Apple MacBook butterfly keyboard lawsuit - are you owed money?

MacBook Pros from 2016, 2017, and 2018
(Image credit: iMore)

By now, you’ve probably heard about Apple’s infamous butterfly keyboard switches that were used for MacBooks going all the way back to 2015. If you haven’t, Apple’s butterfly keyboard switches were a bad moment in time for MacBook users, rife with issues related to keys sticking and an immensely high failure rate where the switches would stop working altogether.

Apple is now paying out over $33 million to users who were unlucky enough to own the faulty butterfly switch MacBook keyboards and required repairs. Here’s everything you need to know and how to make a claim.

Which models are eligible?

Every MacBook released with a butterfly keyboard is eligible for the class-action lawsuit. 

  • MacBook Pro 13-inch and 15-inch (2016-2019)
  • MacBook Air (2018-2019)
  • MacBook (All Models)

Which states are in the class-action lawsuit?

There are seven states eligible for a class action claim. The states are California, New York, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, Washington, and Michigan. 

If you had a MacBook with a butterfly keyboard and had the device repaired in one of these states then you are eligible for a refund.

What was the problem?

MacBook Pro

(Image credit: Apple)

As an old Genius Bar employee, I can confirm that many users had issues with the butterfly keyboard. Essentially, the lower profile keys that replaced the previous scissor switches led to a lot of people having stuck, repeating, and often completely broken keys in their keyboards. 

There would be times when customers would enter the Apple Store in a frantic mess with college deadlines on the horizon and a repair turnaround of a week or two. When the repaired MacBook would return to the customer, the faulty butterfly switches were replaced with more of the same – this led to a lot of returning customers over that period. It wasn’t until the 16-inch MacBook Pro in 2019 that Apple started reverting back to scissor-style keyboard switches.

When is the claim deadline?

The deadline for all claims is March 6, 2023.

Can I make a claim?

Those eligible to make a claim for the MacBook butterfly keyboard class action received notices on December 12, 2022. There are three different groups of individuals due payment and they have been broken up into the following categories:

Group 1

Customers who received two or more top-case replacements from Apple or an Authorized Service Provider within four years of purchasing their MacBook. The top-case is the part of your MacBook that houses the trackpad, keyboard, and most of the other vital components than combine to make your computer.

Group 2

Those that received one top-case replacement and have attested to the fact that the replacement parts did not repair their issues related to the butterfly keyboard on their MacBook. 

Group 3

Received one or more keycap replacements but no top-case replacement. The individual must also have attested to a lack of resolution to their keyboard issues after the repair at an Apple Store or an Authorized Service Provider.

How can I file a claim?

If you are one of the eligible customers, you will have received an email with a unique ID and Pin. Enter these details on the claim page and follow the instructions to confirm your claim.

If you did not receive an email but believe you are eligible, head to the Keyboard Settlement claim page and fill out the requested information. In order to be eligible you must have the serial number for the device in question, proof of purchase, as well as proof of repair.

How much will I receive?

  • Group 1 will receive $395
  • Group 2 will receive $125
  • Group 3 will receive $50

The money is likely to arrive in a check sometime in April. If you had issues related to your butterfly keyboard during the period in question but did not receive a repair then you are not eligible for any claim in this class-action lawsuit. You are also still eligible even if you’ve since sold the MacBook.

So long, butterfly old foe

Apple, to this day, has not admitted any liability for the issues related to the butterfly keyboards in MacBook models from 2015 onwards. This is a disappointing outcome despite the class-action payout. I love my Apple products, they allow me to do my job, pursue my passions, and be a tech nerd. But when the company chooses to avoid accountability for an issue that plagued thousands of customers who entrusted the quality of its products then it leaves a sour taste. For those unlucky enough to have dealt with the mess that was the butterfly keyboard, hopefully, now you’ll get some peace of mind.

John-Anthony Disotto
How To Editor

John-Anthony Disotto is the How To Editor of iMore, ensuring you can get the most from your Apple products and helping fix things when your technology isn’t behaving itself. Living in Scotland, where he worked for Apple as a technician focused on iOS and iPhone repairs at the Genius Bar, John-Anthony has used the Apple ecosystem for over a decade and prides himself in his ability to complete his Apple Watch activity rings. John-Anthony has previously worked in editorial for collectable TCG websites and graduated from The University of Strathclyde where he won the Scottish Student Journalism Award for Website of the Year as Editor-in-Chief of his university paper. He is also an avid film geek, having previously written film reviews and received the Edinburgh International Film Festival Student Critics award in 2019.  John-Anthony also loves to tinker with other non-Apple technology and enjoys playing around with game emulation and Linux on his Steam Deck.

In his spare time, John-Anthony can be found watching any sport under the sun from football to darts, taking the term “Lego house” far too literally as he runs out of space to display any more plastic bricks, or chilling on the couch with his French Bulldog, Kermit.