Apple Faces Another Lawsuit Over iOS Updates that Diminished iPhone Performance

More than three dozen Alabama residents filed a lawsuit against Apple Inc. over two operating system updates that they claimed caused their phone’s performance to deteriorate after installation. 

The Southern District of Alabama complaint asserted causes of action under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, and California laws including the state’s Computer Data Access and Fraud Act, Unfair Competition Law, and Consumers Legal Remedy Act. The case closely tracks another lawsuit proceeding in the Northern District of California, filed last October.

Tuesday’s complaint explained that each plaintiff owns or owned an Apple iPhone in the 6 or 7  series. The plaintiffs related that the phones come with Apple’s proprietary iOS, “which consists of a collection of software applications that allow users to utilize all the features of Apple products.” Periodically, the manufacturer releases updates for iOS, which it reportedly encourages customers to install for “optimal iPhone performance.”

Two updates, Apple’s iOS 10.2.1 for iPhone 6 and 11.2 for iPhone 7, which were released to fix bugs and improve other features, underlie the allegations in the consumer action. The Alabama plaintiffs asserted that when they installed the updates, phone performance slipped. Specifically, the complaint avered, after the update apps take an unduly long time to open, load, update, and respond to inputs such  as swiping and scrolling. In addition, it reportedly caused apps and websites to crash on occasion.

The plaintiffs asserted that in view of their reasonable expectation that their iPhones would function properly, Apple failed to warn them of the potential consequences of installing software updates. The company publicly admitted this fact later, the filing said, pointing to a complaint exhibit.  

In turn, the complaint alleged that Apple knowingly deprived the plaintiffs of this information, in violation of computer and business practice and consumer protection laws. Through their filing, the plaintiffs seek injunctive relief, damages, and an award of the plaintiff’s litigation fees and costs. 

The consumers are represented by Dargan M. Ware and of-counsel Davis & Norris LLP.