Apple sued in Chicago for slowing down older iPhones

After admitting to slowing down older phones, Apple is being sued by five people who claim they're in violation of state laws that protect consumers from fraud. | AP file photo

A day after Apple acknowledged that their software updates slow down older iPhone models, five customers have filed a federal lawsuit in Chicago against the tech giant for what they’re calling “deceptive, immoral and unethical” practices that violate consumer protection laws.

The suit was filed Thursday by two Illinoisans along with Ohio, Indiana and North Carolina residents, who had a range of models from the iPhone 5 to the iPhone 7.

They claim that Apple’s iOS updates “were engineered to purposefully slow down or ‘throttle down’ the performance speeds” of the iPhone 5, iPhone 6 and iPhone 7.

Apple representatives could not be reached for comment.

iPhone users have long speculated that once a new iPhone is released, software updates would slog down older models to push customers to buy new phones.

Apple partially confirmed the theory on Wednesday, releasing a statement admitting updates would slow down phones, but only to prevent devices with old batteries “from unexpectedly shutting down.”

The plaintiffs say the company is in violation of state and national acts that protect consumers from deceptive business and sales practices.

Attorney James Vlahakis said Apple violated customers’ loyalty, forcing many to fork out the money for a new phone.

“Corporations have to realize that people are sophisticated and that when people spend their hard-earned dollars on a product they expect it to perform as expected,” he said. “Instead, Apple appears to have obscured and concealed why older phones were slowing down.”

The suit claims that Apple “needlessly subjects consumers to purchasing newer and more expensive iPhones when a replacement battery could have allowed consumers to continue to use their older iPhones.”

The plaintiffs are seeking an unspecified amount of money in damages.

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