Apple is facing more 'batterygate' lawsuits in Europe

A hand holding an iPhone 7 in Rose Gold

Apple is facing more class-action lawsuits in Europe over its practice of slowing down older iPhones.

Consumer watchdog Euroconsumers said in a statement that it has filed class-action lawsuits against Apple in Belgium and Spain over an iOS update that throttled iPhone performance, with two more suits planned for Italy and Portugal.

The legal action is similar to cases in the US and claims the company misled users about iPhone battery power and software updates that throttled device performance. Last month, Apple agreed to pay out $113 million to settle a case with multiple regulators in 34 states, including California and Arizona.

Euroconsumer's lawsuit covers around three million iPhone 6, iPhone 7 and iPhone SE models sold in Belgium, Italy, Portugal and Spain between 2014 and 2020.

“Consumers are increasingly upset by products wearing out too quickly, the iPhone 6 models being a very concrete example of that,” Els Bruggeman, head of policy and enforcement at Euroconsumers said in a statement to Bloomberg. “Not only does it cause frustration and financial harm, from an environmental point of view it is also utterly irresponsible.”

She added that “Apple pushed updates to mask problems with the battery, knowing it would slow down phones”, and that European consumers "just want to be treated with the same respect that was given to consumers in the United States."

The organisation said that moves to resolve to issue with Apple out of court were unsuccessful and would now be seeking compensation of €60 on average for each consumer affected by the issue.

In a statement, Apple said that it would never “do anything to intentionally shorten the life of any Apple product, or degrade the user experience to drive customer upgrades.”

"Our goal has always been to create products that our customers love, and making iPhones last as long as possible is an important part of that," a spokesperson added.

Rene Millman

Rene Millman is a freelance writer and broadcaster who covers cybersecurity, AI, IoT, and the cloud. He also works as a contributing analyst at GigaOm and has previously worked as an analyst for Gartner covering the infrastructure market. He has made numerous television appearances to give his views and expertise on technology trends and companies that affect and shape our lives. You can follow Rene Millman on Twitter.