Apple’s newest MacBooks apparently suffer from an unexpected problem, a keyboard issue that’s not easy to fix. Affected models include 2015 or later MacBook and 2016 or later MacBook Pro models. These laptops are thinner than ever, and Apple redesigned the mechanism under each key so that it could manufacture butterfly keyboards with an even slimmer profile.
Incredibly, it turns out that simple particles of dust can render individual keys on these machines useless, and dislodging them to fix them isn’t as easy as it was on older MacBook models.
The Outline explains that replacing a faulty keyboard isn’t possible. Apple has to replace the top case, which has a $700 price tag if the MacBook Pro is out of warranty. Apparently, plenty of buyers are affected:
It’s unclear how big of a problem butterfly switch keyboards are. Apple forums are overflowing with reports of Geniuses who have told customers that Apple is “collecting data” on the issue. One corporate issuer of the MacBook Pros in question reported to me that its business has encountered a significant number of keyboard issues, but “less than 5% for sure.” Another Genius explained to me that he had seen an overwhelming number of the computers with keyboard issues, the spacebar in particular — while some keys can be very delicately removed, the spacebar breaks every single time anyone, including a professional, tries to remove it. This is a big problem, since, according to the Genius I spoke to, it’s the key most susceptible to acting up from the aforementioned piece of dust. “I would say it’s THE issue on this computer,” he told me. (Apple declined to comment.)
What further proves the new butterfly keyboards have a dust issue is this Apple support document that’s basically insane. If you need to have this guide on your site, it means a significant number of MacBook buyers experience keyboard issues, and it’s not a problem that is going to go away:
You need a particular set of skills to clean the keyboard by yourself and not drop the MacBook in the process. The best thing about it is holding the Mac at a 75-degree angle “so it’s not quite vertical,” before using compressed air to eliminate the dust.
Even John Gruber, a diehard Apple fan and respected blogger, is upset about it. “I find these keyboards — specifically, the tales of woe about keys getting stuck or ceasing to work properly — a deeply worrisome sign about Apple’s priorities today,” he said, in a response to The Outline’s story.
What’s worse about it is that we have a song for this issue created by Jonathan Mann, the same guy who mocked Apple’s “Antennagate” issue.
If you do experience any keyboard issues whatsoever with the new MacBook and MacBook Pros, better line up your Genius Bar appointment right away because fixing it yourself is a huge pain.