comscore Apple to pay $50 million to settle MacBook butterfly keyboard lawsuit

Apple to pay $50 million to settle MacBook butterfly keyboard lawsuit

Apple MacBook models, including Pro and Air, came with a redesigned keyboard that used the so-called "butterfly" keys between 2015 and 2019.


Apple has agreed to pay a settlement amount of $50 million for the butterfly lawsuit.

Apple said it will pay out $50 million to settle the case that alleged the company knew about the faulty butterfly keyboard on many MacBook models. With the settlement, Apple has evaded any further embarrassment in one of the most infamous cases that affected hundreds of thousands of MacBook users. Also Read - Apple Health Report details how Apple Watch, Health app have been improving lives since launch

Reuters has reported the settlement agreement has yet to undergo the process where a judge will approve it. However, if the approval comes through, the customers can expect maximum payouts of $300 to $395 if they replaced multiple keyboards, $125 if they replaced just one, and $50 if they replaced only keycaps, CNBC said. Apart from the compensation to the customers, the law firms fighting the case can claim up to $15 million towards legal fees. Also Read - Smartphone sales fell 9% in Q2 2022 due to soaring inflation, but iPhone 13 remains in high demand: Report

Why is Apple still paying?

Back in 2015, Apple was almost confident about its then-new MacBook models that came with a redesigned keyboard that used the so-called “butterfly” keys. They replaced the conventional scissor-based keys on the MacBook since they were sleeker and could fit in laptops’ shallow cases. Apple said it could trim the thickness of the MacBook by about 40 percent by using the butterfly keys. But that rose-coloured dream turned into a nightmare. Also Read - How to download BGMI without Google Play Store or Apple App Store

Almost every MacBook user reported problems with the butterfly keyboard. In real-world usage, the keys were sticky and occasionally unresponsive. And because the gap between the laptop’s panel that holds the keys and the keys was so small, any crumb or dust could make the keys stop responding altogether. That resulted in typos more often.

Over the next few generations of the MacBook models, Apple tried to fix the butterfly mechanism. It managed to improve a few issues here and there. It told users ways to clean the debris, launched a service programme for users who were affected by the issue, and later made changes in the design. But the core issue of key stickiness was still persistent. The faulty keyboards continued to appear as recently as the 2019 MacBook, including both Pro and Air. Apple has listed all the models in the settlement documents.

In the meantime, Apple had to face several class-action lawsuits in the US. While a majority of lawsuits claimed compensation, one of them accused Apple of knowing the issues with the keyboard but concealing them. Apple is now paying $50 million to settle that lawsuit.

Apple gave free key repairs to affected customers of MacBook models with butterfly keys for four years. But it also gave replacements to several customers, as mentioned in the lawsuit.

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  • Published Date: July 20, 2022 10:50 AM IST

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