Report: Butterfly MacBook Pro keyboards require more frequent, more expensive repairs

“An AppleInsider article has stoked some consumer frustration over Apple’s butterfly keyboards. In it, AppleInsider combed through a limited dataset of warranty events from participating Apple Genius Bars and third-party repair shops,” Samuel Axon reports for Ars Technica. “The site determined that, in that data, the 2016 MacBook Pro’s keyboard accounted for twice the percentage of all warranty events in that machine’s first year on the market as its predecessors from 2014 and 2015 did.”

“These keyboards already have plenty of detractors. They have very short travel, which serves two functions: it frees up a tiny bit of space in the machine for other components (every nanometer counts), and it can make typing considerably faster since not as much effort is needed to register a key press,” Axon reports. “My own 2016 15-inch MacBook Pro keyboard failed about two months ago. The ‘Z’ key stopped working. I took the computer to an Apple Store, and Apple determined that some kind of dust or similar matter had gotten into the keyboard and caused a problem. Apple replaced it with the updated keyboard found in the 2017 MacBook Pro. My computer was working again the next day, and it cost me nothing because I had AppleCare. If I hadn’t, the repair would have cost me more than $700 according to the repair sheet the company gave me when it returned my computer.”

“That’s because Apple has designed the MacBook Pro such that fixing even one key requires replacing the entire keyboard apparatus, as well as part of the metal enclosure and some other components,” Axon reports. “This is the real consumer’s dilemma with the MacBook Pro keyboards—not their failure rate.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Form over function.

MacBook Pro users petition Apple to recall and replace defective butterfly keyboards – May 3, 2018
Apple’s MacBook Pro keyboards said to be failing twice as frequently as older design – May 1, 2018
MacBook Pro: The butterfly keyboard effect – April 26, 2018
Where Apple’s reinvention of the keyboard may go next: Full touchscreen – March 14, 2018
Apple’s design decisions and iPhone batteries – January 8, 2018
Hey Apple, it’s time to give up thinness for bigger, longer-lasting batteries – January 6, 2017
Apple in talks to acquire Australian startup Sonder for dynamic key-morphing Magic Keyboard – October 13, 2016
At this point, why make iPhone any thinner? – January 8, 2016
Open thread: What’d be wrong with slightly thicker iPhone with more battery life and a flush camera assembly? – December 21, 2015


  1. Its the dirt and crud that causes the butterfly key boards to require extra maintenance. However Apple should have designed key boards where the whole set dont need replacing at great expense because 1 key stoppered working. Such a waste.

    1. Yes, but ecological waste is and has been picking up speed not just in gadgets. In cars, look at the headlight assembly. You can’t simply replace the glass front.

  2. In a Monty Python pepperpot voices:

    “More trouble than it’s worth, ain’t it!”

    “You should flush it down the loo.”

    “I tried that. It won’t fit down the drain!”

    “Then throw it in the bin.”

    “The bin man won’t take it!

    “Oh, intercourse the butterfly keyboard!!”

  3. “Apple has designed the MacBook Pro such that fixing even one key requires replacing the entire keyboard apparatus, as well as part of the metal enclosure and some other components”

    Let’s ponder that a moment. The key can’t be easily replaced, even after removing it from the computer, otherwise they’d just do it instead of swapping it out with a new one.

    So what happens to the defective keyboard? Shipped to a warehouse, disassembled and recycled? All because of a single key failure? I think it’s safe to say it’s not going to find new life in a new laptop.

    Even if it’s recycled, that’s the *last* of the 3 Rs, and for good reason. This kind of “repair” (read: replacement) is an absolute waste of energy and resources, and I can no longer take Apple’s “green” claims without huge grains of salt.

  4. Maybe Apple doesn’t mind the failure rate of the keyboards because Apple intended it to be a ‘transition’ technology to get laptop/desktop users accustomed to software keyboards. (Think iPad as keyboard)

  5. For the love of all that is holy, can someone PLEASE do something about the pop up Amazon ads that come up on this site. I view on an iPhone and the ads pop up over 90% of the time, and completely take over the page with no way to dismiss without reloading the page only to read one more sentence before the ad hijacks the page again.

    1. Happened to me over a dozen times today. Irritating and no way to turn it off you are forced to close the application over and over. What a waste of time …

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