MacBook Owners' Butterfly Keyboard Lawsuit Against Apple Gets Class Action Certification
Apple customers unhappy with the butterfly keyboards used in MacBook models from 2015 on will be able to proceed with a lawsuit against the Cupertino company, as the judge overseeing the case has given it class action status [PDF]. The suit covers anyone who purchased a MacBook with a butterfly keyboard in California, New York, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, Washington, and Michigan.
As noted by The Verge, Judge Edward Davila certified the case on March 8, but the order was sealed until last week. This lawsuit will include those who bought a MacBook between 2015 and 2017, a MacBook Pro between 2016 and 2019, or a MacBook Air between 2018 and 2019.
The lawsuit was first filed in 2018, accusing Apple of concealing the fact that its 2015 and later MacBook models had keyboards prone to failure. Apple launched a repair program for all Macs with butterfly keyboards, but the complainants believe that the repair program does not serve as an effective fix because the replacement keyboards also use butterfly mechanisms that can fail again.
Apple attempted to get the lawsuit dismissed in 2019, but was unsuccessful. At the time, the judge said that Apple must face the claims that the repair program is inadequate or compensate customers for out-of-pocket repair expenses.
First introduced in 2015, Apple's butterfly keyboards were a huge failure. There were countless complaints from MacBook, MacBook Pro, and MacBook Air owners who saw their keyboards break, sometimes more than once. There were issues with stuck and repeating keys or keys that refused to work at all, with the problem caused by key failure after exposure to dust and other small particulates.
Apple attempted to revise the butterfly keyboard several times to make it more durable and launched an extensive repair program for MacBook owners with faulty keyboards, but ultimately replaced the butterfly keyboard with a scissor switch keyboard starting with the 16-inch MacBook Pro introduced in 2019.
The butterfly keyboard is no longer in use in any Mac product in Apple's lineup, but there are still plenty of people who are stuck with a MacBook manufactured from 2015 to 2019 that has a keyboard prone to failure. The lawsuit is seeking damages for violations of consumer protection laws in the seven included states, and while the plaintiffs are not yet asking for a nationwide certification, the law firm behind the lawsuit is running a survey to determine how many people might be affected.