Sunday, January 17, 2016

The one thing you must know before upgrading your phone's operating system

Upgrades to mobile phone operating systems - Apple's iOS, Google's Android, etc. - often promise exciting new features on existing hardware. And they're free, so millions of users dive in as soon as the downloads become available.

We all love the sound of free, after all, don't we?

The reality is often anything but pleasant, as older, weaker hardware frequently bogs down under the weight of the new software. And now, a $5 million class action lawsuit against Apple says it knowingly crippled users of its older iPhone 4S models with the most recent iOS9 upgrade.

The lawsuit, launched by Chaim Lerman, accuses Apple of engaging in deceptive trade practices and false advertisement by claiming iOS 9 was compatible with older phones, including the iPhone 4S.

Unfortunately for iPhone 4S owners, reality was a lot crappier: After they upgraded, their phones froze, crashed and generally failed to perform properly. The lawsuit says Apple knew this would happen, but still marketed the OS as being better - faster, more feature-filled - on older hardware.

To make a bad situation worse, once you upgrade, you can't downgrade. So owners were stuck: Either keep using their now-crippled devices or trek to the Apple Store and buy a new one.

Will this have much of an impact? Likely not. It's a small dollar amount for the world's most valuable tech company, and a similar lawsuit a few years ago went nowhere,

But it serves as fair warning to smartphone (and, let's be realistic, tablet) owners: The next time a new free operating system upgrade becomes available, think twice about upgrading if your device is more than a couple of years old.

You know, that old flip phone is looking better and better with each passing day.


Tabor said...

Why is there no lawsuit against Windows 10 upgrades that have crashed many many systems?

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

I still don't have wanna them sell phones, YET.

Also, my laptop (and MAINFRAME) are both still running Windows XP.

You kids stay offa my lawn, ya hear??