These iPhone users really need their space. Apple Inc. was hit with a class-action lawsuit Tuesday, accusing the tech giant of greatly exaggerating the storage capacity of devices that run iOS 8, its latest mobile operating system.

In a legal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Northern California, lawyers for Paul Orshan and Christopher Endara, two Apple customers residing in Miami, say the operating system sucks up a significant percentage of the storage capacity on the iPhones, iPads and iPods that run it, thereby leaving a chunk of the advertised space unavailable to consumers.

In some cases, the capacity unavailable to users is as high as 23.1 percent, according to the lawsuit. To make matters worse, the lawyers allege, Apple then pulls the old bait-and-switch by enticing customers in need of more space to pay for extra storage on iCloud.

“Using these sharp business tactics, [Apple] gives less storage capacity than advertised, only to offer to sell that capacity in a desperate moment, e.g., when a consumer is trying to record or take photos at a child or grandchild’s recital, basketball game or wedding,” the lawyers write. “To put this in context, each gigabyte of storage Apple shortchanges its customers amounts to approximately 400-500 high resolution photographs.”

AppleGrid A table depicting alleged discrepancies between represented storage capacity and storage capacity actually available to customers. Photo: U.S. District Court

The lawyers claim Apple is violating California laws prohibiting unfair competition and false advertising. They say reasonable consumers do not expect the “marked discrepancy” between the advertised level of storage capacity and the available level of capacity on Apple devices running the OS.

Apple released iOS 8 in September to mixed reviews, with some reports saying the new operating system caused iPhone apps to crash more frequently. Earlier this month, MacRumors reported that iOS was installed on 63 percent of compatible Apple devices.

According to the lawsuit, Orshan purchased an iPhone and an iPad believing -- based on descriptions on the Apple website and in advertisements -- that the devices came equipped with 16 gigabytes of storage space. He later upgraded to iOS 8 with the belief that it would not significantly inhibit his available storage capacity. Endara purchased a 16 GB iPhone with similar assumptions.

The lawyers are seeking class-action status, meaning other similarly situated Apple customers could join the suit, possibly numbering in the tens of thousands, according to the plaintiffs.

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The plaintiffs are represented by the law firms Audet & Partners in San Francisco and Cuneo Gilbert & Laduca in Washington.   

Read the full legal complaint here.

   Apple IOS Lawsuit


Christopher Zara is a senior writer who covers media and culture. Got a news tip? Email me here. Follow me on Twitter @christopherzara.