Judge Approves Apple's Plan to Pay $50 Million to Settle Butterfly Keyboard Lawsuit

Apple's plan to pay $50 million to settle a long running class-action lawsuit over the faulty butterfly keyboard today received preliminary approval from a California federal judge (via Law360). The payment will include $13.6 million in attorney fees, up to $2 million in litigation costs, and $1.4 million in settlement administration costs, with the rest distributed to class members.

macbook pro butterfly keyboard
Dating back to 2018, the lawsuit covers customers in California, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, and Washington, who complained that Apple was well aware of the faulty keyboard mechanism used in MacBook Pro machines between 2015 and 2019. The lawsuit claimed that Apple concealed the defect from consumers in order to continue to sell the devices.

Apple added the butterfly keyboard to MacBook, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro machines in 2015 and 2016, claiming that the keyboard offered superior key feel and stability while also allowing for a thinner design. Not long after the initial butterfly keyboard Macs launched, customers learned they were prone to failure.

Thousands of people ran into problems with repeating keys, sticky keys, and keys that otherwise failed when dust and other particulates got into the butterfly mechanism. The complaints led to a huge controversy over the butterfly technology, and Apple ended up launching a keyboard repair program in June 2018.

The repair program covered MacBook, MacBook Pro, and ‌MacBook Air‌ models for only four years, and Apple was only replacing butterfly keyboards with another butterfly keyboard, so some customers had repeat failures that were ultimately no longer covered. The lawsuit alleged that Apple's repair program was not sufficient for this reason.

Apple attempted to iterate on the butterfly mechanism to make it more durable, so there were three butterfly keyboard generations in total, but all of them were prone to failure. Apple had to replace butterfly keyboards with more reliable scissor switch keyboards, with the company phasing out the last butterfly keyboard in 2020. All Macs now use the scissor switch mechanism that does not experience the same issues.

scissorvsbutterfly
Apple initially agreed to the settlement in mid-2022, but it now has early approval from the judge overseeing the case. Awards to customers from the settlement will be based on the number of repairs required, with amounts up to $395 for those who had two or more topcase replacements.

Mac owners who received butterfly keyboard replacements will begin receiving class notices later in December.

Top Rated Comments

mdnz Avatar
16 months ago

Imagine being an engineer and designing a simple switch so poorly that your company gets sued for $50mil
Don't think it was because of engineers per se but rather because of an English bald man at the top and his obsession with thinness.
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
vicviper789 Avatar
16 months ago
Imagine being an engineer and designing a simple switch so poorly that your company gets sued for $50mil
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TheYayAreaLiving ?️ Avatar
16 months ago
Kudos! I'm glad the lawsuit was justified. A total win for the consumers.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
WWPD Avatar
16 months ago
I heard the $20 checks you will get will be personally signed by Jony Ive on meticulously crafted, custom designed paper.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ProfessionalFan Avatar
16 months ago
I had 2 fail on me but Apple handled it very well at the time. I didn't even have AppleCare and they helped me out twice and in a timely manner. I am not surprised there was a lawsuit over it though.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
hybrid_x Avatar
16 months ago
$13 million for the lawyers‽ And I get $200 for a keyboard replacement that's guaranteed to fail again, rendering the machine almost useless? That's a pretty terrible settlement.

I had one top case/keyboard replacement on my 2017 MBP. Kept the keyboard under a silicone cover ever since, and it's starting to show signs of potentially acting up again.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

iOS 17

iOS 17.4 Will Add These New Features to Your iPhone

Monday February 19, 2024 6:52 am PST by
Apple last month confirmed that iOS 17.4 will be released in March, and the update includes several new features and changes for the iPhone. Key new features in iOS 17.4 include major App Store changes in the EU and Apple Podcasts transcripts. The update also adds new emoji and includes preparations for the launch of next-generation CarPlay later this year. More details about the new...
apple wallet drivers license feature

Apple Said iPhone Driver's Licenses Will Expand to These 8 U.S. States

Monday February 12, 2024 7:51 am PST by
In 2021, Apple introduced a feature that lets residents of participating U.S. states add their driver's license or ID to the Wallet app on the iPhone and Apple Watch, providing a convenient and contactless way to display proof of identity or age. Unfortunately, states have been slow to adopt the feature since it was first announced in September 2021, with IDs in the Wallet app only available ...
samsung galaxy ring

'Apple Ring' Allegedly in Development to Rival Samsung Galaxy Ring

Tuesday February 20, 2024 2:27 am PST by
Apple is speeding up development of a smart ring that can be worn on the finger to track users' health biometrics, claims a new report coming out of Korea. Teaser image of Samsung Galaxy Ring shown at Galaxy Unpacked in January Apple has toyed with the idea of a ring wearable for several years, as indicated by several patents, but with Samsung preparing to bring its own product to market, the ...
New Macs iPads iOS 17 4

New Macs and iPads Coming Soon: What to Expect

Saturday February 17, 2024 3:00 am PST by
Following the launch of Apple's Vision Pro headset, attention has shifted towards what is next on the company's agenda this year. As usual, March should be eventful for Apple, as it is expected to release new MacBook Air, iPad Pro, and iPad Air models during the month. In a recent press release, Apple also confirmed that iOS 17.4 will be released in March. Below, we recap what to expect...
volvo s60 drivers apple maps

iOS 17.4 Beta Adds CarPlay Option to Show Upcoming Maneuvers in Instrument Cluster

Tuesday February 20, 2024 10:47 am PST by
The fourth beta of iOS 17.4 that Apple released today adds a new CarPlay feature, according to the notes that Apple provided to developers. In supported CarPlay vehicles, there's now an Apple Maps option to show information about upcoming maneuvers in the instrument cluster. CarPlay users will be able to swap the display type between the main and instrument cluster by tapping on the map...
m3 macbook pro 14 16

Apple Now Selling Refurbished M3 Pro and M3 Max MacBook Pro Models

Monday February 19, 2024 5:04 pm PST by
Apple today began offering refurbished versions of the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models with M3 Pro and M3 Max chip options, offering the machines at a discount for the first time since their October 2023 release. The release of M3 Pro and M3 Max models on Apple's refurbished store comes almost two weeks after the entry-level 14-inch M3 MacBook Pro first appeared on the store....