Smartphones have radically changed the way we live. They have affected how we consume information, communicate, behave and use technology. Most of us use their smartphone every day. A study released by Deloitte found that Americans collectively check their smartphones upwards of 8 billion times per day! The facts prove that we’re obsessed with our phones. The most aggressive smartphone users click, tap or swipe on their phone 5,427 times a day, according to researcher Dscout. That includes the top 10 percent of phone users, so perhaps it sounds excessive. However, turns out the rest of us still touch our phones 2,617 times a day on average. Can you say, addictive?! We use these controlling little tech monsters to surf the internet and social media platforms, check email, manage calendars, listen to music, play games, watch videos, take photos, read the news and write text messages. Sometimes we even use them for their original purpose, to make phone calls. Imagine that;)

Since we clearly depend on our smartphones for so many various aspects of our lives, what happens when these helpful devices turn into headaches? Many of us have experienced a love/hate relationship with our smartphones at one time or another. Technology is our best friend and worst enemy. It can skyrocket our productivity, amusement and communication. But when it’s malfunctioning or not working properly, technology turns into a frustrating, aggravating, time and energy suck.

Some common smartphone issues that can make someone see red include: running slowly, battery problems, crashes, synching troubles, overheating/freezing temps, software bugs and of course the recent iPhone glitch that automatically corrects the lower-case letter “i” to “A” and a question mark symbol. What the heck?

There are quite a few smartphone choices on the market but Apple and the iPhone continue to hold it down in the market. According to Statista, there will be a projected 222.9 million smartphone users in the United States in 2017 and Apple looks to hold on to its considerable market share with over 90 million of users estimated to own an iPhone in 2016. Due to Apple’s worldwide domination and the recent headlines, we’re taking a deeper look at some of the legalities surrounding the iPhone. Consumers have retaliated against the slooooooow iPhone because who wants to deal with a pain in the neck, slow, malfunctioning phone? We all have Instagram posts to attend to, Facebook stories to share, tweets to tweet, and maybe even a few work emails to respond to or a long overdue call back to our parents to get after.

Back in December 2017, Apple admitted that its recent software updates deliberately slowed down the performance of old iPhones. The reason, Apple says, was to prevent “unexpected shutdowns” that old phones with weaker batteries might otherwise occasionally suffer. Basically, Apple said that it has algorithms in place to help keep an iPhone running at optimal performance if there is an older battery inside that can’t keep up with the required power.

When the news got out, Apple quickly apologized for the slowdown and offered its customers discounted replacement batteries. “We know that some of you feel Apple has let you down. We apologize,” said the message. To further attempt to make amends, Apple will temporarily drop the price of replacement batteries for the iPhone 6 and later to $29 starting in late January. The price will go back up to the usual $79 in 2019. But many consumers were not satisfied, and within hours class actions had been filed against Apple. Apple now faces over 45 lawsuits that either accuse the company of intentionally slowing down older iPhones, or at least of failing to disclose power management changes it made starting in iOS 10.2.1. The lawsuits include 24 class action complaints in the United States. One of the class actions asks for almost $1 trillion in damages from Apple. Take a bite out of that juicy apple!

Did Apple violate any law, or breach its contract with consumers? A smartphone, like any other technological device, will slow down as it ages. But is it legal for the smartphone’s manufacturer to purposefully slow a phone down?

According to Forbes, the language of the contract to which consumers click “I Agree” when installing the iPhone’s updated software is vague, but it seems to give Apple wide authority to incorporate any functionality feature. The contract—17 pages of legal language—announces that Apple “does not warrant against interference with your enjoyment of the iOS software

[…or] that the operation will be uninterrupted or error-free.” The contract further warns that “installation of this iOS software may affect the availability and usability” of apps and services. But fine print disclaimers can protect Apple from liability for unfair acts only so much. Contract law prohibits deception and concealment. The law requires merchants to act in good faith in performance of their contracts with consumers, and does not allow them to escape these obligations by tossing a bunch of legal jargon at consumers. Consumer protection law is all about the prevention of such deception by merchants. Each state has laws that prohibit unfair and deceptive acts, including the concealment of material facts, and especially representations on which consumers are known to rely on. If Apple deliberately concealed the fact that the upgrades would slow down the phone, it is possible they could be found liable under these laws, notwithstanding its attempts to disclaim the liability in the contract.

With lawsuits piling up, it is still to be determined how they will go to court and what will happen. Regardless, changes are likely to be felt. Apple is already increasing its transparency to explain why it participated in this practice. The long-term effects and legal ramifications aren’t necessarily clear yet, but many iPhone users will be keeping a close eye on the news and device in their hands.

So even if you’re not on the front lines and going after Apple directly, what can you expect? On January 24th, Apple announced that its next update to iOS 11, version 11.3, will include a toggle for disabling processor throttling and slowed performance in iPhones that contain older, chemically-aged batteries. According to Reuters, the company says iOS 11.3 will launch this spring. An initial beta is available now, but the battery features haven’t yet been implemented. Once they’re added, Apple says users will be able to “see if the power management feature that dynamically manages maximum performance to prevent unexpected shutdowns, first introduced in iOS 10.2.1, is on and can choose to turn it off.” The update also shows more detailed information on battery health for the iPhone 6 and later. Apple did not specify exactly when that update would be available, saying only that it would come after the planned release of iOS 11.3 this spring that adds a bunch of new animojis and features for its health app.

So, sounds like improvements are on the horizon but what if your phone’s battery is on the fritz right now? As mentioned, you can likely restore your phone to its former glory days with a simple battery replacement. Apple’s response to all the mayhem was to offer the replacements at 29 bucks vs the previous $79 repair fee. Apple shaved $50 off its standard battery fee to get back on our good side. They have promised to make the replacement batteries more affordable through 2018. It made the move, it said, “to address our customers’ concerns, to recognize their loyalty and to regain the trust of anyone who may have doubted Apple’s intentions.” Batteries are in high demand right now and you may have to wait for availability. As if technology wasn’t enough of a hassle already. So, book that Genius Bar appointment, stat! Once your phone gets a fresh battery and the processor kicks back to 100 percent, there’s a chance you might not feel the need to upgrade your iPhone for a while. One analyst, Mark Moskowitz of Barclays, expects the battery offer could cause Apple to sell 16 million fewer new iPhones.

Schulze Law can help answer any questions you have regarding your smartphone. We understand the law and our team of experienced attorneys and staff can assist you with any problems and legalities surrounding your iPhone. CALL NOW: CALL NOW: 857-300-5300. Emergency After Hours Number: 800-894-9267 XLAW1 (5291)

Well, what would we do without our beloved smartphones? Life is certainly easier when they work, that’s for darn sure. So, stay tuned to see how the Apple lawsuits develop and head in to an Apple store if your battery is creating chaos.