Apple finally stumps up cash for MacBook customers hit by butterfly keyboard problems

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Do you own a MacBook with a butterfly keyboard which required a repair? Well, you might be able to claim some money as part of a settlement to a lawsuit on behalf of affected parties, with a judge in California now having granted preliminary approval to that settlement.

Apple has had a number of controversies around its hardware (often labeled as ‘this-gate’ or ‘that-gate’), and one of those was the MacBook models that ran with the butterfly keyboard prone to flaws and indeed having to be replaced.

As spotted by Macworld (opens in new tab), the settlement for $50 million made by Apple – and initially agreed back in July – allows for $33 million to be distributed among MacBook Pro owners who have suffered at the hands of this issue, with sums of up to $395 payable to those individuals who have a claim. (Much of the rest of the money went in fees to the attorneys, as you might expect).

To be eligible as a claimant you must own a MacBook bought between 2015 and 2019 – a model with said butterfly keyboard, of course, and that includes the vanilla MacBook, MacBook Air, and most MacBook Pro variants. Furthermore, the laptop must have been purchased in the US, in one of these states: California, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, and Washington.

As mentioned, the maximum compensation is $395 which will be given to those who needed to have multiple keyboards replaced. Folks who replaced only one keyboard will receive $125, and for those who had to replace keycaps, they’ll be in line for a payment of $50.

Analysis: Keyboard replacement was a thorny issue

It’s good to see Apple (finally) coming forth with compensation on this matter, but note that the company did not admit any wrongdoing in settling this class action lawsuit. Doubtless Apple just wants to draw a line under this episode and move on.

Part of the reason why this issue was so frustrating is because replacing the keyboard was far from a trivial matter, and involved yanking out other bits of the MacBook too. Indeed, the entire upper-case assembly of the laptop had to be replaced, meaning the chassis, keyboard and battery; the whole lot.

Needless to say, that was a pricey operation, but Apple did instigate a Keyboard Service Program to replace any affected keyboards free of charge (with multiple replacements possible – and those folks are the ones who’ll get the biggest payout here, as noted). Incidentally, the web page for that Keyboard Service Program (opens in new tab) contains the full list of affected MacBook models.

The butterfly keyboard did go through several revisions, but all of these keyboard decks remained problematic in one respect or another – even if they were improvements on earlier incarnations – so Apple eventually abandoned the design from 2020 onwards, thankfully.

Via Creative Bloq (opens in new tab)

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