Judge approves Apple’s massive MacBook keyboard lawsuit payout

Firm's $50m settlement could net users $395 if they bought a MacBook between 2015 and 2019.

Credit: Dreamstime

The US$50 million settlement to a class-action lawsuit agreed by Apple back in July has been given preliminary approval by a federal judge in California, according to Law360 (via MacTrast), with around US$33 million of that assigned to class members. Users who have suffered with faulty MacBook keyboards can now look forward to a payout of up to US$395.

The suit focused on the much-maligned butterfly keyboards used on MacBook models in the last decade. Users complained that the keys tended to become stuck, unresponsive, or broken, and could be prevented from working correctly by tiny amounts of dust and debris.

Apple apologised to the small number of users [who] are having issues with their third-generation butterfly keyboard and then phased out the design from 2019, offering replacement keyboards for free via its Keyboard Service Program.

A class-action lawsuit subsequently contended that Apple knew and concealed the keyboards' failure-prone design, and sought economic injury and aggregate damages. Apple has not admitted wrongdoing, but did agree this summer to pay out a total of US$50 million to those affected (and their attorneys).

The settlement covers MacBook, MacBook Air, and most MacBook Pro models purchased between 2015 and 2019 in California, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, and Washington. Lawyers predict maximum payouts of US$395 to those who replaced multiple keyboards, US$125 if you replaced one keyboard, and US$50 for just keycaps.

If you signed up for a butterfly keyboard replacement a class notice should find its way to you later this month, but it may be worth contacting the law firms involved for further information: Girard Sharp LLP and Chimicles Schwartz Kriner Donaldson-Smith LLP. Alternatively, you will soon be able to find relevant info at KeyboardSettlement.com.

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