Apple might owe you money. Here’s how to check

December 16, 2022

For Christmas this year, you might get . . . money from Apple.

To be clear, that’s only if you fall under a settlement of a class action lawsuit against Apple, for selling MacBook laptops with defective keyboards in the latter half of the past decade. (And if you do, you won’t get the money until well after Christmas.)

To cash in, you must submit a claim at the settlement website by March 6, 2023. People who purchased certain models listed on the website, then had to get their keyboards repaired, are eligible.

The news comes after Apple agreed over the summer to pay a total of $50 million to aggrieved customers who bought MacBooks with so-called “butterfly keyboards,” a novel design that was meant to offer more precision as your fingers grazed lightly over the keys, like they were performing the graceful, tap-tap-tapping dance of a flittering butterfly.

But the keyboards inspired just the opposite, as users smashed their keyboards in frustration over keys that stuck, printing the same characters repeatedly onto the screen in a visual representation of the long groans and drawn-out sighs that they themselves provoked. (Arrgghhhh.) Other keys simply refused to register.

It was a source of gripes for tech nerds and design snobs alike. The problem, it seemed, was that the keyboard was thin and elegant, but far too fragile, much like the wings of a butterfly. The design’s name comes from the mechanism underneath the keys, which supports the button with a spring shaped like a V (mimicking the look of flapping wings), as opposed to the X-shaped spring of the alternate “scissor keyboard” design. However, the crook of the V was prone to trapping dust, dirt, or crumbs, making it easy for the keys to fail.

Although the butterfly keyboard was swiftly and widely loathed, Apple stuck with it for five years, making a series of tweaks in an attempt to salvage the design, before finally sunsetting it in 2020.

But the class-action lawsuit accused Apple of knowingly purveying keyboards that fell short of workable standards, then forcing buyers to foot the cost of repairs when they inevitably broke. For its part, Apple denied any wrongdoing in the settlement.

It will now pay a maximum of $50-$395 per customer, depending on how extensive the necessary repairs were. According to court documents, the settlement covers 15 million MacBooks that were sold.