The butterfly keyboard lawsuit has been resolved after a judge approved Apple’s proposed payouts to owners of MacBook, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro models with the faulty keyboard design.

Owners whose machines required repair are set to receive compensation that ranges from $50 to $395, depending on the extent of the work needed. However, the payouts will be made only to those who purchased their MacBooks in US states covered by the class action suit …

Background

The butterfly keyboard design was part Apple’s quest to make MacBooks ever slimmer, under the leadership of then design chief Jony Ive. Soon after the design was launched, users started reporting problems, ranging from non-functional keys, repeating keypresses, inconsistent key travel, and more.

The issue was later shown to be due to a design fault that made the keyboard especially prone to trapping dust, crumbs, and other debris, causing a variety of failures. In our own poll, almost half of owners reported reliability problems, with 18% saying the issues were so severe they made the machine virtually unusable.

Apple eventually acknowledged the fault and offered a free keyboard replacement program, but many said this wasn’t an adequate solution as the same issues would recur with the new (identical) keyboard.

A series of class action lawsuits were filed in a number of US states, alleging that Apple knew from internal testing that the keyboard design was faulty, yet released the machines anyway. Apple tried and failed to have the lawsuits dismissed, a judge later certifying class actions in seven US states.

Butterfly keyboard lawsuit resolved

Back in July of this year, Apple finally offered a $50M settlement, subject to approval by the judge. Law360 (via Macworld) reports that the offer has now been approved.

The $50m settlement to a class-action lawsuit agreed by Apple back in July has been given preliminary approval by a federal judge in California […] with around $33m of that assigned to class members.

[The] lawsuit subsequently contended that Apple “knew and concealed” the keyboards’ failure-prone design, and sought “economic injury and aggregate damages.” Apple has not admitted wrongdoing, but did agree this summer to pay out a total of $50m to those affected (and their attorneys).

Are you due a payout?

You will be eligible for a payout if you meet three criteria:

  • You purchased a MacBook with a butterfly keyboard between 2015 and 2019.
  • You did so in California, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, or Washington.
  • You had a repair carried out by Apple.

Payouts are expected to be as follows:

  • $50 if you had keycaps replaced
  • $125 if you had the entire keyboard replaced
  • $395 if you had two or more keyboard replacements

If you purchased directly from Apple, you should be automatically contacted. If not, or if you want to be sure your details have been registered, a website is being created by the legal firms involved. The site had no content at the time of writing but check back in a few days: keyboardsettlement.com.

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About the Author

Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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