devices SHOULD have a premium life span and the OS should not cripple a four/five year old device!
      Like most people, I can’t afford to go out and update my Apple products every two-three years.
      I have my Apple computers and devices for, at least, 5 years or more!
      I can run new versions of OS X pretty well on my 6 year old iMac.
      I should be able to run the newest iOS versions reasonably well on a 4 year old iDevice.
      I shouldn’t expect an iOS upgrade/update to render my expensive Apple iDevice near useless because of responsiveness and performance degredation from a new iOS upgrade that is stated to be compatible, folks.
      Apple does states what main iOS features are compatible with what devices, but most of the iOS system is supposed to work across the board for ALL listed compatible devices,
      This nonsense from some respondants here about the term Compatible.
      Compatible is compatible, folks.
      It means that whatever hardware is listed to work with their lastest system software, that software should work as advertised on those devices. Not work to the extent of nearly crippling the entire device’s functionality
      There is a large, growing minority of iPad 2 users complaining about the same thing that iPhone 4 users are about iOS 9 causing major issues and slowdowns and plus don”t get me started on the way iOS features get doled out to new and older iDevices leaving out the older iDevice user from all of the new and cool features that only new model iDevices can run.
      My newly purchased and expensive iPad Pro BETTER run well and serve me well and continue to run well on future iOS versions for the next 4-5 years to come!

  4. My wife and several other people I know have iPhone 4s. ALL of them are having the following issue after upgrading to iOS 9. Severe slow downs and the battery lasts 1hour doing nothing. Previously the phone work just fine and is only 1.5 years old as it was replaced by apple. Now I could have downgraded the OS and loose bug fixes and improvements but why the hell should I!!!

    Apple has either dropped the ball big time or they knew the issues existed and have made no effort to fix them. Either way they are culpable and need to act.

    Now, go on take the piss, ‘oh you should just upgrade/downgrade/get an android device’, but seriously why the fuck should I do any of them. Apple has dropped the ball, not me. So we should be saying stuff like ‘apple are crap at support” rather than being fanboy idiots.

  5. “…Apple engages in planned obsolescence…”
    “…iOS 9 bogged down their iPhone 4s devices to the point of being unfit for daily use…”

    Sadly, I agree. I just upgraded to an iPhone 6s because the 4s performance was no longer acceptable.

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