The proposed settlement, which still requires a judge's approval, was indicated in court documents filed Monday in San Jose, California.
The much-criticized keyboards were initially intended to help slim down laptops and were included on MacBooks released from 2015 to 2019. Unlike most laptop keyboards that use a "scissor mechanism" — two interlocking switches that click together when the key is pressed — Apple's butterfly method has mirrored switches that expand like wings.
this design element ended up making the keyboards prone to trapping dust and debris. Customers have long complained about the apparent faultiness of the keyboards and its sticky or easily-broken keys. An intentionally typo-ridden Wall Street Journal column in 2019 famously slammed the keyboards' flaws, and an influential tech blogger called the keyboards the "worst products in Apple history" that same year.
Attorneys expect under the proposed settlement, customers who had to replace multiple keyboards can expect payouts up to $395 and those who had a single keyboard replaced can expect around $125, according to the filing. Customers who had obtained key cap replacements can expect a $50 payout.
The agreement, which still needs to be approved by a judge, covers customers in California, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, and Washington,
Apple denied any wrongdoing and denied that any MacBooks are defective.
Over the years, Apple has proposed various fixes and redesigns for the "butterfly" keyboard. In 2019, Apple reverted back to the more traditional scissor-style keyboard.