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Apple Faces $5 Million Lawsuit Over Allegedly Slowing the iPhone 4S With iOS 9 (mashable.com) 344

An anonymous reader writes: A $5 million lawsuit filed in New York federal court alleges that Apple's iOS 9 mobile operating software significantly slows down the iPhone 4S. According to the complaint: "The update significantly slowed down their iPhones and interfered with the normal usage of the device, leaving Plaintiff with a difficult choice: use a slow and buggy device that disrupts everyday life or spend hundreds of dollars to buy a new phone. Apple explicitly represented to the public that iOS 9 is compatible with and supports the iPhone 4S. And Apple failed to warn iPhone 4S owners that the update may or will interfere with the device's performance."
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Apple Faces $5 Million Lawsuit Over Allegedly Slowing the iPhone 4S With iOS 9

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  • Darn! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Hognoxious ( 631665 ) on Thursday December 31, 2015 @05:02PM (#51218235) Homepage Journal

    Would have got the frosty, but my iphooooone is toooo sloooooowelevetyone.

  • Funny. Both my wife and my ma have a 4s with iOS 9 and they don't seem to have any slowness issues. Then again, they're not running cutting edge apps/services .... an expectation issue perhaps?

    • Re:expectation? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Lab Rat Jason ( 2495638 ) on Thursday December 31, 2015 @05:13PM (#51218297)

      My wife and I just ordered new iPhone 6s' yesterday because of this exact issue. The issue is about expectations, but not in the way you think it is... we have been able to run apps in the past, that after the update no longer perform well. I've had to remove all of my music and much of my pictures just to provide enough free memory to operate. Previously the phone could switch between web browsing and other apps without issue, even with multiple tabs (pages) loaded at one time. Now if I switch from words with friends to the browser with just a single page loaded, then back to words, I find the latter app has been shut down and needs to completely re-initialize before I can use it. My expectation was SET by the way the phone performed before the update, and now it performs terribly.

      If you didn't experience this issue, perhaps it is because you were not using the phone to it's full potential.

      • by slazzy ( 864185 ) on Thursday December 31, 2015 @05:16PM (#51218311) Homepage Journal
        On behalf of us shareholders, thank you for upgrading!
      • Re:expectation? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by danomatika ( 1977210 ) on Thursday December 31, 2015 @05:19PM (#51218325)

        If you didn't experience this issue, perhaps it is because you were not using the phone to it's full potential.

        Yep :)

        Then again, what if Apple decided people would be unhappy with the speed on iOS 9 so they decided to limit it to iPhone 5? I bet the same people grumbling about this issue would be grumbling about Apple's forced upgrades. They are stuck both ways via expectation. I'm defending the choices made but, considering how quickly the smartphone market is still developing, is it purely reasonable to expect a device multiple years old can run everyone up to snuff, that plus developers getting lazy with memory on new devices (same old same old).

        • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
          The thing Apple should have done is have multiple development trains. Rather than have "newest" and "unsupported" they should have "newest 8.x" and "newest 9.x" and improve features in 8 after 9. Most other systems do that. You can find patches for the older version long after the new version is out. iOS moves so fast, and quickly abandons old devices for security updates. If you want to have the latest security patch, you *must* be on a device that runs the latest release of the highest rev. There is
          • They updated iOS 6 for the goto fail bug February 2014, 7 months after iOS 7 was out.

            • Correct, but only for devices that could not upgrade to IOS7.

              If you had, say, an iPhone 5 running 6 that you did not want to upgrade to 7, then you could not get the security update.

        • Re:expectation? (Score:4, Insightful)

          by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Thursday December 31, 2015 @11:59PM (#51219993) Journal

          Then again, what if Apple decided people would be unhappy with the speed on iOS 9 so they decided to limit it to iPhone 5? I bet the same people grumbling about this issue would be grumbling about Apple's forced upgrades.

          If they would let people downgrade OSes (or even if they didn't go out of their way to prevent people from downgrading the OS), then it wouldn't be a problem at all.

      • Is this just an apple user thing or something?

        Can't tell you how many OS upgrades I've done on the PC when I'm at the bare minimum of 'compatibility' and can't do everything I used to do simultaneously, didn't even think I should sue somebody because of it.

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by danomatika ( 1977210 )

          Is this just an apple user thing or something?

          It partially is. The whole "it just works" thing is double edged as in people expect their expensive hardware doesn't do everything and do it well forever.

          Then again, that's not *everyone*. I'm still using my iPhone 3GS because it just keeps doing everything I want it to do. Sure, Safari sometimes crashes on a JS heavy webpage, but then I just restart it and use Reader mode or disable JS or, heaven forbid, read on my laptop. Email works fine, phone works fine (for what iPhone signal quality is), Dropbox wor

        • by darkain ( 749283 )

          Except this has not been the case in the desktop era in quite some time now. Windows Vista and Windows 10 have almost identical system requirements, with everything in between being pretty much the same as well.

