Storage wars: Class action lawsuit filed against Apple over iPhone storage capacity

Storage wars: Class action lawsuit filed against Apple over iPhone storage capacity
We have opined about storage on mobile devices in the past, and no one can really claim they do not know about system resources making use of said storage.

Nonetheless, that has not stopped a group of people filing a lawsuit against Apple for failing to disclose the true amount of storage available on iOS devices and subsequently aggressively marketing iCloud storage.

The complaint alleges, “the discrepancy between advertised and available capacity is substantial and beyond any possible reasonable expectation. For the Devices, the shortfall ranges from 18.1-23.1%.” The complaint further claims that Apple knows about this, but fails to provide any notice in advertising or marketing materials.

iOS devices, like many other platforms, have partitioned storage, a root portion for system software, and a media portion for consumer stuff like pictures and emails and other media. The plaintiffs claim that the root partition is “larger than it needs to be” and that valuable space can go unused while the media partition fills up.

The complaint does not stop there either, it also lambastes Apple for not allowing users access cloud storage from other services, offer the ability to transfer files using a “file manager” utility, or make use of SD cards. Apple “gives less storage capacity than advertised, only to offer to sell that capacity in a desperate moment, e.g., when a consumer is trying to record or take photos at a child or grandchild’s recital, basketball game or wedding.”

In a table presented in the complaint documents, the plaintiffs carefully outline the impact iOS has on 16GB devices. Of course, what takes up 20% of a base 16GB iPhone only takes 5% of a 64GB model, and only 2% of a 128GB iPhone. No one would argue that a smartphone manufacturer’s biggest markup is on storage, and there may be quite a number of average consumers that do not think of things like system overhead, but the allegation that Apple is knowingly trying to deceive customers over the issue looks like a stretch.

Apple has not yet responded, but it is not difficult to scroll through the specification page on Apple’s website to see the first footnote that says, “1GB = 1 billion bytes; actual formatted capacity is less.” We have seen that line before, like on Samsung products where Android topped with TouchWiz will take up nearly 50% of available 16GB of storage.

source: Forbes



1. Goldeneye

Posts: 419; Member since: Jan 22, 2011

No I don't think this is a frivolous lawsuit, all manufacturers need to start to advertise the actual available memory, SD and hard drives included.

50. Larry_ThaGr81

Posts: 592; Member since: May 26, 2011

I feel that all manufacturers and/or sellers of physical memory regardless of it's form should be required to advertise "total memory capacity" as well as the "user available memory." This lawsuit should be thrown out in favor of fixing an ongoing issue that has plagued our society for years.

2. darkkjedii

Posts: 31320; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

This'll be tossed out, and should be. Apple outlines storage in great detail. Stop being cheap, and by a larger capacity model. The Jed is only using 21.6 gigs on my 128 gigster, overkill rocks...sometimes.

8. Mxyzptlk unregistered

Agreed. +1 for the truth

15. darkkjedii

Posts: 31320; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

It won't see the light of day bro, and shouldn't.

24. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

I was very piss with Samsung way back with their Samsung Omnia 2 phone. Same issue they need to let consumer know the actual user storage space so that the purchase decision made is an informed one. HDD manufacturer of the past is also guilty of not giving the consumer the correct storage size till a lawsuit force them to. Now, every HDD we purchase they will list 1TB = 1000GB not the mathematically correct one of 1TB = 1024 GB. I support Goldeneye, its basic honesty on the manufacturer part to inform consumer on the actual storage they will be getting instead of advertising 16GB but only receiving 10GB for Samsung Galaxy S4 case. I know Apple is not as bad as Samsung but still the same rule applied.

28. darkkjedii

Posts: 31320; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

I think the suit should be allowed, only if there's compelling evidence that they tried to mislead people. I don't think that's the case bro. I don't think samsung tried to either. I had the first omnia, running windows mobile 6.x. It was the prelude to the S-Pen lol, with the little stylus. One of the most gorgeous phones I ever owned.

30. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

I respect your view. To me if i try to load 16GB of content into a 16GB device and are unable to that is misleading. Learn from the HDD manufacturers just put a label saying "actual usable storage space is e.g 25% lower than listed storage modal" Problem solved. Its least they are informing and the consumer can buy the model that best fit their need.

36. darkkjedii

Posts: 31320; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

I can dig that, makes sense.

49. Larry_ThaGr81

Posts: 592; Member since: May 26, 2011

I've started to see that myself where the seller uses a phrase like "user available memory" or something of that sort.

23. xondk

Posts: 1904; Member since: Mar 25, 2014

Well considering the prices for the non 16 gb versions of iphones rises by a lot considering the actual extra space, I would say that it has nothing to do with being 'cheap'

3. AlikMalix unregistered

I don't get it, everyone is guilty - only Apple get sued. But I've been always saying this - storage advertised, should mean storage available. Samsung would literally not be able to sell with their 8gb storage capacity. And Apple should not even sold the 16gb model with iPhone 6/6+ (I don't care what android manufacturers do). 32gb should be the minimum.

10. tedkord

Posts: 17415; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

They're being sued by Apple users. Apple users can't sue Samsung or Seagate over this.

19. AlikMalix unregistered

I'm just making a point that Apple gets sued by regular people for little things like that others don't. Creates a sense that everyone is just out for apples multi billion dollar pie. But I guess that's the world we live in.

