Apple has finally acknowledged that the ‘Butterfly Keyboard’ mechanism featured in its most recent MacBook products, including the Pro and standard MacBook, is experiencing issues.
Apple announced on Friday the launch of the replacement program for the keyboard featured in its laptop line because “a small percentage of keyboards in certain MacBook and MacBook Pro models,” are experiencing issues that cause letters to repeat unexpectedly, or to not appear at all.
MobileSyrup has confirmed with Apple Canada that this replacement program is also available in the Canadian market.
“Last Friday we launched a keyboard service program for our customers that covers a small percentage of keyboards in certain MacBook and MacBook Pro models which may exhibit one or more of the following behaviours: letters or characters that repeat unexpectedly or don’t appear when pressed or keys that feel ‘sticky’ or aren’t responding in a consistent manner,” said Apple Canada in a statement to MobileSyrup.
“Apple or an Apple Authorized Service Provider will examine the customer’s device to verify eligibility and then perform the service free of charge. Service may involve the replacement of one or more keys or the whole keyboard.”
All models of the MacBook that utilize the company’s low-travel Butterfly Keyboard, ranging from the 2015 12-inch Retina MacBook, to 2017’s 15-inch MacBook Pro — which features the second-generation of this keyboard tech — are covered under Apple’s new service plan, according to the company.
Apple’s Butterfly Keyboard mechanism is designed to reduce key travel, allowing the company to make its MacBook Pro thinner, replacing the standard ‘scissor’ keys that have been around in other manufacturer’s laptops for a number of years. Apple also designed the Butterfly Keyboard switch to be more reliable, though that doesn’t seem to have panned out for the company.
Many disliked the first-generation Butterfly keys because the sensation of actually pressing a key is almost completely removed. The second-generation keyboard featured additional key travel, as well as a more pronounced and satisfying click when pressed. Still, many weren’t fond of the keyboard featured in Apple’s newer MacBook models.
The issue with the Butterfly mechanism lays in the fact that small specs of dust can easily cause keys to become unresponsive. I’ve had this happen a few times since switching over to the 2015 MacBook, then the 2016 MacBook Pro without Touch Bar and finally, the 2017 MacBook Pro with Touch Bar just a few months ago. Whenever I encountered this problem I was able to get the laptop’s keyboard to respond as expected again by sliding a thin piece of paper under the key and shuffling it around, coupled with spraying an ample amount of compressed air.
Apple says that the replacement program covers the MacBook and MacBook Pro for four years after the original date of purchase. The manufacturer also notes that the program does not extend the overall standard warranty of the MacBook and MacBook Pro.
It’s unclear if the new Butterfly key mechanisms Apple is replacing faulty MacBook keyboards with feature an altered hardware design that actually solves the issue permanently. Reports indicate that an out-of-warranty fix ranges in the $800 CAD range. It’s unclear how long repairs are set to take or if MacBook Pro laptops suffering from the issue will be able to be fixeddirectly at an Apple Store.
Apple Canada also notes that if a customer has paid for a repair at an Apple Authorized Service Provider prior to the launch of this replacement program, they can contact Apple in order to get a refund for the service cost.
Below is a full list of MacBook laptops supported by Apple’s new keyboard replacement program.
- (Retina, 12-inch, Early 2015)
- (Retina, 12-inch, Early 2016)
- (Retina, 12-inch, 2017)
- (13-inch, 2016, Two Thunderbolt 3 Ports)
- (13-inch, 2017, Two Thunderbolt 3 Ports)
- (13-inch, 2016, Four Thunderbolt 3 Ports)
- (13-inch, 2017, Four Thunderbolt 3 Ports)
- (15-inch, 2016)
- (15-inch, 2017)
For more details on the replacement program, follow this link.