A broken iPhone and some dollar bills.
Olga Steckel/Shutterstock.com

Apple has agreed to a $500 million settlement for secretly throttling iPhone performance. It isn’t finalized yet, but Apple will pay “up to” $25 to everyone who bought an iPhone 6 or iPhone 7 device. You probably won’t get that much money.

As usual with these settlements, you’ll read a lot online about how Apple will pay you $25 per device. That’s already actually pretty low if you bought a new iPhone to replace an existing iPhone that mysteriously stopped performing well. But you’re not likely to even get that $25.

Read the fine print, per Bloomberg Law:

Class members will receive $25 for each iPhone owned. However, that amount could increase or decrease depending in part on the number of approved claims, the filing says.

The maximum settlement is $500 million. $93 million will go to attorneys’ fees—that’s who’s making the real money here, as usual—and “up to $1.5 million” for expenses. People actually named in the lawsuit will get between $1500 and $3500. Everyone else will be competing for whatever’s leftover.

If many people hear about this lawsuit and file a claim online—it’ll be big news and easy to do—then there won’t be very much cash left. It’ll be divided amongst everyone who files a claim, so you could just get a few bucks.

After all, that’s what happened with the Equifax breach. Everyone heard about how they were entitled to claim $125 from a settlement after the Equifax credit reporting agency leaked the details on hundreds of millions of Americans.

Those Equifax settlement checks haven’t gone out yet, but many people heard about it and claimed the cash. The FTC warned that “the public response to the settlement has been overwhelming” and that “each person who takes the money option will wind up only getting a small amount of money.” The FTC advised people to choose free credit monitoring to help protect themselves from identity thieves instead of the small amount of cash.

So sure, you’ll soon be able to claim some cash if you purchased an iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6s Plus, 7, 7 Plus, or SE device. But we’d be shocked if you actually get the promised $25 per device. That’s not how these settlements work.

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Chris Hoffman Chris Hoffman
Chris Hoffman is Editor in Chief of How-To Geek. He's written about technology for nearly a decade and was a PCWorld columnist for two years. Chris has written for The New York Times, been interviewed as a technology expert on TV stations like Miami's NBC 6, and had his work covered by news outlets like the BBC. Since 2011, Chris has written over 2,000 articles that have been read more than 500 million times---and that's just here at How-To Geek.
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