One of the most common complaints levied at the MacBook and MacBook Pro laptops Apple relaunched in 2015 and 2016, respectively, has been how poor their keyboards are. Users and reviewers have complained that the keys are comically loud to type on, and that they easily get stuck and become unresponsive. Over 22,000 people have signed an online petition imploring Apple to recall and replace the MacBook keyboards.
On Friday, May 11, Apple was hit with a class-action lawsuit, filed in the northern district of California, on behalf of two MacBook owners, Zixuan Rao and Kyle Barbaro, who allege that Apple knew about the design flaws of the keyboards (which contain its “butterfly” key design that’s meant to make them more comfortable and responsive) before they went on sale. The suit claims that when a user presses one of the defective butterfly keys, it gets stuck, and they lose the ability to type with that key. According to the lawsuit, “thousands of consumers have experienced this defect.” The lawsuit claims Apple selling these laptops knowing there to be an issue is “fraud by omission.”
While there’s no indication of the number of laptops this has affected—and Apple has remained steadfast that its new key design is superior to the way keys are traditionally constructed—it’s quite easy to find frustrated MacBook owners on social media.
Apple’s tech support staff have attributed faulty keys to pieces of dust somehow stuck under keys and causing them to jam, The Outline previously reported. Apple suggests performing some yoga with your MacBook and a can of compressed air to clean it, or staff may replace the entire keyboard component, which can take up to a week, and costs up to $700 out of warranty, as The Outline notes.
The plaintiffs in the lawsuit are seeking damages and legal fees, as well as Apple covering the replacement costs for anyone who has purchased one of these laptops and is affected. Those affected can also join the class action suit.
Apple wasn’t immediately available to comment.