April 14, 2024

Apple Pays $25M Settlement Over Family Sharing Lawsuit

Settling a class-action lawsuit over its Family Sharing feature, Apple has agreed to pay $25 million. Filed in 2019, the lawsuit accused the tech giant of misinterpreting the “ability to use its Family Sharing feature to share subscriptions to apps.” However, despite agreeing to the settlement, Apple maintains that it did not make any misleading interpretations.

Apple enters into this agreement without in any way acknowledging any fault, liability, or wrongdoing of any kind.Apple’s settlement agreement

Eligible Class Members to Receive Compensation

Of the $25 million that Apple has agreed to pay, attorney fees will account for $10 million. The remaining amount will be used to compensate eligible class members who file their claims where each class member filing a claim would be eligible to receive at least $30, and the amount can go up to $50 depending on the number of claims.

Those eligible will receive emails this week, notifying them of their eligibility.

Eligible class members have been given until March 1, 2024, to file their claims, after which a final approval hearing will be held on the 2nd of April.

According to the settlement agreement, US users who enrolled in Apple’s Family sharing program between June 21, 2015 and January 30, 2019, and bought an app subscription from the App Store during this period, might be eligible for compensation.

What Exactly Was the Lawsuit About?

First introduced in iOS 8 in June 2014, Apple’s Family Sharing program allows users to share access to their purchases on the App Store, iBooks Store, iTunes Store, Apple News+ Subscription, Apple Music family subscription, and iCloud storage plan with family members. A total of six members can be included in each Family Sharing plan, i.e., the user and five other family members.

The lawsuit alleges that Apple misled its customers by advertising Family Sharing as an option available on apps that did not actually support the feature.

As per claims, the feature can’t be used on a host of different iOS apps with subscription models. The court document also listed the apps that had a statement on their landing pages through January 30, 2019, claiming that they support Family Sharing.

The tech giant allegedly placed an ad for Family Sharing on the said subscription-based apps despite knowing that they didn’t support the feature.

Millions of users downloaded subscription-based Apple apps believing them to be available for Family Sharing, claims the lawsuit. It also added that they didn’t know that Family Sharing wasn’t actually supported on the said apps until they had already made a payment.

Apple, however, still stands its ground, denying all allegations of wrongdoing and causing any misleading interpretations. The company entered the settlement only because continuing the court battle would be too costly and burdensome, it claimed.

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