        • You always have the choice to go back if you don't like it. Apple users can't. Big difference.
          • by Demena ( 966987 )
            Never heard of "restore from backup"? Crap.... Did I say that out loud...
            • You can't downgrade your IOS version after Apple stops signing it (typically a few days to a week after a newer version comes out) even if you have a device backup (which is not a "full disk" backup of the phone or anything like that.)

      • It's the flip side of the Android OS fragmentation issue. Yeah if you force all your users to upgrade to the latest OS, there's less fragmentation. But it creates these types of usability problems. (Which the press mostly chooses to ignore because they're in love with Apple. "Upgrade to a newer Android phone" is not viewed as a solution to the Android fragmentation problem. But "Upgrade to a newer iPhone" is viewed as an acceptable solution to these OS-induced performance issues.)
        • Re:expectation? (Score:4, Informative)

          by lucm ( 889690 ) on Thursday December 31, 2015 @07:33PM (#51219017)

          Enough already with the "fragmentation" bullshit. It is a LOT easier to create an app that works well on the Android tablet my grandma bought in 2011 and on my fancy new Moto X than an app that works on an iPod Touch bought in 2011 and an iPhone 6 with retina.

          Apple software and hardware is disposable and has a life expectancy of 4 years, if that. Meanwhile at the office we have a legacy piece of shit 20 years old VB5 application and it works on Windows 10.

      • Maybe you shouldn't have updated? Why would you think that soft were made in 2015 would run perfectly on hardware made in 2012?

      • Spend more money on something you don't really need. Well done.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by bloodhawk ( 813939 )
        WTF? I don't mean to insult you, but really a company intentionally screws you over in order to get more money out of you and you reward them by swallowing what they dish up to you? People like yourself are the reason Apple does this and gets away with it.
    • I bought a used iPhone 4S on ebay a couple of months ago to try out an iOS device.

      The device was in a factory default state when I got it (as expected).

      After setting up iTunes, creating an AppleID (which required a CC!) and running through all the updates I found that the phone was basically unusable because it was so slow.

      • It's possible to create an AppleID without a credit card.
        https://support.apple.com/en-u... [apple.com]

        • Interesting. It is probably one of those things where I just wasn't looking in the right place because I am used to different UI's.

          I find that is fairly common when using Apple products.. you have to sort of "unlearn what you have learned".

          Thanks for the reply

        • Not really: From their documentation: (https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT203905)

          "If you're using the store for the first time with an existing Apple ID, you must provide a payment method. After you create the account, you can change your payment information to None."

          So the first time you have to input credit card, which you can then remove again. How that is user friendly is anyone's guess.

      • I have never owned an iPhone. I've only had Android phones.

        But I would never buy a used smart phone. Many used phones are going to be devices that had problems and that are being resold on the secondary market because of those problems.

    • Just expanding the apocrypha.
    • Re:expectation? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by fluffernutter ( 1411889 ) on Thursday December 31, 2015 @07:41PM (#51219077)
      Some people are more in tune with what their CPU is capable of. Some people may be more willing to settle for slowness; after all it is an old device *pout*. These are the types of people Apple love. On the other hand, other people will look at the OS and what it is capable of and what it does and realize that there is really no valid justification for the slowness issues.

      In other words, I think is is a 'willingness to settle' issue rather than an expectation issue.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 31, 2015 @05:09PM (#51218283)

    "Oh crap, not again, we're so screw.... wait! That's *million*...? Search the couch cushion in the lawyers-lounge and pay the ticket..."

    • by lucm ( 889690 )

      That's probably where they took the money to pay the patent-infringement fine to Ericsson. Of course we don't hear about that one, we just hear when it's Apple that is allegedly screwed by a competitor.

    • Even so, 5 million (for 100 or so people who are in this case) is ridiculous. At the utmost they deserve a free upgrade to an iPhone 5. But that's the problem with the notion of punitive damages: it encourages people to try and win the courtroom jackpot. It should be a fine, payable to the state, with victims receiving fair recompense for actual damages.

      But in any case, I suspect that 5 million, after deducting the legal fees, will net the plaintiffs a $50 iTunes gift card each.
  • My understanding is it depends on the carrier; every time you wake the thing up, for example, to make a call, it goes out and checks for updates. Depending on your carrier, you may not be able to simultaneously have a phone conversation and access data at the same time, and then if you add to this poor carrier coverage in the area you are trying to use the phone, you can get what seem to be lock-ups, but are in realty head of line blocking.

    In previous versions of the OS, you could turn off this automatic u

  • by sims 2 ( 994794 ) on Thursday December 31, 2015 @05:12PM (#51218295)

    Is there any reason other than vendor lockin for them to refuse to allow you to install an older version of ios?

