Lawsuit: Apple Intentionally Crippled iPhone 3G/3GS w/iOS 4

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Apple has a new class action lawsuit on its hand, this one accusing the company of intentionally crippling iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS with iOS 4 so that owners of the older devices would upgrade to new iPhone 4 models. Bianca Wofford, the lead plaintiff in the case, accuses Apple of deliberately turning her iPhone into an “iBrick” with iOS 4.

At the heart of the complaint are the following claims: The first is that iOS 4 turns iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS into, “a device with little more use than that of a paper weight.” Secondly, Apple knew this, but presented iOS 4 as a significant upgrade for the devices. Thirdly, the lawsuit alleges that Apple deliberately did so in order to increase sales of its new iPhone 4.

“This whole situation was created to be a consumer Catch 22 by Apple in order for the company to promote sales of its just released iPhone 4 and cause consumers to simply abandon the earlier 3G and 3GS platforms,” the plaintiff’s attorneys said in the suit.

To seal the deal on this cruel plan of Apple’s is the company’s policy preventing her from reverting to an older version of iOS (for instance, iPhone OS 3.x).

“Even though Apple has actual knowledge of thousands of complaints from iPhone 3G/3GS consumers,” the lawsuit claims, “Apple does not allow for those same users/consumers of third generation devices to download and re-install earlier and optimized iOS3.x operating system without resorting to ‘hacker’ tactics that will void Apple warranties and violate iPhone user agreements.”

“In essence,” the attorneys wrote, “Apple knowingly and intentionally released what it called a system software ‘upgrade’ that, in fact, made hundreds of thousands of third generation iPhones that were exclusively tethered to AT&T data plans ‘useless’ for their intended purpose.”

According to coverage of the suit by Courthouse News, the suit seeks restitution, disgorgement of Apple’s ill-gotten gains, and damages for false and deceptive advertising, unfair competition, and violations of state consumer protection laws.

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i have 3GS running iOS 4.1 and everything is super fast. Not sure why they included 3GS in the claim!


What a crock.  iOS 4.0x definitely made my iPhone 3G unusable, but they admirably fixed the issues with iOS 4.1.  There’s no reason to go backwards when you can go forwards.  This thing sounds like meritless litigious moneygrubbing.


It is glitching up all of the devices. I work at a tech shop on campus and I’ve had dozens of people with ‘bricked’ devices coming in to get help.

Aditya Kandala

Guys, the upgrade was optional. I still have friends who havent upgraded their phones to iOS4. Cut them some slack and think about it before filing lawsuits against them.


I don’t agree with the lawsuit but I do think that given an optional upgrade, it should also be an option to simply and easily revert to a previous version if desired by the consumer.


And here we have another mindless person who files law suits at every chance possible.


Crap. Who knew? I could have sued Apple when they stopped supporting Classic thus crippling my install of Quark Xpress 3.32, forcing me to upgrade. Damn!
Give me a break.


Technology has become out of control.  A cell phone should not be a personal computer, simply a way to contact someone.  If you ask me all of this is completely unnecessary anyway.  It’s your own fault for buying the product and upgrading the device.  Apple knows how greedy people are to have the newest and the best and they did what any other company would do, take advantage of this to maximize profits.


@Aditya Kandala

Cut them some slack and think about it before filing lawsuits against them.

Why would anyone cut apple slack?  They are the king of sueing people - I think this is great, apple needs to learn there are consequences to their stupid actions


My 3g slowed down after I TRUSTED Apple to not install an update to a device that couldn’t handle it. 4.1 did not solve the problem. There was no consumer-friendly way to re-install 3.x. I switched to another kind of phone.
And I’m an Apple faithful since 1986.


I’ve heard more frustration with the iOS4 on 3G phones so I agree it may be much to include 3GS phones.

While people should know better than to upgrade anything (in life), I can see how many people really had no clue that they should resist the temptation of iOS4.

From what I’ve read, iOS4.1 is a definite improvement over iOS4.0 but there are just as many people whose phones took a huge performance hit.

It looks like rolling back to iOS3 DOES involve some “hacker tactics” but since you are reverting to an official firmware release (aren’t you? wink I don’t know that this would void the warranty or user agreement; it just seems more likely that the average user would screw it up.

Finally, this is not exactly unusual for Apple ... they often release updates/upgrades for their computers/iPhones that CAN run on these devices but really never should be installed on them to begin with. Apple should warn people, in my opinion, but I also think that they aren’t always aware of how badly they sometimes cripple their own technology until it is released into the wild. They can only test so many devices….

Indiana Vin

I have a 3GS with iOS 4.1 and it has worked perfectly since I upgraded. I would be pretty upset if my iPhone stopped working.  Not sure what’s going on here.


I downgraded my 3G from 4.0 by doing a factory reset. It fixed the firmware and was good as the day I bought it. But since I’d bought a 4, I sold it for $75 to a 15 year old. He still has it.

