It’s time to make Apple pay for its faulty butterfly keyboards

A close up of a Macbook keyboard and screen

The old “butterfly” keyboard design on Apple laptops proved to be a routine joke among consumers who consistently encountered sticky or stuck keys.

Apple’s poor keyboard design, which the company has spent half a decade shoving into its MacBooks, has finally, officially, come to bite the company in the posterior, at least financially.

Back in July, Apple colonized the long-running $50 million class action lawsuit over its faulty butterfly keyboards, though the company has denied wrongdoing and blame for their flimsy design. macworld reported for the first time that the judge handling the $50 million class action lawsuit accepted the terms of the offer on Wednesday. According Law360$33 million of that total will go to select Mac users.

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People who bought a MacBook with a defective keyboard between 2015 and 2019 in California, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, New York or Washington can get a payout between $50, $125 or $395 , depending on whether they had keycaps replaced, had a keyboard replaced, or had two or more keyboard replacements during ownership. There should be a website with more information about who may be owed money, but when reporting this site remain empty.

The states in question were those where class actions were certified, so people who bought their MacBooks outside of those areas won’t see a check in the mail. The class action filed in May 2018, claimed that Apple had known the keyboard was faulty for years, but continued to equip later MacBook models with the same design. The lawsuit argued that the company sold the laptops while touting that the keyboard had “four times the key stability of a traditional scissor mechanism.”

Apple had long kept its head in the sand about the butterfly design, often denying that anything was wrong with its thin keyboards that would break whenever a thin piece of dust or sand has lodged under the keys. Along with feeling spongy and unsatisfying, these pimples have often become sticky and insensitive for no apparent reason. The butterfly design was used from early 2015 until 2020. MacBook Air and Pro models adopted the keyboard, although it was years before the company recognized the existence of a problem. This admission came shortly after the filing of these class actions.

The company started offering free fixes for select MacBook models in 2018 and told users who spent their own money on repairs they could get a refund. This “extended keyboard service program” offered users a four-year warranty on their laptops, although even third-generation keyboards still had problems, because illustrated by one piece in The Wall Street Journal by Joanna Stern (aka “Joanna Stn” after her “E” and “R” keys jam).

After all this time and only minor iterationsthe company finally created a MacBook with the new magic keyboardand today the company sticks to the new scissor switch pattern.

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