Apple Unable To Get MacBook Keyboard Lawsuit Dismissed

A federal judge shot down Apple’s efforts to end a proposed class-action lawsuit over the troubled ‘butterfly’ keyboard on notebooks such as the MacBook Pro.


Even with its service program for problematic MacBook keyboards, Apple may still have to face a proposed class-action lawsuit following a federal court ruling.

A U.S. district judge in Northern California denied Apple's motion to dismiss a lawsuit over the keyboards, which 10 plaintiffs had brought in October 2018.

[Related: Apple Pledges To Fix Or Replace Defective MacBook Pro Keyboards]

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Apple introduced a redesigned MacBook Pro in late 2016 featuring a "butterfly" keyboard mechanism, which aims to provide "more responsive and comfortable typing," Apple said at the time. But numerous users, including the plaintiffs in several lawsuits, contended that the keyboards were defective.

In response, Apple launched a keyboard service program for MacBook Pro and MacBook laptop keyboards in June 2018. Troublesome keyboard behaviors cited by Apple itself include letters or characters repeating unexpectedly; letters or characters failing to appear; and keys that are "sticky" or "do not respond in a consistent manner."

The service program has covered 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pro models released since 2016, as well as 12-inch MacBook models released since its debut in 2015. The specific service “may involve the replacement of one or more keys or the whole keyboard," Apple has said of the program.

In the ruling, U.S. District Judge Edward Davila noted that the plaintiffs in the case "vigorously dispute" that Apple's service program is sufficient.

According to the plaintiffs, "Apple could not 'provide an effective fix to the defect' and the Program 'does not provide all of the relief that they seek,'" Davila wrote in the ruling.

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In November, Apple launched a new version of the MacBook Pro featuring a different keyboard design. The new keyboard uses a scissor mechanism instead of a butterfly mechanism, and offers 1 mm of key travel.