26. shuaibhere

Posts: 1986; Member since: Jul 07, 2012

I don't support this law suit .. But I think one of the reason is apple doesnt allow expandable storage... And again a question to you??? Why apple always files lawsuit against samsung when there are many companies which blatantly copy apple....after samsungs million dollar pie???

32. AlikMalix unregistered

Because HTC,Windows, and etc. (not the xiomi or the other chineese brands) for example paid/asked to use certain technologies. Apple pays royalties to Motorola for example, and I bet everyone else here and there... Samsung goes straight for copying without asking... thats where the suits are necessary - one pays to use someone else's solution others dont... Apple isnt the only one suing Samsung specially recently...

48. elitewolverine

Posts: 5192; Member since: Oct 28, 2013

Windows has had a very rather good and awkward license agreement since their 1999+ lawsuits. So much so, that you will most likely never see apple vs ms in the court room over any modern technology.

46. j2001m

Posts: 3061; Member since: Apr 28, 2014

Yes and no, unlike samsung, Apple offer no sd card and go out of there way to upgrade you to 64gb ver and so on, why samsung in most cases just sends out the 16gb ver and that's it (but there top phones sold at iPhone prices will now all come with 32gb anyways, I.e. Note4 and s6 and so on)

21. willard12 unregistered

This part : "not allowing users access cloud storage from other services, offer the ability to transfer files using a “file manager” utility, or make use of SD cards" is what differentiates Apple from the rest. However, it is still frivolous because it is known before they purchase. They've just found a legal loophole because there is no disclaimer.

22. AlikMalix unregistered

You Do. Not. Need. File Manager (or iTunes for that matter) to transfer files from the device. You don't need file manager or iTunes to organize your files. And on top of that Apple provides free cloud storage on top of all the cloud storage android and windows phone users enjoy Google drive, I-drive, box, etc. all that available on iOS. I think removable storage is S.L.O.W. and often unreliable and a hassle compared to apples solutions like cloud sharing and the new photo library. Music is easily accessed. I like Apple version of file transfer, organize, and storage (built in or cloud integrated). If you're suing for this - you're using a wrong product for your needs.

25. willard12 unregistered

I agree the suit is frivolous. But the debate on allowing options, whether the user chooses them or not, is a separate discussion.

33. AlikMalix unregistered

The options are.. this is how Apple does it with iOS interface and ecosystem, but introducing a different way (may not be a popular way), Google/Windows/TouchWiz/Etc does it another way - the option is yours to choose... I would really not care about expendable storage as I enjoy relying on free cloud I got set up at home (2TB), others may not live where they have consistent 4G/LTE and need/prefer to carry extra SD cards with music spread out, or even a portable harddrive (I've also seen phone cases that hide expendable storage even for iphones). Per your argument, by not pushing every considerable feature/gimmick the moment it's ready (or not) is apples way to build a great user interface and ecosystem that works for 95% of population (Android is different but also works for 95% of population) people just choose and out of all the mobile manufacturers Apple is selling the most, or nearly the most sometimes - so they're doing it right. If you truely want other options that apple doesnt offer - get an android - apple's loss. It's like saying, Porsche does not offer a 4X8 foot loading bed like trucks - well, should we sue Porsche or just go buy a Ford truck instead? No one forced you to use an iPhone when you wanted widgets or expandable storage - and Apple never advertised expendable storage and not provide the option... they provide a more forward solution and a better, faster implemented/optimized options with built in options of 64gb and 128gb which is actually an option missing on Android phones - should I sue HTC/SAMSUNG/NEXUS/LG for not giving me a built in 64/128GB options? No, I would go and buy an iPhone instead...

31. sachouba

Posts: 266; Member since: Jun 08, 2014

MicroSD card: 200Mbps of "upload", 640 Mbps of "download" and 128Go. When you're able to transfer your files at that speed on your 5Go of space on Apple's iCloud, call me, ok ?

35. AlikMalix unregistered

I stream music and movies nearly instantly from iCloud, Google Drive, or Harddrive at my house... But I can access my files from built in storage on an iPhone instantly rather than wait on photos load one by one from an SD card - every single time...

43. Cicero

Posts: 1137; Member since: Jan 22, 2014

Some of your statement here is like when you use Here Maps for navigating offline. Yes I need a SD card for situation when I have a slow internet connection or without (coverage or roaming). And like Apple users I will use One, G, Dropbox and Box which are better for personal file managing than iCloud. Educate people do it.

4. Planterz

Posts: 2120; Member since: Apr 30, 2012

This is completely stupid. Don't like getting ripped off by Apple for bumps in storage capacity? Then don't buy their products.

6. wilsong17 unregistered

Why you defending apple

42. Planterz

Posts: 2120; Member since: Apr 30, 2012

I'm not defending Apple. You'd be hard pressed to find someone at PA that dislikes Apple more than I do. I've been extremely vocal about Apple overcharging for bumps in storage. But a lawsuit? That's ridiculous. Either go PC/Android, Windows, or just suck it up. As others have mentioned, all manufacturers are "guilty" of not advertising actual free space. And then there's the whole 1000 vs 1024 bytes per Kb thing. A lawsuit should include all manufacturers, not just Apple. Better yet, a more proper venue, like legislation or simply an industry consensus to standardize how they advertize storage capacity (which Apple would probably flaunt anyway).

9. AlikMalix unregistered

I think you didn't read the article. This problem is spread thru any manufacturer that has products with built in storage. I'm just stumped that only Apple is getting the blame.

14. tedkord

Posts: 17415; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Again, people who bought Apple products can only sue Apple. Any other manufacturer customers can sue them if they wish.

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