Apple. “OK our MacBook and Pro keyboards are faulty.” #keyboardgate

MacBook adn Pro

Apple has very quietly announced a Keyboard Service program for MacBook and Pro laptops built since 2015. The issue – MacBook and Pro keys randomly stop working.

Noted and highly reputable teardown site iFixit first raised the issue in early June. According to it, there had been a tsunami of failures going on for a very long time.

In true Apple style, an advisory notice quietly went up on the web. But it was still up to the owner to take it into Apple for inspection. And be without it for several days for repair. To add insult to injury, the same type of keyboard that had originally failed was the replacement.

Well, Apple has now admitted it is a fault with ‘some keyboards’. It has extended the warranty on the affected units for four years after the first retail sale of the unit. This will only delay a full recall.

The problem according to iFixit is a design fault with all the Butterfly 1.0 2.0 keyboards. Customers should not accept a replacement that is equally liable to fail again. It states, “These keyboards, described by Jony Ive as thin, precise, and ‘sturdy,’ have been magnificently prone to failure.”

MacBook and Pro Models Affected

Macbook 12″ Retina

  • 2015
  • 2016
  • 2017

MacBook Pro 13″

  • 2016, Two Thunderbolt 3 Ports
  • 2017, Two Thunderbolt 3 Ports
  • 2016, Four Thunderbolt 3 Ports
  • 2017, Four Thunderbolt 3 Ports

MacBook Pro 15″

  • 2016
  • 2017

It’s not an easy or cheap fix either

The ultra-slim modular design may havd been at the expense of keyboard reliability. Replacement entails the entire upper case including the glued-in battery, trackpad, and speakers at the same time. No, you cannot replace individual keys either. iFixit rate these MacBooks as a 1-out-of-10 in repairability.

Failure can come from a single dust mote as shown in the iFixit blog here

This could be extremely costly to Apple

Millions of MacBooks and Pro, every one made since 2015 are at risk.

Already major class actions are underway. The Butterfly 1.0 and 2.0 keyboards are prone to failure. It only takes the slightest amount of dust to make its way past the keycap.

Lawyers claim it is a $1,000 ticking timebomb and want every MacBook/Pro replaced. The resale value of these models is now effectively zero.

iFixit have discovered Apple has quietly updated its keyboards to V3.0 by adding a thin silicon shield (below). It calls it the great keyboard coverup.

MacBook and Pro keyboard