Lawsuit Against Apple Over MacBook Butterfly Keyboards Gets Class Action Status

If the class action lawsuit wins, then affected MacBook owners could end up receiving some financial compensation from Apple.

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23, 2021

3 min read

This story originally appeared on PCMag

The years-old complaints about the infamous “butterfly” keyboards in Apple MacBooks are headed toward court as a class action lawsuit. 

Earlier this month, a US judge certified the class action status to a consumer-led lawsuit over the butterfly keyboard controversy. The court then unsealed the filing on Friday, which was noticed by The Verge. 

The legal action comes from a group of MacBook owners based in seven US states who originally sued Apple starting back in 2018. According to them, Apple allegedly knew the butterfly keyboards in certain MacBook models dating back to 2015 were prone to failure, but decided to continue selling them anyways. 

Related: Brazil Fines Apple $2M for Shipping iPhones Without a Charger

“Thousands of consumers have experienced this defect. When the MacBook’s butterfly keyboard fails, the keys stick and no longer register keystrokes. As a result, the user cannot type,” one of the original lawsuits claimed at the time. 

The main problem with the butterfly keyboards is how dust can get inside, and prevent the keys from working, according to iFixit. Making matters worse was how resolving the problem proved costly; some Apple owners reported paying the company between $400 to $700 to replace the entire keyboard itself. 

It wasn’t until June 2018 when Apple announced free repairs for the affected MacBook models. But by then, several MacBook owners had already filed class action lawsuits against the company over the butterfly keyboards. Later in 2019, Apple began phasing out the butterfly keyboards and reverted back to the more reliable scissor-switch mechanism.  

In its defense, Apple urged the judge to deny the lawsuits class action status. According to the company, it changed the butterfly keyboard designs from 2015 to 2019, hence none of the MacBook could have a common defect. However, the judge rejected Apple’s argument. 

“Plaintiffs maintain that the low-travel design is a common defect that exists in all butterfly keyboards and causes the problems that Plaintiffs faced,” the judge wrote. 

If the class action lawsuit wins, then affected MacBook owners could end up receiving some financial compensation from Apple. The plaintiffs allege the defect exists in MacBook models from 2015 to 2017, MacBook Pro models from 2016 to 2019, and the from 2018 to 2019. 

However, the lawsuit is currently only seeking damages for customers based in , , , , , Washington, or Michigan.

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