The class action was brought on behalf of Apple phone users that suffered an Error 53 code which is the result of an imbedded function within iOS, Apple’s operating system, that affects iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s, and iPhone 6s Plus smartphones. The code has rendered thousands of the smartphones completely disabled or “bricked” after its users updated iOS or restored the device from a backup.
As alleged, consumers began receiving an Error 53 code in early 2015, and likely earlier. Many consumers raised the issue with Apple representatives immediately because an inoperable phone represented hardships both personally and professionally. Apple representatives told consumers that disabled phones could not be fixed under warranty and were a problem the consumer created by using an unauthorized repair service to fix a hardware issue with the phone. Some consumers had used a repair service other than an Apple service to fix problems such as broken screens and “Home” buttons, but they pointed out to Apple representatives that nothing in marketing materials or purchase documents ever disclosed that their iPhone products would be destroyed by an imbedded software code if they had repaired iPhones using an independent service and then updated to certain iOS versions. Other consumers advised Apple representatives that no repairs had been done but the error code had disabled their iPhone anyway. Apple has regularly advised consumers who have experienced the Error 53 code that their situation will not be fixed under warranty and, frequently, that the only solution is to purchase a new phone. Despite months of opportunity to provide a replacement iPhone and/or restore existing iPhones, Apple has offered no remedy to or relief for its customers. This lawsuit seeks to provide both remedy and relief for consumers of the Affected Models who have experienced the Error 53 code.
The “security features” and “security” measures that gave rise to the Error 53 code were included within iOS version 8.0.1 and all subsequent versions of the iOS 8 operating system, as well as the iOS 9 operating system and subsequent versions. Despite knowing about the security features, Apple took no steps to warn consumers and owners of the Affected Models that updating software or restoring data would result in an Error 53 code that would render the phone inoperable and cause data loss. As of November 2015, it was estimated that more than 62 million units of the Affected Models were in use in the United States, meaning that Apple’s misleading and unfair practices as alleged in this Complaint have had and will continue to have a widespread impact on consumers throughout the nation.