back to article Upset fat iOS gobbles up so much storage? Too bad, so sad, says judge: Apple lawsuit axed

A US district judge has dismissed a false advertising lawsuit against Apple that tried to take the iGiant to task for its bloated mobile operating system. Three Apple customers sued the iPhone maker in California back in 2014 after their 16GB iPhone 5s and iPads lost a significant amount of internal storage space when they …

  1. Shadow Systems Silver badge

    It's marketing lies allowed to become reality.

    You buy a HDD advertised as 4Tb, plug it in, & the "formatted space may be less". Ok, then how can it be used *unformatted* such that it actualy makes available all the space it was advertised as having? If I have to format it to use it & no known OS has a file system that will leave the drive in a useable state with the advertised space, then how is that not false advertising? If you say it has X but nobody can ever use more than X-Y of it, then there is no ethical, moral, reasonable, or legal way you can say it's got X.

    Ditto with screens. Nobody measured things diagonally when it came to describing their size. If you needed a cabinet that was 100CM tall, 100CM wide, & 100CM deep you went looking for a cabinet with those dimensions. Then the screen makers pulled the diagonal measuring method out of their asses so they could sell a smaller screen described at a larger size. The aforementioned cabinet will easily hold a "100CM" screen because the "100CM" screen is actually only ~74x74CM "but has a 100CM diagonal!" BFD. Putting it in that cabinet proves it's *not* a true 100CM screen.

    Or they festoon the description with so many caveats that it's essentially impossible to get what you think you're paying for. The precooked weight may be as advertised, but the act of cooking it so it can be eaten means it's now severly less. The power output may claim to be one thing, but that's only if you do X, Y, & Z in a controlled environment "because conditions may vary" & thus bring down those values. Blah blah blah.

    It's all marketing bullshit allowed to become reality. I wish it were legal to smile at the lying bastards & then strangle them to death with their own forked tongues. It might not solve the problem, but it would certainly make me feel better.

  2. jarfil

    Re: It's marketing lies allowed to become reality.

    You can use Linux to store 4TB of data to the bare drive without a filesystem... or you can partition it, create LVM groups, format it in BTRFS, enable compression and store 8TB of data on it. Is it a 8TB drive now?

  3. Carpet Deal 'em
    Unhappy

    Re: It's marketing lies allowed to become reality.

    Actually, if you read the fine print on a modern hard drive box, they admit the advertised capacity is just them lying through their teeth: while you would normally expect 1TB to mean 1024GB of 1024MB of 1024KB of 1024 bytes each, they use 1TB to mean 1000GB of 1000MB of 1000KB of 1000 bytes each(a difference of about 9% or 93 actual gigabytes). They were sued over this, but the case was dismissed because of that disclaimer.

  4. Malcolm Weir Silver badge

    Re: It's marketing lies allowed to become reality.

    Sorry, Carpet... 1TB is not 1TiB, and the fact that you don't know/expect the difference is not someone else's fault.

    So when you wrote "_actual_ gigabytes", you really meant "_actual_ gibibytes".

    Welcome to the SI system!

    I've heard plenty of people try to justify their insistence that, for some weird reason, a gigabyte should be understood as a "gibibyte", but at the end of the day 1 megabyte is the space required to store 1 second of data arriving on a synchronous bit serial connection using an 8 megahertz clock... and therefore 1 gigabyte is the space requires to store 1000 seconds of data.

  5. Dan 55 Silver badge

    Re: It's marketing lies allowed to become reality.

    Isn't this why we have TiB and GiB now, so we can be sure we've got a real honest-to-goodness power-of-2 value which marketing haven't got their filthy tricksy hands on?

  6. Sandtitz Silver badge

    Re: It's marketing lies allowed to become reality.

    "You buy a HDD advertised as 4Tb"

    That would make it a 500 GB drive.

