Apple Denied Motion to Dismiss Lawsuit Related to Disabling FaceTime on iOS 6 and Earlier

United States district judge Lucy Koh has denied Apple's motion to dismiss a lawsuit related to disabling FaceTime on iOS 6 and earlier software versions three years ago, allowing the case to proceed as a class action lawsuit. MacRumors obtained court documents of the opinion filed electronically.


The lawsuit was filed in February by California resident and iPhone 4 owner Christina Grace, who claims Apple intentionally broke FaceTime on iOS 6 and earlier by disabling a digital certificate that caused the service to cease functioning. California resident Ken Patter was later named as a second plaintiff.

FaceTime abruptly stopped functioning for all iOS 6 users in April 2014. At the time, a spokesperson for Apple said devices may have encountered a "bug" resulting from a device certificate that expired on that date, and the company advised affected users to update to iOS 7 to fix the issue.

The lawsuit, however, alleges that Apple intentionally broke FaceTime, prioritizing its financial interests over its customers.

Apple used two connection methods when launching FaceTime in 2010: a peer-to-peer method that created a direct connection between two iPhones, allegedly used between 90 and 95 percent of the time, and a relay method that used data servers from content delivery network company Akamai Technologies.

Apple's peer-to-peer FaceTime technology was found to infringe on VirnetX's patents in 2012, however, so the company began to shift toward the relay method, which used Akamai's servers. Within a year, Apple was paying $50 million in fees to Akamai, according to testimony from the VirnetX trial.

Apple eventually solved the problem by creating new peer-to-peer technology that would debut in iOS 7 in September 2013. But not all users upgraded and, seven months later, the lawsuit alleges that Apple intentionally broke FaceTime on iOS 6 and earlier to stop paying millions per month to Akamai.

Testimony from Apple's 2016 retrial with VirnetX indicated that, between April 2013 and September 2013 alone, Apple paid approximately $50 million as a result of FaceTime functioning in relay mode only on iOS 6 and earlier.

Updating to iOS 7 could be seen as the simple solution in this situation. But the plaintiffs owned an iPhone 4 and iPhone 4s, and cited internet articles that claim updating to iOS 7 significantly impairs the performance and functionality of those smartphones. Their complaint also cited Bluetooth and Wi-Fi issues.

In its now-denied motion to dismiss, one of Apple's arguments was that the plaintiffs have no right to uninterrupted, continuous, or error-free FaceTime service under the terms of its iOS Software License Agreement. Apple also said the plaintiffs didn't experience the iOS 7 issues mentioned on their own iPhones.

The class action lawsuit would apply to all iPhone 4 or iPhone 4s owners in the United States who, on April 16, 2014, had iOS 6 or an earlier version of the operating system installed on that device. The plaintiffs claim Apple's actions violate California's Unfair Competition Law and are seeking a jury trial.


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Lawsuit Alleges Apple Broke FaceTime on iOS 6 to Force iOS 7 Upgrades, Save Money

Christina Grace of California has filed a new class-action lawsuit that alleges Apple broke FaceTime in iOS 6 to force users to upgrade to iOS 7, reports AppleInsider. According to the lawsuit, Apple forced users to upgrade so it could avoid payments on a data deal with Akamai.


The class action found its genesis in internal Apple documents and emails disclosed in the VirnetX patent infringement lawsuit, which eventually ended in Apple paying $302 million after a retrial. Apple used two connection methods when launching FaceTime in 2010: a peer-to-peer method that created a direct connection between two iPhones and a relay method that used data servers from Akamai.

When Apple's peer-to-peer FaceTime technology was found to infringe on VirnetX's patents in 2012, Apple began to shift toward Akamai's servers to handle iPhone-to-iPhone connections. A year later, Apple was paying $50 million in fees to Akamai, according to testimony from the VirnetX trial. The class-action lawsuit, pointing to an internal email titled "Ways to Reduce Relay Usage," alleges that the growing fees were beginning to bother Apple executives.

Apple eventually solved the problem by creating new peer-to-peer technology that would debut in iOS 7. The class-action lawsuit, however, alleges that Apple created a fake bug that caused a digital certificate to prematurely expire on April 16, 2014, breaking FaceTime on iOS 6. Breaking FaceTime on iOS 6, the lawsuit claims, would allow Apple to save money on users who did not upgrade to iOS 7.

At the time, Apple recognized the bug, publishing a support document saying that users who were having FaceTime connectivity problems after April 16, 2014 could update to the latest software to fix the issue. The same support document eventually removed the date "April 16, 2014," according to AppleInsider.