The upgrade was optional, and I had done it. Yes, Spotlight slowed it down (heck it can bring a Quad Core Mac Pro to its knees at the first indexing job). But after disabling the unneeded things in Spotlight, it worked JUST fine.

The lawsuit is a crock and is just a case of juris Shaftus.


Can’t please everyone, if they didn’t allow the firmware upgrade then people would be doing the same crap saying that they are intentionally leaving the new features out of the old phones so people would upgrade. It’s a lose lose situation, you have old hardware, you are going to have a less than optimal experience. Come on people, computers have been around long enough that you should know this.


viva android.


Ho hum… Apple has been doing this for years, particularly with their computers.  Mac people are usually too tied up with their trendy “I’m different just like everyone else” attitude that they fail to notice.  Obviously they need the latest and greatest apple offering, right?  It’s no surprise their 2 year old device runs like turd, the software is just sooo much more sophisticated, right?


Don’t own an iPhone, but I know after iOS 4 (and still with 4.1) I have to recharge my iPod touch 2nd generation every day instead of once every few days.

Robert C.

I’ve complained and complained to Apple.  They positioned this OSi4 as an essential upgrade, when it should never have been suggested for the 3G phones.  When i went to the Apple Store on Manhattan’s upper Westside, one sales person said that all the sales people were advising customers with 3G phones NOT to upgrade because of the problems.  It was too late for me.  My iPhone crawls… it freezes… it’s a shame and very very frustrating.


You don’t have to upgrade you know.


The true about the iphone 3G is that it doesn’t have the memory requirement to handle iOS4.  Apple knows this.  Steve Jobs himself mentions that iphone 3G can’t handle multitasking.  What he fails to mention is that all apple applications run in the background and will eat up the iphone memory.  All it takes it running the safari browser and browse a couple of pages with pictures and opening up text messages and the iphone 3G will crap out.


You don?t have to upgrade you know.

Well, Apple didn’t list all these problems as features of iOS 4. They could have posted minimum and recommended hardware as they do with Mac apps.


DANG IT ALL!!  Bianca Wofford et al., beat me to it!

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Deliberate or not, this is a “cost” of Apple’s general model of taking control away from customers. And since customers can’t remedy the breakage without violating licenses or voiding warranties, it ends up in court. Go get ‘em Bianca.

Colin Angus

I owned a 3G and purchased a 4. I gave my old one to my wife who was ecstatic to finally get an iPhone. Well, before I gave it to her I updated everything….. Big mistake!! She stumbled through the day with frequent crashes and SLOW response. 2 months later 4.1 was installed which helped a bit but still not like the was. My question is didn’t they run beta tests on other phones before releasing? They HAD to know that it was way too heavy for 3g’s. For knowing it and still offering the upgrade, sue em’. Tired of them thumbing their nose at everyone.

Travis Schultz

I got rid of my iPhone about two weeks after the 4.0 upgrade came out due to the slow speed.  While this isn’t a new tactic in the corporate strategy to gain a higher profit margin, it certainly does make me angry.  I hope she crucifies them.  The little guy has to get theirs once in a while.


I hope that apple looses this lawsuit. Do you guys think that they are a perfect company that wouldnt mind having people with older gen iphones upgrade to their newest phone? Its business. It seems legit that they would purposely do that. Besides, Apple seems to be suing every company that has a phone that directly rivles with the iphone, so maybe they should be on this end of a lawsuit for once.

Bihari Babu

To be honest, this is what happens when a company grows too fast. All crooked minds join in the group and spoil the hard honest people’s work in the company. In other words, the good becomes the bad.


Yes, the same should happened on my iPod Touch 2G. Its been dead slow and takes forever to open any app.

Boo Apple!

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

To be honest, this is what happens when a company grows too fast. All crooked minds join in the group and spoil the hard honest people?s work in the company. In other words, the good becomes the bad.

I think it’s more like what happens when a cult goes mainstream. From 1996 to 2008, nobody inside could say “no” to Steve. There were ways that Apple people talked such as “Steve has said” and “Steve’s directions on this have been clear” that sounded silly 5 and 10 years ago, but are now dangerous.

Look at the above comments. There are plenty of people who are adversely affected by the upgrade with no legitimate (or even easy) way to go back to what worked for them. It’s been months. If Apple truly cared more about the customer experience than preserving control of their “single widget” model, they’d have enabled a work-around. This is why they need to be sued over it.


Just not true. I have 4.1 on an old 3G I have around, and it runs as snappily as ever. Prior to the 4.1 update network related functions slowed everything to a crawl (though normal speed resumed after a process was finished), but 4.1 fixed it, as promised. And it hasn’t ever ‘crapped out’, even with the bugs in 4.0. Granted, it doesn’t do multitasking, etc. like my newer hardware, but I actually find it impressive that the latest OS works so well on an older device that’s been through the wringer. Still plays games like a champ, that’s for sure.

These lawsuits are certainly nothing new and not unique to Apple. I would be surprised if they didn’t budget for this stuff like a restaurant does for meals they have to throw away.