    Creative Labs marketed the original SB AWE32 sound card as having "4 Mbit memory on board, upgradeable to 28Mbytes". Some end users were perplexed because they expected it to have 4 megabytes, not 512KB.

    Marketing lies, I agree.

  7. Dan 55 Silver badge

    Re: It's marketing lies allowed to become reality.

    I've heard plenty of people try to justify their insistence that, for some weird reason, a gigabyte should be understood as a "gibibyte"

    In the computing word KB, MB, GB, and TB were all understood to mean powers of two until hard drive manufacturers noticed they could use powers of ten and claim that the size difference may very due to the space used by putting a filesystem on the drive.

    Meanwhile RAM manufacturers always used powers of two as they couldn't get away with it.

    Eventually the IEC had to step in in the mid 2000s and add new units of measurement so GiB and TiB are relatively new. If it weren't for that, we would be using memory and hard drives both labelled GB with similar values but using different units of measurement.

    but at the end of the day 1 megabyte is the space required to store 1 second of data arriving on a synchronous bit serial connection using an 8 megahertz clock... and therefore 1 gigabyte is the space requires to store 1000 seconds of data.

    O_o

  8. david 12 Bronze badge

    Re: It's marketing lies allowed to become reality.

    We have TiB and GiB now so that self-important Wikipedia trolls can bask in their smug superiority.

    "I'm the only one marching in step. The rest of the army is marching out of step" has been a favorite Wikipedia meme since the online encyclopedia first became popular, with no sign of that changing yet. "Correcting" the meaning of GB is just one of the better known examples.

  9. Mage Silver badge
    Boffin

    Re: RAM manufacturers always used powers of two

    Because each extra address line doubles the storage, thus inherently powers of 2. Tape, floppies and HDD have always used the approximate SI based amount based on powers of 10.

    The chip makers incorrectly used K = 1024 and M = 1024 x 1024 out of convenience.

    I've been buying computers & storage since RAM was 1024 bits per chip and my first floppy drive was approximately 100K bytes. It was maybe a decade or more later that public started getting confused. Really it's not a marketing plot how HDD storage is described. Now the actual random write transfer speed on a multiuser server is another story. Mostly INTERFACE speeds are quoted on the box!

  10. really_adf

    Re: RAM manufacturers always used powers of two

    Because each extra address line doubles the storage, thus inherently powers of 2. Tape, floppies and HDD have always used the approximate SI based amount based on powers of 10.

    Sector sizes are naturally binary because of buffer memory. This, I guess, is why a "1.44MB" floppy holds 2880 sectors of 512 bytes; 1440KiB, which of course is neither 1.44MiB nor 1.44MB.

    I think the same 1000KiB "MB" was also used for (some?) HDDs in the first half of the 90s.

    What a mess.

    (Dunno about tape.)

  11. Orv Silver badge

    Re: It's marketing lies allowed to become reality.

    In the computing word KB, MB, GB, and TB were all understood to mean powers of two until hard drive manufacturers noticed they could use powers of ten and claim that the size difference may very due to the space used by putting a filesystem on the drive.

    I used to call the power-of-10-based units "salesman's gigabytes," since they bore no relation to what the OS would claim you had.

    The TiB, GiB, etc. unit designations are an attempt to retroactively make their chicanery OK. I refuse to use them, mostly because they sound stupid when you say them out loud.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: It's marketing lies allowed to become reality.

    "Nobody measured things diagonally when it came to describing their size"

    Erm, firstly TVs and then subsequently monitors have always been measured by the size of their diagonal screen dimension. When I say always, I mean at least many decades, at least 5 of them to my personal knowledge. It's the industry standard, nothing to do with marketing.

  13. Shadow Systems Silver badge

    Re: It's marketing lies allowed to become reality.

    Ok, and how many normal, non tech savvy, average mom & pop users would know that, know how to do it, & could get it done reliably on their own? We're talking about a populace that uses Win10 by defaults, can't be arsed to instal a different browser "cuz it's too much work", & thinks an up-to-date antivirus suite from some dodgy third party ad they saw on Facebook is the end-all be-all of their security needs.

