A California federal judge has given preliminary approval to Apple’s plan to pay $50 million to settle a long-running class-action lawsuit over the faulty MacBook butterfly keyboard.
Law360 says 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.
The lawsuit covers customers in California, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, and Washington, who complained that Apple knew of and concealed the fact that its 2015 and later MacBook, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro machines were equipped with “butterfly” keyboards that were prone to failure, and that its repair program for the keyboard was insufficient, as the replacement keyboards could also fail.
Apple manufactured MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, and MacBook models with butterfly keyboards in 2015 and 2016. Apple promoted the thinness of the keyboard and the superior key feel and stability. Not too long after the keyboards launched, customers learned that they failed easily.
Customers experienced issues with keys repeating, sticking, and otherwise failing when dust and other particulates got into the butterfly mechanism, resulting in a huge outcry from buyers.
While Apple launched a keyboard repair program in June 2018, the program only covered MacBook, MacBook Pro, and MacBook Air models for four years. The lawsuit alleged that Apple’s repair program was not sufficient, as Apple would replace the butterfly keyboards with another butterfly keyboard, so some customers experienced repeated failures that are no longer covered.
Apple eventually made three generations of the butterfly keyboard, none of which proved to be less troublesome. All Mac models now available now use the more reliable scissor-switch keyboard mechanism.
Apple initially agreed to the settlement in July 2022.
Customers in the above-mentioned states are expected to receive maximum payouts of $395 to customers who replaced multiple keyboards, $125 to people who replaced one keyboard, and $50 to people who replaced keycaps.
Mac owners who received butterfly keyboard replacements will begin receiving class notices later in December.