Lawsuit Claims Apple Used iOS 9 to Ruin iPhone 4s Performance

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Lawsuit claims Apple used iOS 9 to hobble the iPhone 4sApple is facing a class action lawsuit in New York over claims that it intentionally hobbled iOS 9 performance on the iPhone 4s in a scheme to force users into upgrading to new phones. The plaintiffs accused Apple of false advertising and deceptive trade practices, and are asking for more than US$5 million in damages.

Plaintiff Chaim Lerman claimed Apple said the iPhone 4s was compatible with iOS 9, but that in real world use the update left his four year old smartphone essentially unusable thanks to buggy and slow performance. The lawsuit calls Apple out for engaging in planned obsolescence as a tactic to force customers to buy new iPhones.

The lawsuit stated,

Plaintiff and other owners of the iPhone 4s were harmed when their devices' software was updated to the newest version, iOS 9. The update significantly, slowed down their iPhones and interfered with the normal usage of the device, leaving Plaintiff with a difficult choice: use a slow and buggy device that disrupts everyday life or spend hundreds of dollars to buy a new phone.

The lawsuit also claims that Apple uses its security measures to block users from downgading to older iOS versions.

Apple does, in fact, list the iPhone 4s as iOS 9 compatible, along with the first generation iPad mini and the iPad 2—all of which are years-old product. The iPhone 4s was released in October 2011, the iPad mini in October 2012, and the iPad 2 in March 2011.

The company does not, however, make any claims as to how well iOS 9 performs on older iPhone and iPad models.

The plaintiffs are asking for $5 million with the option to go for triple damages. Apple hasn't commented on the case.

[Thanks to Patently Apple for the heads up]

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Apple was able to make iOS 9 run on four year old mobile devices. That's pretty impressive. Had the company blocked the iPhone 4s and iPad 2 from upgrading to iOS 9 the lawsuit would've probably been about artificially prohibiting upgrades to force new iPhone sales.

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I want to hear from someone who has a 4S. did you upgrade? Was the phone “unusable”? Not just slow, not just some features disabled, the 4S was after all at the ragged bottom edge of the compatibility grid. You gotta expect that. It was why I did not update my iPad2. I want to know if the phone was actually “unusable”?

Dean Lewis

Geoduck: I currently work at a shop that tests and resells used phones and other electronics. I am, in fact, the iThing Guy here, so I’ve used all the different iOSes on many different iDevices.

As for iOS 9 on a 4S, slower is actually a bit subjective. I’ve tested phones that ran it well and others that seemed to “stutter” a bit at starting up things or switching apps. After a bit of use, that tends to clear up (caching?). Considering my experience testing the phones when they are running earlier iOS versions, there really is some of the same behavior—particularly when switching to the cameras.

I actually notice on most 4S phones that iOS 9 performs better than iOS 8.

I test hundreds of phones and tablets a week. This isn’t idle supposition. Granted I haven’t run actual benchmarks or timed trials, but neither did the people who started this lawsuit I would bet. But I speak from some experience with hundreds of devices. The lawsuit will likely hinge on usability, and the devices are definitely not unusable. (I actually hope Apple’s lawyers request to see the phones in question so they can check them for water damage, jailbreaking, and other things that would more likely cause issues.)


Excellent, thank you.


The company does not, however, make any claims as to how well iOS 9 performs on older iPhone and iPad models.

That’s not true:
” Faster performance, improved security, convenient updates, and longer battery life “
(From )

I honestly don’t know how well it runs compared to iOS8 on a 4s, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it is slower. In fact, I’d expect that. But they’re saying it is faster. If that’s not true, then there really is an issue.

Consider the rest of the situation- once you upgrade, you cannot go back. Therefore you’re more likely to upgrade to a newer iPhone (since you’re pretty much stuck in an ecosystem).



Lee Dronick

I didn’t notice iOS 9 running slower when I upgraded to it on our iPhone 4S. Now on the other hand it was dog slow on my iPad 2, so slow that I did buy a new iPad. The updates seem to have fixed most of the slowness and the iPad is still being used; I say most of the slowness because it does have a slower processor compared to the new iPad.


The key to this is for Apple to let people downgrade!

One should also be able to restore their phones to what they originally bought—and then work their way back up, if they wish.

They’d also have a case relative to Apple’s forcing the upgrade files onto people’s iPhones and iPads.  There’s not an option to block that—at least, if you have a recent iOS, you can root around and delete the upgrade file.  Older iOS are out, though.

Even the supposed “choice” to upgrade is something that can happen all too inadvertently (the iTunes dialog pane is confusing).

I realize that Apple wants to get people onto recent iOSs—security, support help, and publicity—but there needs to be some flexibility.


Deja vu, wasn’t there also a lawsuit that an iOS upgrade ruined the performance of the iPhone 3GS too?


My 4s and iPad 4 have slowed in that the screen stutters and snags when scrolling. When I open the Music app, on the 4s. the screen won’t respond for about 15 seconds - it’ s just frozen. After that, the scrolling resumes and the music plays fine, but the iPhone lustre is gone. It’s like using a cheap android phone. Scrolling in Safari is sticky. I don’t use these two devices for much more than email, music and web surfing, and have a 6s and iPad Air 2. I would be in trouble, and very upset, if they were my primary devices.
A favorite app, bought for the iPhone 1, has broken. I’m going to miss that beautiful solitaire app (Top 3 Solitaire - fix it please!)

Paul Goodwin

Lee   - I still use an iPad 2 32 GB running iOS 7.1.2 and it’s still running pretty smoothly. I was wondering whether I should ever upgrade it to iOS 9. I skipped 8.  Does yours run OK on iOS 9?

Lee Dronick

Paul it runs OK, but not great. Unless you need the new features of iOS 9 then it may best to stick with what works. I am mostly using the iPad 2 for web surfing, email and such. The newer iPad is also used for Pixelmator, Pages and that kind of stuff.

Paul Goodwin

Lee - thanks. I mostly use mine for email, web surfing, and photo crops. I still may keep the old iOS in it. I’m not even sure I should update apps any more. I’ve done a few updates lately where the app tries to open but just crashes but still is there not doing anything when you double tap the home button. I don’t think all developers are doing testing with iOS 7.


I updated a 4s and it became so slow and kept freezing it was unusable

I went out and bought the 6

I’m in the uk, interesting to see what happens with this


iOS 8 was certainly horrible on my iPod touch (5th get I think?) and iOS 9 didn’t make it any better performance wise.  Apple should try to maintain performance with every release IMHO!

Lee Dronick

One more thing Pau, my old iPad is also a TV remote. The TV tuning in that room is controlled by the Uverse box in a different room, they are connected via coax.

Lee Dronick

It also is a control for the HUE lights.

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