    YOU may be able to do that Linux trick to maximize your drive, but Joe Average down the block may not have a clue. I'm glad you can do it, but we're not the typical user whom "has" to accept the drive as-is.

    Buy a drive, plug it in, & the default formatting is significantly less than the advertised size of the drive. My supposedly 8Tb HDD only has 7TB & change available no matter what FS I ask Windows to use in reformatting it. That is what the typical user will encounter & illustrates my point. Yes a tech savvy ElReg commenter can do better, but I'm talking about folks at the other end of the Bell Curve. =-j

  14. Shadow Systems Silver badge

    Re: It's marketing lies allowed to become reality.

    That illistrates the "and so many caveats" bit. What the Large Print giveth the Small Print taketh away.

    "Here! Have a computer with 100Tb* of RAM!"

    *: actual useable RAM may be less depending on how far our legal team can protect us from the angry mob.

  15. gnasher729 Silver badge

    Re: It's marketing lies allowed to become reality.

    Actually, nobody expects 1TB to be 1024 x 1024 x 1024 x 1024 bytes except some halfwits. The uneducated have no clue. The educated know that 1TB = 1 trillion bytes. Only halfwits confuse TB and TiB.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: It's marketing lies allowed to become reality.

    "Actually, nobody expects 1TB to be 1024 x 1024 x 1024 x 1024 bytes except some halfwits. The uneducated have no clue. The educated know that 1TB = 1 trillion bytes. Only halfwits confuse TB and TiB."

    Only halfwits accepted the stupid change, computers work in binary, not base 10 and TiB were only added after the fact due to fuckwits not understanding and using that to advertise..

    I started in 1978 and K,M,G,T,P were always in 1024 sets..

  17. Orv Silver badge

    Re: It's marketing lies allowed to become reality.

    Erm, firstly TVs and then subsequently monitors have always been measured by the size of their diagonal screen dimension. When I say always, I mean at least many decades, at least 5 of them to my personal knowledge. It's the industry standard, nothing to do with marketing.

    They also have traditionally been marketed by the diagonal size of the CRT, in spite of the fact that the screen bezel will make the actual picture smaller. This stems from the fact that beam control is hard at the edges of CRTs, so the bezel hid the wavy edges and distortions.

    Some of this is no doubt marketing -- bigger numbers are better -- but some of it may be because early TVs actually used round CRTs, with a rectangular mask over the front to delineate the picture area. A 10" CRT was 10" diameter before you put the mask on it. The diagonal measurement would have been closest to the actual CRT diameter.

  18. jarfil

    Crappy SD != internal flash

    "You can buy a 256GB flash drive for $50."

    Try doing that, and suddenly your phone runs 10x slower. A decent A1 UHS 256GB SD card with good read/write/random performance will set you back at least $150, and it will still be slower than the internal flash.

  19. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

    Re: Crappy SD != internal flash

    Please read the next few words in that paragraph ("Given Apple's enormous purchasing power...")

    Yeah sure, it's $50 for you to buy a bog-standard 256GB card. Not disputing that. But we're just not buying that Apple really has to charge several hundred dollars for its NAND without some kind of rude margin.

    It's standard Apple. It charges $80 for a wireless mouse, FFS - our office has bought enough of them to know. Official RAM upgrades for Macs at least to be eye-watering. We call it the Cupertino idiot-tax operation for a reason.

    C.

  20. Malcolm Weir Silver badge

    Re: Crappy SD != internal flash

    @Jarfil,

    Cost of $256GB Sandisk UHS-I featuring:

    "A1-rated for better app performance1

    Premium transfer speeds of up to 100MB/s

    Class 10 for full HD video recording and Playback"

    ... is $59.99 using my significantly superior buying power resulting from being someone who can type "amazon.com" into a browser address bar...

