Apple has confirmed its thinner keyboard design for recent MacBooks is indeed more prone to breaking. It’s offering free repairs, though that could mean being without the computer for some time.
The problem is with the “butterfly” switch design introduced to MacBooks and Macbook Pros in 2015. They have a v-shaped switch mechanism where the center of the key simply goes straight down when you press it. That’s in contrast to the traditional x-shaped “scissor” mechanism where the key tilts on its way down to make the connection.
Apple sold the new design on the idea that it would not only mean better balanced keys, but could also make the keyboard itself thinner.
Not all consumers shared that experience, with many complaining of unresponsive, sticky or stuttering keys, and some even calling for class action cases. Critics also say the keys are more prone to collecting dirt and dust that’s tricky to remove.
Apple isn’t conceding that the design it self is flawed, but rather says that “a small percentage of the keyboards” in the following models may be showing the unwanted behaviors:
- MacBook (Retina, 12-¬inch, Early 2015)
- MacBook (Retina, 12¬-inch, Early 2016)
- MacBook (Retina, 12-¬inch, 2017)
- MacBook Pro (13¬-inch, 2016, Two Thunderbolt 3 Ports)
- MacBook Pro (13-¬inch, 2017, Two Thunderbolt 3 Ports)
- MacBook Pro (13-¬inch, 2016, Four Thunderbolt 3 Ports)
- MacBook Pro (13-¬inch, 2017, Four Thunderbolt 3 Ports)
- MacBook Pro (15-¬inch, 2016)
- MacBook Pro (15-¬inch, 2017)
Apple says it will examine the affected laptops and, if necessary, replace either specific keys or the entire keyboard. Users can take their laptop to an Apple store (with appointment) or an authorized service provider, or mail it in to the Apple Repair Center.
The company warns that “The service turn-around time may vary depending upon the type of service and availability of replacement parts.”
Users who’ve already paid for a repair on affected models can contact Apple to ask about getting a refund.