Apple FaceTime App and iPhone 4 or 4s Florida Class Action

This very interesting class action describes a chain of events that allegedly led Apple, Inc. to “break” FaceTime for users of older iPhones. The users of the older phones had to upgrade to a new operating system that slowed their phones considerably, buy new phones, or give up FaceTime. The complaint alleges that Apple did this to save itself money. 

The class for this action is all owners of non-jailbroken Apple iPhone 4 or iPhone 4s devices in Florida who, on April 16, 2014, had iOS 6 or earlier operating systems on those devices.

FaceTime is an enormously popular communication app that only works with Apple products. In 2013, Apple CEO Tim Cook claimed that fifteen to twenty million FaceTime calls were made every day.

There were two ways to make a FaceTime call. The first was the peer-to-peer method, with a direct connection between the parties. The second was the relay method, where the parties both connect to a server that relays the data for the call. Those servers were owned by a company called Akamai which charged Apple for their use. Since 90-95% of FaceTime calls were peer-to-peer, this did not add up to a large payment for Apple. 

However, on November 7, 2012, Apple lost a lawsuit alleging that it had infringed on patents held by a company called VirnetX, Inc. The infringement concerned the peer-to-peer calling method, so Apple had to shift all FaceTime calls to the relay method. 

The complaint claims that this meant that Apple had to pay multi-million-dollar charges to Akamai every month. Apple decided it had to reduce the number of FaceTime calls made via the relay method.

On September 13, 2013, the company introduced iOS 7. That operating system had the ability to make peer-to-peer FaceTime connections without infringing on others’ patents. But, the complaint says, there was a problem: “More than seven months after the introduction of iOS 7 … millions of Apple users’ devices still operated on iOS 6 or earlier operating systems and thus could only be connected via FaceTime through the relay method.” Apple was therefore having to pay substantial bills from Akamai.

The complaint claims, “Apple formulated a plan by which its engineers caused a digital certificate necessary to the operation of FaceTime on iOS 6 or an earlier operating system to prematurely expire.” 

On April 16, 2014, the FaceTime app stopped working for millions of users using iOS 6. Instead of admitting what it had done, Apple claimed that FaceTime had suffered a bug and now required iOS 7.

To begin using it again, those people had to either transition to iOS 7—which causes Apple iPhone 4 or 4s devices to run extremely slowly, crash, or otherwise function poorly—or buy new iPhones with the iOS 7 system. 

The complaint alleges trespass to chattels and violations of the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act. 

Article Type: Lawsuit
Topic: Consumer

Most Recent Case Event

Apple FaceTime App and iPhone 4 or 4s Florida Complaint

August 28, 2019

This very interesting class action describes a chain of events that allegedly led Apple, Inc. to “break” FaceTime for users of older iPhones. The users of the older phones had to upgrade to a new operating system that slowed their phones considerably, buy new phones, or give up FaceTime. The complaint alleges that Apple did this to save itself money. 

apple_iphone_4_face_time_use_complaint.pdf

Case Event History

Apple FaceTime App and iPhone 4 or 4s Florida Complaint

August 28, 2019

This very interesting class action describes a chain of events that allegedly led Apple, Inc. to “break” FaceTime for users of older iPhones. The users of the older phones had to upgrade to a new operating system that slowed their phones considerably, buy new phones, or give up FaceTime. The complaint alleges that Apple did this to save itself money. 

apple_iphone_4_face_time_use_complaint.pdf
Tags: Cell Phone, Electronic Apps and Updates, Trespass to Chattels