    • by jandrese ( 485 ) <kensama@vt.edu> on Thursday December 31, 2015 @05:24PM (#51218365) Homepage Journal
      Compatibility with the baseband processor might be an issue since its firmware is usually upgraded at the same time and downgrades can be risky. The baseband is pretty scary really, a huge black box that runs underneath the regular phone OS and has total control over it. Also, it would be re-introducing security problems that were fixed in later iOS versions, which might come with its own liability problems. Plus, it would re-enable old jailbreaks that were fixed in the later versions.

      That said, as a 4s user I think this complaint is overblown and is some lawyer looking for a big class action payday. I do turn off the superfluous animations however, so maybe it's partially my fault that I'm not being tremendously inconvenienced. I guess I'm mostly hoping that Apple doesn't stop supporting older versions of the iPhone. I have an original model iPhone as well and most apps on the app store no longer work, even if they aren't big 3D extravaganzas. They're simply compiled against a version of iOS that is too new for that old phone. Pretty annoying when a simple to-do list app won't even work because your phone is too old.
      • by sims 2 ( 994794 )

        I just deal with ipods and ipads so I have no experience with basebands but I feel not being able to go back to a working version is a bigger liability than any potential security risk.

        example super important electronic flight bag app works on ios 5.0.1 after upgrading to ios 5.1.1 it is found that obscure important function c does not work on the new ios version.

        Since you can't switch out to an old ios version you now have a expensive paperweight until apple or the app developer fixes compatibility.

        Lot saf

  • iPad 2 as well (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 31, 2015 @05:15PM (#51218309)

    Thing was pretty much crippled. Even if you could get safari to not crash for 5 minutes it was still unusable slow. Should never have been certified to run on that hardware, unless as a blatant attempt to force upgrades to Galaxy tablets..

  • If Apple loses, that means either a new disclaimer will have to be acknowledged, or that the life cycle of existing product support is shortened significantly. If I was an iPhone 4S owner, I would be rather pleased to even have iOS 9 available. As for the performance degradation, which portion is slow? From what I understand, each build is custom to the platform you're installing it on. So while it may be "iOS 9", the compiled binary image can't be interchangeable between say an iPhone 4s and iPhone 5. Unli

  • A rare lawsuit I hope succeeds to a degree. I hope this results in Apple updating their OS installation system to allow the final revisions of the last couple major versions, ex IIRC 8.4.1, 7.1.2. It would make life a little simpler for developers.

    Note this does not necessarily increase Apple's support burden. Such final versions are often the most recent supported by a particular device and thus will still get very critical security updates. Ex IIRC 7.1.2 is the most recent version for the iPhone 4. I r
    • by Demena ( 966987 )

      It might make it easier for developers but not for users. Say I need two apps. One developer remains a a given level, the other updates. I now cannot use them together.

      A developer who demanded a lower than current level of an OS would last about five minutes. In reality it would not even be "easier" for the developers because they would soon be non-existent.

      • It might make it easier for developers but not for users. Say I need two apps. One developer remains a a given level, the other updates. I now cannot use them together.

        A developer who demanded a lower than current level of an OS would last about five minutes. In reality it would not even be "easier" for the developers because they would soon be non-existent.

        It might make it easier for developers but not for users. Say I need two apps. One developer remains a a given level, the other updates. I now cannot use them together. A developer who demanded a lower than current level of an OS would last about five minutes. In reality it would not even be "easier" for the developers because they would soon be non-existent.

        You misunderstand, its easier on the developer from a testing perspective. Being able to install 7, 8 or 9 as desired on a given device for example. Right now we have to buy extra devices and designate them not to be upgraded in order to get such iOS coverage. Simulators are convenient but not totally effective for testing. iPod touches have been convenient for this but now with the phones having different screen sizes they are a little less so.

        That said, a developer can't require an old iOS version in t

        • by Demena ( 966987 )

          Nolo Contendre. (if you got spare midpoints please update post to which this is a reply)

  • History is repeating itself, it seems. I remember several years ago suffering through iOS 4 on my iPhone 3G (ironically the second generation iPhone). I really doubt they are deliberately slowing the older devices. If you pay attention, each year's SoC is significantly faster than the previous year's. So a four or five year old device will be many times, even orders of magnitude in some cases, slower than the current year's device. It stands to reason that the latest and greatest software will naturally mak

    • On the other hand, it may be a matter of representation. The version of iOS 9 deployed to an iPhone 4s will either naturally run slower due to the older hardware, or will be stripped down so that what is left runs reasonably well (e.g. like they did when they started allowing apps to run in the background). But if they advertised iOS 9 as running equally well on an iPhone 4s as it does on an iPhone 6s, then that would be misrepresentation, and the plaintiff has a case.

