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Apple sued for shrinking storage space on 16GB devices thanks to iOS 8

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Apple's caught plenty of flack for continuing to sell iPhones and iPads with just 16GB of storage in 2014, and just as much for the amount of storage needed to upgrade to iOS 8, two things that a pair of customers from Florida are suing the company over. In a legal complaint filed yesterday in California, Miami residents Paul Orshan and Christopher Endara say that the 16GB iPhones and iPads they purchased had less than that amount of usable space, something Orshan contends was further reduced after upgrading his iPhone 5S from iOS 7 to iOS 8.

"Rather ironically, Apple touts iOS 8 as 'The biggest iOS release ever.'"

The lawsuit makes clear that Apple notes the size of a gigabyte after it's been formatted by system software. But it also argues that Apple's iOS system software then takes up another large chunk of the space, reducing the usable space more when upgrading to iOS 8.

"Apple’s misrepresentations and omissions are deceptive and misleading because they omit material facts that an average consumer would consider in deciding whether to purchase its products," the complaint says. "Rather ironically, Apple touts iOS 8 as 'The biggest iOS release ever.' Of course, Apple is not referring to the literal size of iOS 8, which appears to be entirely undisclosed in its voluminous marketing materials extolling the purported virtues of iOS 8."

According to the complaint, the out of the box size discrepancy works out like this on some of Apple's newer devices, ranging from 18.1 to 23.1 percent:

Apple iOS size

The complaint, which seeks class action status for others who purchased 16GB devices, further accuses Apple pushing users to its paid iCloud storage plans to store things like photos when they run out of room on the device. It also accuses Apple of not working with third-party storage vendors and desktop file transfer utilities for customers to be able to offload their files.

"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," it says. "To put this in context, each gigabyte of storage Apple shortchanges its customers amounts to approximately 400-500 high resolution photographs."

Apple, which is not commenting on this complaint, has been sued over this before, notably over the amount of advertised storage in iPods in 2007 (which was ultimately dismissed). The big difference there is that the complaint was lodged over an 8GB iPod Nano only having 7.45GB of usable storage, which is just a 7.5 percent difference. It could be far worse. Microsoft was sued over the amount of available amount of storage in Surface, notably when users only had access to about half the storage on its earlier models.