Did you get a faulty butterfly keyboard on your MacBook? Apple is finally expected to start paying out

A woman sitting at a table, working on a MacBook laptop
(Image credit: Shutterstock/sergey causelove)

If you bought a MacBook between 2015 and 2019 that was fitted with a ‘Butterfly’ keyboard, it looks like this is your lucky day! Apple reached a settlement in a class action lawsuit over the faulty keyboards back in 2022, but we’ve just heard that payouts are finally being made to affected MacBook owners.

MacRumors reports that the keyboard settlement website has been updated to inform claimants that a payment order was just issued on June 27. For those with approved claims, payments will be made by August 2024.

Emails were sent out at the end of 2022 to MacBook owners who are eligible for a payment. Settlement payouts vary between $50 to $395, with the latter maximum amount given to those who had to replace top cases twice within four years of purchase.

Those who did get an email had the chance to file their claim up until March 2023. Due to the problems with the Butterfly keyboard, Apple reverted to a scissor-switch mechanism, and MacBooks manufactured since 2019 won’t have any of these issues as a result. 

According to the settlement website: “A settlement has been reached with Apple in a class action law lawsuit alleging that certain MacBook laptops sold between 2015-2019 were equipped with defective butterfly keyboards that can result in characters repeating unexpectedly; letters or characters not appearing; and/or the keys feeling ‘sticky’ or not responding in a consistent manner.”

The statement further adds: “Apple denies all of the allegations made in the lawsuit, denies that any MacBooks are defective, and denies that Apple did anything improper or unlawful. Apple asserts numerous defenses to the claims in this case. The proposed settlement to resolve this case is not an admission of guilt or wrongdoing of any kind by Apple.”

Can you still claim?

So, what is a butterfly keyboard? While scissor switches for keys have two crossing points to bear the weight of your finger taps (they look like scissors, hence the name), the butterfly key has a hinge in the middle that’s pressed down to register. 

Because of the ‘V’ shape that is made with the butterfly switch, it’s easier for crumbs, debris, or dirt to get under the mechanism and interfere with the key actually pressing down. But with scissor keys, it’s harder to get these kinds of clogs given the ‘X’ shape of the switch. 

If this is all news to you and you’re looking to get in on the settlement, that may be tricky as the deadline for claims is well past now. However, those expecting a payout should get it very soon, perhaps this month even – or certainly by the end of August as noted. 

Quite why there has been such a wait from the settlement being approved, to actual payments being made, isn’t clear.

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Muskaan Saxena
Computing Staff Writer

Muskaan is TechRadar’s UK-based Computing writer. She has always been a passionate writer and has had her creative work published in several literary journals and magazines. Her debut into the writing world was a poem published in The Times of Zambia, on the subject of sunflowers and the insignificance of human existence in comparison. Growing up in Zambia, Muskaan was fascinated with technology, especially computers, and she's joined TechRadar to write about the latest GPUs, laptops and recently anything AI related. If you've got questions, moral concerns or just an interest in anything ChatGPT or general AI, you're in the right place. Muskaan also somehow managed to install a game on her work MacBook's Touch Bar, without the IT department finding out (yet).