The lawsuit later points to an internal Apple email chain in which an engineering manager mentions that they were looking at the Akamai contract for the upcoming year and understood that Apple "did something" to reduce usage of Akamai's services. Another engineer responded by pointing out iOS 6 leaned a lot on Akamai's services and that Apple "broke iOS 6" and the only way to fix FaceTime was to upgrade to iOS 7.

Apple's developer page pegged iOS 7 adoption at 87 percent on April 7, 2014, nearly 10 days before Apple allegedly broke iOS 6. The lawsuit claims that forcing iPhone 4s and 4 users to upgrade to iOS 7 was harmful to them because the software would allegedly crash more and run more slowly.

The lawsuit is seeking undisclosed damages and to prove Apple violated California's unfair competition law.


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Lawsuit Alleges Apple Broke FaceTime on iOS 6 to Force iOS 7 Upgrades, Save Money

Christina Grace of California has filed a new class-action lawsuit that alleges Apple broke FaceTime in iOS 6 to force users to upgrade to iOS 7, reports AppleInsider. According to the lawsuit, Apple forced users to upgrade so it could avoid payments on a data deal with Akamai.


The class action found its genesis in internal Apple documents and emails disclosed in the VirnetX patent infringement lawsuit, which eventually ended in Apple paying $302 million after a retrial. Apple used two connection methods when launching FaceTime in 2010: a peer-to-peer method that created a direct connection between two iPhones and a relay method that used data servers from Akamai.

When Apple's peer-to-peer FaceTime technology was found to infringe on VirnetX's patents in 2012, Apple began to shift toward Akamai's servers to handle iPhone-to-iPhone connections. A year later, Apple was paying $50 million in fees to Akamai, according to testimony from the VirnetX trial. The class-action lawsuit, pointing to an internal email titled "Ways to Reduce Relay Usage," alleges that the growing fees were beginning to bother Apple executives.

Apple eventually solved the problem by creating new peer-to-peer technology that would debut in iOS 7. The class-action lawsuit, however, alleges that Apple created a fake bug that caused a digital certificate to prematurely expire on April 16, 2014, breaking FaceTime on iOS 6. Breaking FaceTime on iOS 6, the lawsuit claims, would allow Apple to save money on users who did not upgrade to iOS 7.

At the time, Apple recognized the bug, publishing a support document saying that users who were having FaceTime connectivity problems after April 16, 2014 could update to the latest software to fix the issue. The same support document eventually removed the date "April 16, 2014," according to AppleInsider.

The lawsuit later points to an internal Apple email chain in which an engineering manager mentions that they were looking at the Akamai contract for the upcoming year and understood that Apple "did something" to reduce usage of Akamai's services. Another engineer responded by pointing out iOS 6 leaned a lot on Akamai's services and that Apple "broke iOS 6" and the only way to fix FaceTime was to upgrade to iOS 7.

Apple's developer page pegged iOS 7 adoption at 87 percent on April 7, 2014, nearly 10 days before Apple allegedly broke iOS 6. The lawsuit claims that forcing iPhone 4s and 4 users to upgrade to iOS 7 was harmful to them because the software would allegedly crash more and run more slowly.

The lawsuit is seeking undisclosed damages and to prove Apple violated California's unfair competition law.


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Questionable Rumor Suggests Group FaceTime is Coming in iOS 11

Group FaceTime calls will be a new feature introduced in iOS 11, according to an unverified rumor shared by Israeli site The Verifier. Citing "several people familiar with iOS development," the site says group FaceTime calls are being worked on by Apple's iOS 11 team, with some of the work taking place in Israel.

Said to be a "social" update that focuses on iMessage and FaceTime development, iOS 11 will reportedly let users start multi-person calls through a group conversation in iMessage. Up to five people at once will be able to participate in a call.

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The Verifier is not a site with an established track record for accurate rumors, so it is not clear how reliable this information is. We've heard few details on iOS 11 at this point in time, so the rumor should be viewed with skepticism until backed up by a secondary source.

The site also says that Apple could choose not to release group FaceTime calls in iOS 11, instead saving the feature for a future update.

Group FaceTime calls have been a long-desired feature on iOS and Mac devices, and would go a long way towards bringing FaceTime more in line with Microsoft's Skype software, which allows several people to communicate with one another through video chats.

iOS 11 will likely be released alongside new iPhones in the fall of 2017, but we expect to see a preview of the new software at the Worldwide Developers Conference, likely to be held in June of 2017.


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