Apple Finally Admits to MacBook Keyboard Design Flaw

Posted on June 23, 2018 by Paul Thurrott in Mac and macOS with 66 Comments

Apple last night quietly launched a new service program for those MacBook and MacBook Pro models that use its deeply-flawed and poorly-designed butterfly keyboard design.

“Today we launched a keyboard service program for our customers that covers a small percentage of keyboards in certain MacBook and MacBook Pro models which may exhibit one or more of the following behaviors: letters or characters that repeat unexpectedly or don’t appear when pressed or keys that feel ‘sticky’ or aren’t responding in a consistent manner,” an Apple statement notes, underplaying the severity of the issue.

Indeed, this problem is an open embarrassment for Apple and its worst design failure since the iPhone 4. In that infamous case, dubbed “Antennagate,” the device could drop cellular connectivity when held normally by the user. Apple underplayed the severity of that issue, too. But the parallels are even deeper: Just as Apple quietly revamped the antenna design of the iPhone over the next several revisions, it, too, has been quietly trying to fix the butterfly keyboard design too.

Apple proudly introduced the original version of the butterfly keyboard with its early 2015 MacBook, noting at the time that the scissor mechanism that it (and other PC makers) previously used was wobbly and unstable. The butterfly design that Apple created was meant to address these supposed issues, though customers had never complained about the previous Apple keyboard design.

Worse, the butterfly keyboard design is endemic unreliable. And it has been brought down, numerous times, by a single speck of dust, rendering the devices unusable. The problem is so bad that Apple faces several class-action lawsuits. Which explains the service program.

If you do own an impacted MacBook or MacBook Pro laptop, you’re going to want to keep this page bookmarked.

And, please, continue keeping the issue quiet so that Apple can keep receiving its industry-best brand reliability award from Consumer Reports, whose scores are based solely on owner feedback. Your silence is what makes this work.

“Apple stands out as being the most reliable laptop brand,” the agency reports, while calling out Microsoft for being unreliable. “These conclusions are based on our breakage rate estimates for laptops by the end of the 2nd year of ownership, gathered from subscribers’ experiences.”


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