MacBook butterfly keyboard class-action lawsuit will move forward

Apple has had several high-profile issues with its popular MacBook line of notebook computers in recent years. One of the biggest issues was with the so-called "butterfly" keyboard design. Those keyboards regularly failed during use due to the ability of dirt and debris to get under the keys rendering them useless. Apple was slow and, in some cases, refused to repair the keyboards leaving owners with expensive laptops that were unusable.

A judge has now granted class-action status to a lawsuit against Apple over its allegedly defective butterfly keyboard designed. The ruling allows any owners of impacted laptop models in seven states to qualify for the class-action case. Defective keyboard suits began going to court in 2018, with owners in seven states filing lawsuits individually against Apple.

The suits claim that the butterfly-style switches were defective. On Friday last week, Judge Edward J. Davila of the US District Court for the Northern District of California granted class-action status for the suit. Owners of defective MacBooks in California, New York, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, Michigan, or Washington state who purchased 2015 through 2017 MacBook, 2016 through 2019 MacBook Pro, or 2018 through 2019 MacBook Air qualify for the class.

The butterfly-style keyboard Apple designed was meant to be thinner and provide a shorter return, saving space inside the computer case and making typing faster. From the beginning, some users disliked the feel of the keyboard. The real problem with the design was the fact that the thinner keys were more susceptible to failure.

One failed switch meant that the entire keyboard had to be replaced. The suit alleges that internal documents and Apple's action confirm that the company knew the design was defective. The lawsuit also alleges that Apple violated consumer protection laws in several states when it continued to sell the defective products. Apple admitted problems with the keyboards in June 2018, and by 2019 the keyboards were being redesigned. They were completely phased out in 2020.