Apple agrees to pay out $25M to settle lawsuit over Family Sharing

Apple has agreed to pay out $25 million to settle a class action lawsuit over its Family Sharing feature, which lets users and up to five of their family members share access to apps, music, movies, TV shows and books that they purchase. The lawsuit, which was first filed in 2019, alleged that “Apple misrepresented the ability to use its Family Sharing feature to share subscriptions to apps.”

The news was first reported by MacRumors.

The lawsuit says that Apple denies that it made any misleading misrepresentations and “denies all allegations of wrongdoing.” The settlement agreement notes that “Apple has concluded that continuing to defend this Action would be burdensome and expensive. Apple enters into this Agreement without in any way acknowledging any fault, liability, or wrongdoing of any kind.”

The tech giant did not respond to TechCrunch’s request for comment.

Court documents from the lawsuit allege that Apple advertised Family Sharing as an option on apps that did not support Family Sharing.

“The vast majority of subscription-based Apps, which is a growing percentage of Apple Apps, cannot be shared with designated family members,” the court document reads. “They are available only to the individual user who downloads the App and sets up a subscription. All or virtually all of these Apps, however, included the statement that they support Family Sharing on their landing pages through January 30, 2019.”

The lawsuit alleges that Apple was aware that the subscription-based apps did not support Family Sharing, but still placed an ad for Family Sharing on them. The court document goes on to note that “millions of consumers have downloaded subscription-based Apps believing that they are available for Family Sharing, only to learn after payment has been made that they are not so available.”

U.S. residents who were enrolled in a Family Sharing group with at least one other person between June 21, 2015 and January 30, 2019 and purchased a subscription to an app from the App Store during that time may be eligible for a payment. Eligible class members will be receiving an email this week.

Each class member that files a claim is eligible to receive $30, but this may vary depending on how many people file claims. However, the payment will not exceed $50 for each class member, and $10 million from the settlement will go toward attorney fees.

Eligible class members have until March 1, 2024 to file a claim. A final approval hearing is scheduled for April 2, 2024.

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