When Apple unveiled the 2018 MacBook Pro models last week, we learned that the new laptops come with a third-generation butterfly keyboard that’s going to be a lot quieter than its predecessor. Nowhere in the press release or on the new MacBook Pro pages did Apple address the fact that it may have fixed the faulty butterfly keyboard design that posed so many problems to MacBook Pro buyers in the past.
iFixit’s teardown, however, revealed that Apple took steps to prevent dust from blocking the keys, which is probably the among the top annoyances with the post-2015 MacBook. That’s the good news. The bad news is that you can’t get that particular keyboard on your 2016 or 2017 MacBook Pro.
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Apple is facing a few lawsuits on the matter, and has started a Keyboard Service Program for MacBook and MacBook Pro. If you’ve been experiencing unresponsive keys, you probably qualify for free repairs.
To fix sticky keyboards, the entire keyboard needs to be replaced by a new unit, so I already know what you’re thinking. Will Apple use 2018 keyboards to replace the faulty ones? Of course not.
According to MacRumors, the third-generation keyboards are exclusive to the 2018 MacBook Pro models, so Apple retail stores and authorized service providers will not be allowed to use the new keyboards as replacements in older MacBooks or MacBook Pros.
It’s unclear at this time whether the new keyboard would fit an older model. As MacRumors explains, the keyboard is part of a larger component called the “top case,” which has a glued-in battery. It won’t be surprising if the internal design of the new MacBook Pro is slightly different than previous models.
Does this mean Apple also fixed the previous butterfly keyboard generations? There’s no way to tell right now, and we’ll have to wait and see whether buyers will still complain about the matter. If you experience sticky keys after a repair, that will be your answer.