Apple Hasn’t Fixed Its MacBook Keyboard Problems

Posted on March 27, 2019 by Paul Thurrott in Apple, Hardware, Mac and macOS with 35 Comments

Apple has apologized for ongoing issues with the butterfly keyboards in modern MacBooks. But it still claims that most Mac users like the widely-criticized and unreliable keyboards.

“We are aware that a small number of users are having issues with their third-generation butterfly keyboard and for that we are sorry,” an Apple statement provided to The Wall Street Journal notes. “The vast majority of Mac notebook customers are having a positive experience with the new keyboard.”

Apple first introduced the butterfly keyboard in its early 2015 MacBook, bragging at the time that its unique design was more stable and less wobbly than traditional scissor-style keyboard mechanisms. But it has proven endemically unreliable, and Apple faces multiple class-action lawsuits as a result of all the problems, which include sticking and non-working keys.

To address these issues, Apple has updated the design twice. The second-generation butterfly keyboard debuted in the MacBook Pro in 2016, but users immediately reported having the same problems. Bowing to the complaints, Apple finally opened up a new keyboard service program for MacBook and MacBook Pro users in mid-2018. And then it delivered the third-generation butterfly keyboard in a MacBook Pro revision a month later. That design includes silicone covers over the butterfly key switches that are designed to stop dust from intervening with the key mechanism. And while Apple never publicly admitted to the change, internal documentation proves that this membrane was added to address the issues. Apple added the third-generation butterfly keyboard to its late 2018 MacBook Air as well.

But now we know the fix doesn’t work: Users are still reporting the same sticking and non-working keys with MacBooks based on the latest keyboard design.

 

“I consider these keyboards the worst products in Apple history,” Apple insider John Gruber proclaimed. “MacBooks should have the best keyboards in the industry; instead they’re the worst. They’re doing lasting harm to the reputation of the MacBook brand.”

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