    Yes, internal eMMC flash will still likely be faster, but the vast majority of actual humans don't care about the difference...

  21. big_D Silver badge

    Re: Crappy SD != internal flash

    @diodesign and Logitech, sorry, Logi charge over $100 for their mice (MX Master 2S) and Microsoft charge similar amounts for their Surface mice and the Surface keyboard and Surface Ergonomic are also well over $100. The same for decent mechanical keyboards, my Razer Black Widow Red cost over $100 as well.

    Okay, the quality of those mice is head and shoulders above the quality of the Apple mice, but good quality mice and keyboards are expensive.

    For the mice, I managed to get Amazon Warehouse deals and the 2 MX Master 2S were in the $80 range.

  22. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Re: Logi charge over $100 for their mice

    Woah there, pardner. Logitech's range of mice start at €12 and go up to €150. In that range you have 85 wireless mice to choose from.

    Let's not just take the high price and judge on that, shall we ?

    As for me, I put money into my equipment. I am using a G602 on my gaming rig and I'm very happy with it. For my business needs, I decided on a G603 and I'm glad I did - in my workplace I'm the only one with a mouse that doesn't announce everything it does with the sound of a rattling frying pan. I just hate it when you can hear every move of a mouse on the table, and the wheel clatters like shutters in the wind.

    I like peace and quiet, and my mice do not infringe on that. They're worth the price.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Crappy SD != internal flash

    I'm using MX Anywhere mice (smaller, and work on glass surfaces too), but they're in the €80 range too - as a Windows escapee I just can't get on with the Apple mice.

    That said, let's not forget that Apple makes most of its money from hardware, less so from services, so their markup is not unexpected. It is up to you if the savings you make in less downtime, lower cost of software and global support make up for it. If not, use Windows or Linux. Easy.

    We have architected our backbone to support Open Standards so from a desktop/laptop perspective it makes no difference what you run (also because we use LibreOffice), we just find Macs and Macbooks the easiest for people to use. That said, we control our whole environment. Your TCO may come out differently, especially if you need to support proprietary standards. Just don't forget to add lost staff time as a variable, because it makes quite a difference.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Crappy SD != internal flash

    "Okay, the quality of those mice is head and shoulders above the quality of the Apple mice, but good quality mice and keyboards are expensive."

    Cherry G83 (big keys) or Stream (laptop keys) @ £20 + Cooler Master Alcor @ £30 - more than good enough. Some will say that the Cherry keyboards aren't mechanical (correct!), but the G83 I've got feels damned near the ancient PS2 Cherry keyboard my boss has ... it's also been used in a professional environment for 12 years solid without issues. The Cooler Master mouse is based on the old Intelli Mouse 4 chassis, which means it fits my hand perfectly - mine's over 4 years old now, again, used in the office every day for 8 hours.

  25. big_D Silver badge

    Re: Crappy SD != internal flash

    @AC1 & 2 I agree, there are cheaper options, even from Logitech. I was just pointing out that the Apple mouse isn't an exception, when it comes to price (although the price/performance ratio is much lower).

    We used to get the Streams for around €10 - €12 each, but I find the typing experience to be very poor.

    As to using Mac over Windows/Linux, we support around 500 employees on a Windows network, we usually get 2 or 3 calls a week that are related to Windows problems.

    In fact, at the companies where I've worked with both Mac and Windows, the Macs generally caused more problems, because they didin't integrated very well into the existing infrastructure and were always having problems accessing network resources (Samaba shares, for example) or features in the applications responded differently or were missing in the Mac versions of the software.

    The worst was a CEO who had a Mac, but we weren't allowed Macs, so we had to produce his presentations on Windows, only to find that the Mac didn't display them "properly", it changed the size of text in certain elements, meaning the text was no longer visible or poorly aligned. But, of course, it was our fault that the presentation didn't display properly on the Mac... :-S

  26. Bobby Omelette

    Re: Crappy SD != internal flash

    "We call it the Cupertino idiot-tax operation for a reason."

