Apple Promises to Repair Butterfly Keyboards on Some MacBook & MacBook Pro Models

Apple announced that they plan to provide a worldwide service to correct keyboard flaws found in their popular line of MacBook and MacBook Pro portable machines. Having admitted on Friday that some small percentage of computers did indeed ship with defects, Apple has agreed to replace fix these problems without charging consumers.

The service could include correcting letters that repeat unexpectedly as well as repairing keyboards that shipped with dead or stuck keys. Online discussion threads indicate that users have been complaining about problems with the so-called butterfly keyboard since last year.

Macintosh aficionados have complained that keys have a tendency to get stuck whenever dust gets lodged underneath them. This is technically a problem with all keyboards that don’t use discrete mechanical switches. However, it seems that these problems are much more common on the built-in keyboards provided with these particular portable computers.

Cupertino’s announcement comes after a the filing of a federal class-action lawsuit as a result of the defects. The case was supposed to be handled by a court in Northern California.

This particular lawsuit is over 44 pages long, and it accuses Apple of failing to let customers know that there was a problem with the keyboard.

Models eligible for the free repair program include at least some MacBook Retina 12-inch editions shipped between early 2015 and early 2016. Some shipped during 2017 are also eligible. Owners of a number of MacBook Pro editions shipped in 2016-2017 can also potentially receive some kind of free repair by going to an authorized Apple provider.

Repairs might include substantial work on an entire keyboard, though they probably just require the replacement of one or two keys in an overwhelming majority of cases.

It seems that when dirt gets under the newer and thinner butterfly switches it can’t easily escape. Cleaning an older scissor-switch keyboard is considerably easier, which is why many MacBook models aren’t effected by this problem. Ironically, old school discrete plastic keys are more immune to this problem than any of the newer technologies.

This means that Apple fans who still tap away on an old AEKII have comparatively little to worry about.

John Rendace
John is a GNU/Linux expert with a hobbyist's background in C/C++, Web development, storage and file system technologies. In his free time, he maintains custom and vintage PC hardware. He's been compiling his own software from source since the DOS days and still prefers using the command line all these years later.