  • This is fairly typical of Apple. Although new versions of iOS support older phones, you don't want to run any version of iOS on a phone older than two years from the time it was released. Then you're left with the dilemma of upgrading iOS and likely taking a substantial performance hit or running the old version and leaving yourself open to unpatched vulnerabilities as well as losing the ability to install certain apps as all of the developers start releasing new versions of their apps that only support t
    • by Demena ( 966987 )
      Agreed. It is fairly typical of IT in general though. But two years for Apple is a bit short. There is always some extraneous feature that can help if turned off. (Moving icons, pre-loading, 3D)
  • I had the same issue with iOS 4 (I think) and my iPhone 3GS. Apple makes new OSes "compatible" with barely-compatible devices they no longer want to support, and prevents downgrading after, so that you'll buy a new phone when your performance tanks. It's despicable and I'm glad to see they're finally being taken to task for it.
  • The article says "more than 100 members" say there are 200 to be generous. They are claiming >= $2500 in damages per? Not even a new iPhone is that expensive.

  • Frivolous Case (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I have personally been on the receiving end of the abuse Apple doles out to its business "partners" on a regular basis so I hate them with the burning passion of a thousand suns, but this is nothing more than a frivolous lawsuit that should be thrown out with prejudice.

    As a very part-time developer, I understand that entropy rules all. For all the lamenting about how bloated programs or operating systems have become, people continue to request more and more features. If someone ever devises a way to infinit

  • Seriously, do the math. Then ask yourself how much you would care if someone filed a lawsuit against you for 50 cents.

  • This just in... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cant_get_a_good_nick ( 172131 ) on Thursday December 31, 2015 @06:34PM (#51218727)

    Apple is not able to speed up your CPU with a software upgrade. I don't remember reading my warranty and Apple guaranteeing speed for the next 5 years. Maybe I missed that clause.

    Jokes aside, even after all these years, i don't think people think of Android phones and iPhones as computers that happen to make phone calls. You have a hybrid microkernel/UNIX machine perpetually exposed to everyone on the Internet. You need to update. You need to keep it secure. Maybe users would like iOS 7 and receive security updates forever, but what about when their apps get rooted because they haven't been updated?

    There really isn't a way to have Apple win here.

    • If they don't update the OS, people bitch about planned obsolescence.
    • If they update the OS but just for security updates, people bitch that they're missing features. And their phone gets pwn3d because they're running an old Facebook app with holes, or they jailbreak to get that new feature that iOS9 has and don't want to upgrade for.
    • If they do a full OS update they complain that their 4 year old phone can't run the newest OS.

    Remember this is the company that got sued because they gave everybody (an admittedly bad) free album. Having deep pockets sucks some times.

    • by sims 2 ( 994794 )

      Just in case anyone still hasn't removed that BS music from their account here is a link https://itunes.com/soi-remove [itunes.com]

      I removed it from mine as soon as the tool was available.

      Not complaining that I can't run the latest os just that I can't revert to the last (or even the first) version that worked.

    • My four year old laptop runs the newest OS, why shouldn't my four year old phone? I think the allegation here is that the phone is 'artificially' being slowed down. If that is the case it should be illegal, obviously.
    • by ledow ( 319597 )

      When you have ZERO choice over the installation of the updates (sure, you can refuse them. Thousands of times for the next few years. And then all the programs stop updating and won't work, etc. and even things like AirPlay change - AirServer has had incompatible updates pushed for just about every iOS update out there).

      When it's so all-or-nothing, then the correct solution is to just say "Sorry, not supported" or even "Don't ask me again" (never seen that option on any fucking Apple product yet). Not to

  • Hell, my iPhone 6+ came with iOS 8, and it’s been getting slower and slower, and I think iOS 9 is part of the problem. Basically, iOS is just bloated and slow?

  • They must employ developers from suckless.org to help them remove the bloat from their software... Apple are into minimalism right? they will be left with a phone that never needs to be replaced and has one app (the phone app). So often i hear about iPhone users who only want a phone and texting, so this seems fitting.
    • by sims 2 ( 994794 )

      I have a samsung convoy 3 that is fully up to date and works fine as a phone and is fair at texting. I have an ipod touch with ibluever installed. Best of both worlds. I have the power of a smartphone and can make and receive calls without having to hold my phone a funny way.

      Ill stick with a basic phone until either verizon refuses to sell service for basic phones or they decide to not charge an extra 10$ "Because its a smart phone".

  • If you have a jailbroken iPhone 4S (and only the 4S), you can downgrade it to iOS 6.1.3 through a glitch in Apple's upgrade system. I'm waiting for a jailbreak for 9.2 so I can do exactly that.

    The method is described in detail here [redmondpie.com], it's a bit involved but it might help some technically minded people restore some life back into their perfectly capable devices.

"Tell the truth and run." -- Yugoslav proverb