Apple’s $14.8M iCloud Settlement: Do You Qualify for Money?
Apple is preparing to pay out $14.8 million as part of a class-action settlement that alleges the company stored iCloud subscribers’ data on third-party servers without notifying them.
The free version of Apple iCloud comes with 5GB of storage, but additional storage requires a paid iCloud Plus subscription. Plaintiffs in Williams v. Apple alleged that Apple did not mention external servers in its marketing materials or terms of service. (The current iCloud customer agreement refers to third-party servers.)
Although Apple did not admit to wrongdoing, the company agreed to the settlement in January. A final approval hearing is scheduled for Aug. 4, but a May 23 deadline to ask to be disqualified from the settlement — and retain your right to sue Apple — is fast approaching.
Here’s what you need to know about the Apple iCloud comparison, including how to know if you’re eligible, how you’ll get paid, and how much to expect.
What has Apple been accused of?
The plaintiffs in Williams v. Apple claim the company failed to store customer data on its own servers. Instead, the company shared data between third-party cloud services like Amazon Web Services, Google, and Microsoft’s Azure platform, according to court filings — a violation of Apple’s own iCloud contract.
The plaintiffs allege that Apple “lacked the necessary infrastructure” to operate iCloud and that Apple misrepresented the nature of its service by “only reselling cloud storage space on other companies’ cloud facilities.”
Customers wouldn’t have paid for a subscription if they knew Apple didn’t provide direct storage, they claim, or expected to pay much less. The alleged misrepresentation enabled Apple “to charge a premium for its iCloud service because subscribers valued having the ‘Apple’ brand as the provider of the storage service,” the lawsuit states.
Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Who is eligible to participate in the iCloud Agreement?
The comparison includes US residents who paid for an iCloud Plus subscription between September 16, 2015 and January 31, 2016 and had a US mailing address associated with their account.
How do I find out if I qualify?
You really don’t have to do anything. As long as the email address you used to sign up for iCloud Plus storage is still active, you should receive a notification that you’re an eligible recipient or “class member.”
How much can I get in the settlement?
The exact amount of each payment depends on how much storage you paid for, how long you had your subscription, and how many total people participate in the claim.
Don’t expect to back down on the payout, though: Between 2015 and 2016, an iCloud subscription ranged from 99 cents for 50GB of cloud storage to 200GB for $2.99 to $9.99 for 1TB of storage.
In 2018, CNBC reported that there were 170 million paid iCloud Plus subscribers worldwide, so individual payouts could amount to a few dollars.
How will I get paid if I qualify?
Class members receive payment automatically. If you still have a monthly iCloud Plus subscription, your payment will appear as a credit on your Apple account.
If you’re out of monthly iCloud subscription, you’ll receive a physical check in the mail. Class members can also request their payment through an electronic transfer directly into their bank account.
When is the deadline for deregistration?
If you wish to retain the right to be part of another lawsuit against Apple over its iCloud Plus subscription service, you have until May 23, 2022 to request exclusion from the class settlement.
But if you do so, you waive the right to receive payment if that settlement is approved.
You can also object to the settlement in writing by May 23. If the court approves the settlement, you may still be able to receive a group payment.
In other settlement-related news, you can find out if you qualify for Intuit’s $141 TurboTax settlement, learn details about student loan company Navient’s $1.86 billion settlement, and learn more about thea service that connects consumers’ bank accounts to apps like Venmo, Betterment, Robinhood, and Acorn.
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