Apple settles US butterfly-keyboard legal action for $50m

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An Apple MacBook Pro keyboard from 2016
Image caption,The 2016 MacBook Pro was one of the devices to feature the butterfly keyboard

Apple has agreed to pay $50m (£41.6m) to settle a legal action by claimants in the US, over its MacBook keyboards.

Customers in seven states claimed the technology giant had sold the "butterfly" keyboards, on MacBook, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro laptops, from 2015 to 2019, knowing they had unresponsive and sticky keys that could be damaged by dust or debris.

Apple did not immediately respond to a BBC News request for comment.

But the company denies any wrongdoing.

The settlement could see customers receiving up to:

  • $395, if they replaced multiple keyboards
  • $125, if they replaced one
  • $50 for those who replaced key caps

The preliminary agreement is still subject to approval by a judge.

On a typical keyboard, keys are attached using two pieces of plastic that cross each other and close like a pair of scissors when pressed.

The butterfly-keyboard keys instead used a wing-like hinge.

At the time, Apple said this mechanism was 40% thinner, so its laptops could be slimmer.

Phased out

After several complaints, it launched a repair and replacement programme, in 2018, that covered the keyboards for four years following their purchase.

But customers said the replacements often had the same issues.

Apple phased out the butterfly keyboard altogether in 2020 - its keyboards now use standard scissor switches.

The company is still facing several other legal complaints, including being sued over: