Apple iPhone Settlement: How to Submit a Claim for Slowed down Device and Get a Payout

Apple customers whose older iPhone devices experienced battery performance issues or slowdown could be eligible for a payout from the U.S. technology giant as part of a $500 million settlement that was announced earlier this year.

Details about how to file a claim have been outlined this week in a notice published by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

A website has also been created for any owners of iPhones who were impacted in what became known as "batterygate" to submit the relevant forms needed to take part in the settlement—a process that must be completed by October 6 this year.

Customers are potentially entitled to a payout if they are a U.S.owner of an iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6s, 6s Plus, 7, 7 Plus or SE that suffered from "diminished performance."

Additional eligibility requirements say the impacted device must have been running iOS 10.2.1 or later (iOS 11.2 or later for the 7 and 7 Plus) before December 21, 2017.

In March, Reuters reported Apple had agreed to pay up to $500 million to settle a class action lawsuit that accused the California-based firm of slowing a variety of its older phones via software updates, as newer models were being released.

The plaintiffs alleged that an iPhone's performance got worse after new updates were installed, prompting consumers to assume they needed to upgrade to a newer model or pay for parts to be replaced. Apple denied intentionally slowing down phones, saying batteries were throttled to ensure stability and stop unwanted shutdowns.

The court stressed the settlement was not an admission of wrongdoing by Apple, which agreed to the settlement to avoid "burdensome and costly litigation."

Apple will offer a $25 base cash payment per iPhone that meets eligibility requirements and whose owner submits a valid claim form on time. The final payout amount could be higher or lower, depending on the number of claims submitted to the court.

Apple will pay a minimum of $310 million and a maximum of $500 million. Anyone who fails to submit a claim form on time will be rejected and they will have been deemed to have waived all rights to receive any cash benefit under the court's settlement.

Officials will hold a final hearing to approve the settlement on December 4, 2020.

Since mass outrage was sparked by the performance issues in 2017, Apple has been more transparent about how old iPhone batteries degrade over time. It had previously offered replacement batteries to any impacted customers for $29.

"We have never—and would never—do anything to intentionally shorten the life of any Apple product, or degrade the user experience to drive customer upgrades," Apple said at the time. "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."

Now, a page on its website dedicated to battery tech explains all rechargeable batteries are "consumables and have a limited lifespan." It notes that capacities will eventually be reduced, and managing that can "contribute to changes in iPhone performance."

Apple iPhone 7
A visitor tries out an Apple iPhone 7 on the first day of sales of the new phone at the Berlin Apple store on September 16, 2016 in Berlin, Germany. The phone came in two sizes, one with a 4.7 inch display, the other with a 5.5 inch display. Sean Gallup/Getty