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Millions of Apple customers to get payments of up to $90 in iPhone "batterygate" settlement. Here's what to know.

iPhone users will have to adjust a small but significant change
iPhone users will have to adjust a small but significant change 00:42

Millions of iPhone owners whose older devices slowed down after software updates may soon receive a payday, with individuals possibly receiving up to $90 each.

Apple will soon be paying out between $310 million and $500 million to up to roughly 3 million users of many pre-2018 model iPhones, lawyers for Apple customers said in a statement. The payouts will go to affected users who filed claims against the tech giant in 2020 for an issue that became known as "batterygate."

"[W]e can finally provide immediate cash payments to impacted Apple customers," said Mark C. Molumphy, a partner at Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy, one of the firms handling the suit on behalf of Apple customers.

The settlement comes after a judge dismissed Apple's appeal to challenge a class-action lawsuit filed against the tech giant in 2017, clearing the path for "consumers impacted by software throttling" to receive settlement payments, the claimants' lawyers said.  

"Software throttling" refers to software updates provided by Apple for its earlier iPhone models which had low-capacity batteries that wore out over time. The iOS updates purposefully slowed down the overall performance of users' iPhones when an aging battery was detected in order to prevent the devices from shutting down completely during "peak current demands."

After complaints by the users, Apple decided to offer a high
Unbeknownst to iPhone users at the time, software updates provided by Apple for its earlier iPhone models purposefully slowed down the devices' performance to prevent shutdowns caused by aging batteries.  Mairo Cinquetti/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

Apple said its reason for reducing, or throttling, performance, was not to deceive customers into unnecessarily upgrading their iPhone — which only required a new battery — but to prolong the lifespan of the devices, the company told the Verge in 2017. The iPhones would return to their normal speeds once the deteriorated battery was replaced. 

The settlement is not an admission of wrongdoing by Apple, according to the claim website.

Here's what you need to know about the settlement: 

How much will eligible iPhone users get paid?

If you filed a claim, you can expect to receive roughly $65 from Apple, attorney Mark C. Molumphy told CBS MoneyWatch. 

"It could be higher, as much as $85 to $90, depending on the number of claims submitted," he added.

Fewer complaint submissions generally means bigger payouts for each individual claimant. 

According to a legal document, about 3.3 million iPhone users submitted claims prior to the deadline, which means they could each receive $128, less any court-ordered deduction for attorney's fees and other costs.

Apple's ambitious and expensive launch into virtual reality 02:03

Who is eligible to receive a settlement payment?

Owners of iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6S, 6S Plus and SE models running iOS 10.2.1 or later and iPhone 7 and 7 Plus running iOS 11.2 or later before Dec. 21, 2017 may be eligible to receive payments, the settlement website shows. 

However, only affected users who filed claims before the Oct. 6, 2020 deadline are potentially eligible to receive a check. 

When will people get the settlement money? 

It's unclear when exactly eligible users will receive their settlement checks. 

Neither Apple nor lawyers for Apple customers immediately responded to CBS MoneyWatch's requests for comment. 

Why has it taken so long for people to get their money?

In general, most class actions take between two and three years to resolve, though some may take longer, particularly if a court ruling is appealed, according to class-action consumer resource, 

Court procedures and the appeals process have dragged out the batterygate class-action lawsuit, prolonging the amount of time until claimants get their money. 

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