What's wrong with Apple's butterfly keyboard

Class action lawsuit: The butterfly keyboard on various MacBooks could cost Apple even more

In the video embedded below, Apple presents the 12-inch MacBook - the presentation is still worth seeing today, because even more than six years later, the device still looks futuristic. In order to be able to build such a thin, light notebook, Apple has introduced a whole series of innovations, from the extremely popular Force Touch trackpad to the fan-free design with an Intel Core M processor, which has ensured a modest performance, to the now infamous butterfly keyboard.

From about 04:10 onwards, Apple's Phil Schiller explains the functionality and the supposed advantages of this keyboard. Due to the newly developed switch mechanism, it should not only be significantly thinner than conventional laptop keyboards, Apple also spoke of more stable keys and more precise lighting. However, these advantages cannot compensate for the lack of reliability, because if even a little dust gets into the mechanism, individual keys can already fail, and repairs are costly as these cannot be individually replaced.

In the years that followed, Apple also built this keyboard into the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro, up to the models that were introduced in 2019. Despite some adjustments, the keyboard was not more reliable years later, so Apple started an exchange program through which MacBook keyboards can be exchanged free of charge up to four years after a model has been launched. Obviously, this is not enough for customers and lawyers, because a new class action lawsuit has been launched in the USA, which is supposed to bring about compensation for the affected customers.

The reason: With the free repair, a defective butterfly keyboard is exchanged for a new one based on the same mechanism, so that sooner or later it will have problems again. The class action was filed back in 2018, but was not certified by Judge Edward Davila until March 8, 2021 and has now been published. How expensive the class action lawsuit will ultimately be for Apple will depend primarily on how many customers will join.

Hannes Brecher - Senior Tech Writer - 5164 articles published on Notebookcheck since 2018
I have been writing for various publications in the technology sector since 2009 until I joined the news editorial team at Notebookcheck in 2018. Since then I have combined my many years of experience in notebooks and smartphones with my lifelong passion for technology to keep our readers informed about new developments in the market. My design background as the art director of an advertising agency also gives me deep insights into the peculiarities of this industry.
Share this article to help us. Every link helps!