    Who could all these 'idiots' be, I wonder?

    Oh, yeah ... "It charges $80 for a wireless mouse, FFS - our office has bought enough of them to know"

    A case of foot meets mouth for El Reg, perhaps? :-D

    (Not that I've escaped said tax either, courtesy of 4 kids ... the gift that keeps on taking).

  27. Spazturtle Silver badge

    Re: Crappy SD != internal flash

    "But we're just not buying that Apple really has to charge several hundred dollars for its NAND without some kind of rude margin."

    The iPhone has a single NVMe NAND chip in it. A single 256GB NVMe chip costs around $100 and Apple charge $149.

  28. Dan 55 Silver badge

    Re: Crappy SD != internal flash

    Why not have a look at the price of their power supplies?

    Magsafe is a cool idea but I doubt it really warrants that price, and if you could be sure you wouldn't have problems with Apple power supplies they might be considered value for money but you can't be sure of that either.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Crappy SD != internal flash

    Why not have a look at the price of their power supplies?

    You have managed to name the one thing that Apple no longer has a firm grip on. With USB-C, you can use any 3rd party PSU and use it to power a Mac (and vice versa, a MacBook PSU will quite happily feed a Dell laptop via USB-C).

    Actually, there's more that you don't need Apple for. Why on earth anyone would want to fork out what Apple wants for their screens is beyond me - I have been using PC screens for over 10 years now and they've done the job quite well, at a more acceptable price range.

    The point of hardware is to make *intelligent* choices, but there are so many variables that what works for you may not work at all for someone else.

  30. Dan 55 Silver badge

    Re: Crappy SD != internal flash

    They still have a grip on Magsafe and they charge a high price for it. They don't have a firm grip on USB-C but that requires you to buy new glued-up hardware which they charge a high price for... and I think Benson Leung has shown why USB-C power is a minefield all of its own.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: HDD space.

    No, 1TB disk is 1TB disk. Just because you want to write on a page, and over the page numbers, and into the spine, and on the cover, and on both side with felt tip that leaks through, does not mean 1 page =/= 1 page.

    So, if you use different formatting, you will fit different amounts of text on A4 pages. Likewise, depending on your formatting/use/system you will get different amounts of storage in a 1TB disk.

  32. Ozumo

    Re: Crappy SD != internal flash

    Downvote for "architected".

  33. Dacarlo

    Sony too

    Sony Xperia phones are pretty bad for this. And you pay a stupid premium for the phone with less space and another brand for the same price. An 8Gig phone was screaming at me from week 1 due to me taking a few photos and having the temerity to install a few key applications. There was a load of bloatware I couldn't remove so I keep this on a shelf for a backup. Ended up with a 64gig OnePlus. Vote with your feet people and don't reward companies with your money for bad behaviour or support.

  34. Def Silver badge

    Sizes

    The size of the average OS these days is obscene. Doubly so on devices you have full control over, Apple.

  35. DougS Silver badge

    Re: Sizes

    Why should the OS be smaller on devices Apple has full control over?

  36. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Re: Sizes

    Why should the OS be smaller on devices Apple has full control over?

    In theory because it needs fewer drivers for varying hardware configurations. But, basically people who buy I-Phones and moan about storage only have themselves to blame. You want lots of reasonably priced storage? Buy something that supports SD cards.

  37. Def Silver badge

    Re: Sizes

    Because they have known hardware configurations, and so don't have to worry about a million legacy devices. This is especially true for iOS devices, not so much for macOS though.

  38. DougS Silver badge

    Re: Sizes

    I'll bet drivers are a rounding error in the size of Android installs. There isn't REALLY that much variation in Android phones, since there are only about a half dozen SoC vendors, and not too many parts to choose from for stuff that's separate like wifi, bluetooth etc. Even Macs have far more variation, and PCs are probably 2-3 orders of magnitude more than Android.

    An operating system doesn't get to be 3GB in size without a lot of media like wallpapers, sounds, localization strings, and so forth. The amount of actual instruction/code in binaries probably increases at a very slow rate.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Apple refuses to add SD card slots to its iOS devices..."

    And if you managed the security of mobile devices in a corporate environment, you'd understand why this is a good thing....

  40. mr_souter_Working

    Re: "Apple refuses to add SD card slots to its iOS devices..."

    yes, because forcing the encryption of SD cards in phones (or disabling them entirely) is such a difficult thing to do.......................

  41. Michael Habel Silver badge

    Re: "Apple refuses to add SD card slots to its iOS devices..."

    And this was a argument to be had in the Corporate-sphere? I thought we we're discussing the Sheeple aspect here? Besides I gather there are plenty of other alternatives out there not least among them Samsung with their Knox based Systems. The problem is getting the IT & Security Departments to aggree on what form such an envroment Blackberry, Apple, or Samsung, it should take.

  42. Rupert Fiennes

    Making bloatware a legal issue not going to help

    Really. If you think Apple charges a ridiculous amount for less and less, stop using them. I don't expect to buy another Mac or iPhone for this very reason: they are not worth their premium anymore.

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Can't say I agree with the judge on this (based on the contents of the article and not reading the links). Whilst I agree, it's reasonable to expect the usable space to be less due to the filesystem overheads, the question is, when there's manufacturer-installed stuff on there, how can we know how much that is? It's one thing to expect an amount of loss due to filesystem overheads, but software is another thing - I'm reminded of some of the 32GB Surfaces, where you lost *half* the storage due to the OS and pre-installed apps.

    As an example of doing it right, I have a Sony Walkman S639 MP3 player. That's marketed as "16GB", but it also says (in letters nearly the same size) that it has XGB* of user-addressable space after taking into account the OS and filesystem.

    * I can't remember the exact amount - it was marginally more than 14GB, I think.

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    New plan...

    I'm bringing out a 17TB HDD which comes with "drivers" that take up 16.99TB of space... and are not uninstallable. I've got a couple hundred sitting here for sale, at just £20... oh, the "320gb Maxtor drive" label is totally unrelated to what is in the drive... honest.

  45. werdsmith Silver badge

    Re: New plan...

    They could always use himem.sys and loadhigh. Get back about 10 MB at least.

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Like buying a car and the salesman says "oh you wanted wheels as well?"

    Buying a LandRover in the UK in 1960s was a bit like that. Just about everything was an extra - door locks, rear view mirror, probably wheels too. The options catalogue was very thick. Of course that was understandable as it reflected the differences in users' environments.

  47. werdsmith Silver badge

    No, like buying a car with a 400 litre boot, but the spare wheel and toolkit (yeah I know, not these days) takes up 50 of those litres of space.

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nope.

    More like it took up 50 litres, but then they decide to "upgrade" it, and put a bigger toolbox, a second wheel, oh and weld it in so you cannot "uninstall" it. ;)

  49. naive

    It is all about legislation protecting consumers

    Which is when it comes to computers and other electronic products, still in its infancy. Discussions about UEFI restricting using Operating Systems, the freedom of a manufacturer to use resources at their will on a smart phone are the sad results of the Wild West we still have in IT land. Not even mentioning the unaccountability of IT suppliers for severe problems resulting from bad design or sloppy implementations. Where GM and Volkswagen had to pay billions and billions to settle problems with ignition locks and emissions, Microsoft and others get away with anything.

  50. Orv Silver badge

    Samsung probably includes the disclaimer because they already got sued over this same point -- but in China:

    https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2015/07/samsung-sued-for-loading-devices-with-unremovable-crapware-in-china/

    They'd let it get rather out of hand. Some of their phones would eventually run out of storage without you doing anything, just from accumulated updates to the pre-installed crapware.

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