Apple is facing a multi-million lawsuit over the amount of memory required by its flagship operating system (OS), which could see customers from around the globe join in the legal action.
The complaint revolves around the amount of memory iOS 8 reserves for itself on iPods, iPhones and iPads. It is alleged it takes up so much space that far less than advertised is left for people to store their own data.
Filed in California by Miami residents Paul Orshan and Christopher Endara, the complaint accuses the tech giant of “concealing, omitting and failing to disclose” that, on 16GB versions of iPhone 6 Plus models which have iOS 8 pre-installed, in excess of 20 per cent of advertised storage space is not available.
They are suing Apple both individually, “and on behalf of all others”. The complaint seeks class action status for others who purchased 16GB Apple devices and damages in excess of $5 million (£3m).
Apple has yet to issue any official comment on the lawsuit.
The pair claim that the 16GB iPhones and iPads they purchased had less than the stated amount of usable space, and that this was further reduced after upgrading an iPhone 5S from iOS 7 to iOS 8. It is further alleged by the pair that the amount of memory taken up by iOS 8 can mean users run out of storage and this is helping Apple force people to sign up for its fee-based iCloud storage system.
The latest upgrade to iOS 8 was released in late September but Apple was forced to withdraw and then reissue it because the first version meant a lot of iPhone 6 and Plus handsets could no longer make calls.
Apple issued a public apology over the botched update
The complaint reads: “Apple’s misrepresentations and omissions are deceptive and misleading because they omit material facts that an average consumer would consider in deciding whether to purchase its products. Rather ironically, Apple touts iOS 8 as ‘The biggest iOS release ever’. Of course, Apple is not referring to the literal size of iOS 8, which appears to be entirely undisclosed in its voluminous marketing materials extolling the purported virtues of iOS 8.”
They add that users who purchased iPhones, iPads, and iPods with 16GB of storage are being pushed to purchase iCloud storage because of this storage grab.
“Using these sharp business tactics, [Apple] gives less storage capacity than advertised, only to offer to sell that capacity in a desperate moment, eg when a consumer is trying to record or take photos at a child or grandchild’s recital, basketball game or wedding,” the complaint says. “To put this in context, each gigabyte of storage Apple short-changes its customers amounts to approximately 400-500 high resolution photographs.”
A chart contained within the legal complaint shows storage space on the iPhone 5S drops by 18.8 per cent, the iPad Air drops by 21.3 per cent, and the iPod by as much as 23.1 per cent, in comparison to advertised space.
Industry experts have explained that by limiting the amount of storage on entry-level phones, it is thought customers will upgrade to a larger and more expensive devices.