Ever since Apple launched the 2018 MacBook Pro line last week, we wondered whether the third-generation butterfly keyboard inside the new Macs also had a hidden feature, a permanent fix for that problem that affected so many people who purchased previous Pro generations.
Apple would not confirm any fixes in its marketing materials, instead saying that the redesigned keyboard was quieter, and would not admit that the new keyboard will be more resilient than the previous versions. But a first teardown of the new MacBook Pro revealed that Apple put in place a protection system for the butterfly mechanism to prevent debris from getting into it. Now, a new leak offers more confirmations about the fix.
Owners of MacBook (2015 and later) and MacBook Pro (2016 and later) laptops discovered that keys would become unresponsive if a tiny particle of dust ends up inside the keyboard.
To fix the issue, you’d need to replace the entire top side of the device, and the fix isn’t permanent. There’s always a chance you’ll encounter the same problem in the future. Apple now has a repair program for affected buyers, but it’s also the target of several lawsuits. That may be while Apple isn’t willing to publicly acknowledge the keyboard design issue that affected the previous notebooks.
But Apple published a new internal document for Apple Authorized Service Providers that mentions the fix (emphasis ours):
Keyboard and Keycaps
The keyboard has a membrane under the keycaps to prevent debris from entering the butterfly mechanism. The procedure for the space bar replacement has also changed from the previous model. Repair documentation and service videos will be available when keycap parts begin shipping.
Earlier this week we learned that the fixed keyboard is only available to 2018 MacBook Pros. That means you won’t get 2018 butterfly keyboards installed in older MacBook Pros and MacBooks.