Apple is facing a lawsuit that could result in British iPhone owners receiving compensation for allegedly defective batteries.
The lawsuit, brought by consumer champion Justin Gutmann, was approved by a UK court on Wednesday.
Mr Gutmann claims that the tech giant deceived up to 25 million customers by “throttling” their devices without their knowledge.
This was done through software updates that reduced the performance of older handsets over time, according to the lawsuit.
The affected models reportedly include the iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6S, 6S Plus, SE, 7, and 7 Plus.
Mr Gutmann has accused Apple of taking advantage of its market dominance in the UK by effectively forcing people to pay for replacement batteries or new phones.
If the case, which Apple has called “baseless,” is successful, all owners would be eligible for compensation for each affected model they owned.
The US firm has strongly denied that any batteries in its handsets were defective, except for a few iPhone 6S models.
In those cases, it offered free battery replacements.
“We have never – and would never – do anything to intentionally shorten the life of any Apple product, or degrade the user experience to drive customer upgrades,” it said in a statement.
“Our goal has always been to create products that our customers love, and making iPhones last as long as possible is an important part of that.”
Apple previously admitted to slowing down the performance of older iPhones with deteriorating batteries, but stated that it was necessary to protect their components.
‘Major step to consumer justice’
Apple attempted to have Mr Gutmann’s lawsuit dismissed, but the Competition Appeal Tribunal has now ruled that it can proceed, although it stated that the case lacked some “clarity and specificity.”
The tribunal has asked Mr Gutmann’s legal team to resolve the issues before any trial, and he may also be required to modify his funding arrangements.
The claimant described the court’s ruling as “a major step towards consumer justice.”
“This paves the way for millions of consumers to receive the compensation they deserve,” he added.
Mr Gutmann is seeking damages of up to £1.6bn, with the midpoint range being £853m.
Apple previously paid $113m (£93m) to settle a similar case in Arizona, and $500m (£413m) to settle another in California.