Internal Apple Documentation Confirms MacBook Pro Keyboard Fix

Posted on July 19, 2018 by Mehedi Hassan in Apple, Hardware with 22 Comments

Apple’s new MacBook Pros for this year come with improved, quieter keyboards. The previous generation of MacBook Pros come with a faulty keyboard that results in keys getting stuck because of dust. Apple faced a lot of backlash over the faulty keyboards, with the company later promising to replace the keyboards of the “small number” of users affected.

While Apple confirmed the new keyboard on the latest MacBook Pros isn’t designed to fix the issue, the company quietly added a new silicone cover over the butterfly switches to protect against dust. The fix is incompetent at best, which is likely why Apple isn’t officially acknowledging the existence of the fix — but in internal documents obtained by MacRumours, the company does mention the new mechanism, confirming the fix.

“The keyboard has a membrane under the keycaps to prevent debris from entering the butterfly mechanism,” the firm stated in one of the internal documents. “Be careful not to tear the membrane,” the firm warns in another document, stating that a torn membrane “will result in a top case replacement.” This replacement could cause hundreds — in fact, I had to pay around £350 to get the top case replaced on my 2015 MacBook Pro back in 2016. It is not fun.

Apple faced a lot of criticism over the new keyboards on its MacBook devices so far. With an aim to make the keyboards thinner, the company ultimately made a flawed keyboard that’s not going to be easy to undo. Apple knows it made a flawed product, which is why it’s even offering free replacements for the older MacBook Pros. One would expect the firm to completely re-design the keyboard with this year’s MacBook Pros to offer a better experience for customers, but that’s really not the case here. What really bothers me is the fact that the new keyboards don’t add any functionality —  yes, they are thinner and add to the streamlined design of the new MacBook Pros, but they aren’t any nicer to type on and requires some getting used to. Is it really worth all the hassle?

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Comments (22)

22 responses to “Internal Apple Documentation Confirms MacBook Pro Keyboard Fix”

  1. ibmthink

    Apple can't truly admit that they made a mistake here. The only real alternative would be to go back to the old design, which they absolutely do not want to do.

    They will rather continue to sell devices with bad keyboards than admit that they were wrong. Its the same with the "no touchscreen on Mac" policy, which forced them to implement a nonsensical touch-bar,

    • jwpear

      In reply to ibmthink:

      Apple just uses these opportunities as ways to sell more MacBooks later. I'm already picturing a them on stage this fall or fall 2019 showing off a new MacBook with their best keyboard ever. You can hear them saying "This is the best keyboard we've ever built!" They'll never mention the issues with the old keyboards.

    • lvthunder

      In reply to ibmthink:

      They would probably end up losing a bunch of lawsuits if they admit to a faulty design. It's more then just too ashamed to admit they were wrong.

  2. dstrauss

    Apple ABSOLUTELY does need to go back to the 2015 keyboard design. That flat crap, worthless to type on, POS is even worse than the issue of keyboard failure for dirt intrusion. My daughter, an Apple addict, still clings to her 2013 MB Air and 2015 MBP in hopes Apple will see the error of its ways on a future redesign.

  3. nbplopes

    I think they should do like MS. We are working on I t, improving day in day out,, wait for a software update. If you can’t, visit our support center we have a technician that will ask you todo all sorts of tests ...

  4. curtisspendlove

    The fix is incompetent at best, which is likely why Apple isn’t officially acknowledging the existence of the fix...

    I think it is still a bit early to criticize the effectiveness of its ability to repel debris.

    And I think the most likely reason they haven’t acknowledged a fix yet is due to advise from the legal team. 

    • MikeGalos

      In reply to curtisspendlove:

      And then the liability for not installing the "fixed" version on all the warrantee replacements for those "small number" of defective computers using the old design.

      • curtisspendlove

        In reply to MikeGalos:

        It is my understanding that the cases are incompatible.

        I guess they could have made a version of the third keyboard in the 2016-2017 cases though.

        But Apple has never really done that. They will spend the money on the repair extension and have people upgrade their laptops to the “fixed” version eventually.

        Sucks for the people effected though.

        Also, again, I’ve rarely heard of any company upgrading faulty hardware. Otherwise everyone with a Surface Pro that crapped out on them would be sporting a new Surface Pro 5.

        Galaxy Note 7 owners didn’t get a free Galaxy Note 8. (They did get up to about half off if they returned their 7.)

        • MikeGalos

          In reply to curtisspendlove:

          There's a difference between a bad batch of components where the replacement of one with the non-defective components is an actual fix and a bad design where the replacement is just as likely to fail as the original.

          I'm not suggesting Apple needs to replace the entire computer with a newer model but by replacing the defective design in the newer model that specifically addresses the defect they're admitting the original design was flawed and should no longer be sold. And that should include replacement parts.

  5. rkpatrick

    I look forward to the next model's ultra-thin membrane keyboard.

  6. briantlewis

    "The fix is incompetent at best"


  7. Winner

    Given Apple's profits, the right thing to do would have been to admit the problem and suck it up and fix all of the affected machines. But they took $$ over their quality and their customers. Short term thinking IMHO.

  8. jimchamplin

    Glued together monstrosities.

    • jwpear

      In reply to jimchamplin:

      I'm waiting for the market to reject this kind of crap, particularly the impossible to repair junk.  I believe someone can innovate with a thin device that is repairable.  Apple and others are just choosing to be assholes for the sake of profits, but they fail to realize that reparability and upgradeability are features worth a premium price.  I believe there are folks that would like this option even if the mass market is clueless.

      I find it funny that I can buy a beautiful, cheap $700 Dell Inspiron (which I have) and have a plethora of options to upgrade and repair the device.  Yet if I purchase a $2000+ Apple MacBook Pro or Surface Book, I'm pretty much screwed should anything fail or get damaged.  Extended "Complete/Care" warranties don't cover the entire useable life of the devices.  This is not right.

  9. NT6.1

    What a joke. All "pro" laptops past 2015 are useless.