I have to recharge my iPod touch 2nd generation every day instead of once every few days.

Have you tried resetting the Network Prefs ?

My touch had the battery drainage problem after the last iOS update but resetting the Network Prefs fixed it.


My 3gs was most surely running slower after “upgrading” to ios4.  Not even close to being as smooth as 3.x.  I also get much more app crashes on my phone that before.


As soon as I upgraded my 3G to 4.0 I could see that that was Apple’s plan all along, so I dumped them and bought a DroidX the day it was released. I’ll never give up my MacBook, but they can keep their crapPhone.


I can see merit to this case. The 3G phone suffered performance issues with the update. People should be allowed to return to their phone to original performance with an earlier version of software. With no other option of remedy for the phone,  a lawsuit has merit.


took my 3g to the apple store in London telling them reinstall the 3.x software or i would throw the useless phone in the thames. they didn’t, i didn’t and my original 1g is faster and i use it now. sign me up for the class action lawsuit!


As far as I know many users have some problems with tenderness of their iPhones especially after updating. I also heard that sometimes it loses the charge too fast and quickly becomes very hot.

And some video:


I have 3g, 3gs, and 4. All running ios 4.1 and jailbroken. ALL OF THEM. I haven’t experienced an issue on any device? I even have multitasking on the 3g! Which can chug at times, but u just purge some memory and your good. There is nothing wrong w/ 3g on 4.X. This is stupid! IF YOU BUY A CAR? THEN TRADE IN FOR THE NEW MODEL? COULD YOU GO BACK IN A WEEK AND SAY, “THE BIGGER ENGINE USES MORE GAS, MY INSURANCE IS MORE EXPENSIVE!! I DONT LIKE THAT. CAN I HAVE MY OLD CAR BACK?”

Dean Lewis

And all the Apple haters come out of the woodwork. As if other computers and devices run all upgraded software perfectly well, too. As was said, updating an older device—even one just two generations older—is taking a risk. And that goes for software as well as for OSes. (There’s a reason people still use older versions of graphic editors, word processors, games, etc. on their computers, and it isn’t because they are lazy or cheap.)

Good luck with those Android upgrades. I’m sure they’ll never outgrow the devices. And a Symbian upgrade has never bricked a phone….riiiiight.

The only thing out of these comments that is useful is that there should be an easier downgrade path. A simple and easy backup method before installation and a one-button method to restore to the state before the upgrade would be excellent. But do those already exist? And are we sure that Apple wouldn’t or can’t install iOS 3x if you take the phone to an Apple store or call for assistance?

Those latter questions will likely come up as the lawsuit progresses—if it does.


Plus, Apple is testing new iPhone models on crack babies that they’re stealing from street people.


The lawsuit declaration is really flippant. “A device with little more use than that of a paperweight”? And including the 3GS in this? Sounds like someone just wanted to be in the news.

But seriously. Use an iPhone 3G for a day and it’s obvious they didn’t intend for anyone to keep using it with iOS4.


A person should ALWAYS have the option of uninstalling sw/OS and re-installing older sw/OS!

Shame on Apple for not so allowing and providing an easy way to do so!

In this case, Apple was asking for a lawsuit.

Yes, you don’t HAVE to upgrade.  But, if you choose to do so, there should always be a way to uninstall and reverse the process.  That’s just common sense.

The devices (hardware) is OURS.  Let us do what we want with them.  Apple has come to thinking of the HW as being theirs….and just leased to us.


Actually, linux rarely has this problem.  I think you can run most distros (with the exception of ubuntu) equally well on a 486 dx2 66mhz as you could on a brand new i9 chip.  This has very little to do with Mac hate (don’t flatter yourself, fanboys) and everything to do with a pretentious and obviously false commitment to the ‘user experience.’  The apple machine has hidden behind the mantra of creating a “superior” user experience whenever they get high-handed with a decision that screws the users, but in this case, they’ve screwed the users without even a reach around.

iphone linux can be used to fix your issues without losing any of your data and restore your old OS.  That is, if you mac people can get your head around how to use it.


I can amaze any Genius.  All I need to do is walk into an Apple Store and show them how my 3G phone works - it’s not just slow; it’s buggy. 

But it really irks when they tell me they can’t fix it - because I’m never sure if it’s “can’t” or “won’t” or “not allowed to”; and the white case is showing stress cracks.

It’s a poor way to treat customers.

Colin Angus

Lmfao. Imagine that, I tried downloading starfire app so I can view flash videos and the app store conveniently can’t find it. I go to the authors site for the download link, it then redirects me to the app store, then app store gives me an error message. Get of your damn high horse Steve!!! No wonder I jailbreak all my devices.


Starfire’s servers were overloaded. Apple didn’t pull it. They just got overwhelmed.



“a phone should not be a computer”

is like saying “a cart drawn by horses should not have the horses removed and an engine put on”


change is inevitable..  and it’s a beautiful thing..  you must be old and crusty..  M.C. Dusty..

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