Some 2016 MacBook Pro Owners Experiencing Keyboard Problems

Apple's latest line of notebooks introduced an entirely revamped keyboard featuring flatter keys built using a second-generation butterfly mechanism, designed to optimize for stability while also maximizing travel. The butterfly mechanism was originally introduced in the ultra thin MacBook, but a newer version was implemented in the MacBook Pro.

There have been mixed opinions about the keyboard of the 2016 MacBook Pro due to its vastly different feel compared to previous-generation MacBook Pro models, and it appears the new butterfly mechanism may also be less reliable compared to older construction techniques.

A growing number of customers who have purchased a 2016 MacBook Pro are running into issues with the keyboard, including non-functional keys, strange high-pitched sounds on some keys, and keys with a non-uniform feel. There are dozens of threads both on MacRumors and on the Apple Support site.

13inchmacbookprokeyboard
One of the most significant issues appears to be keys that make different higher-pitched sounds than other keys in some cases, a problem that was caught on video by MacRumors user monstermac77. As is demonstrated, when the caps lock key is pressed, it makes a sound that's much different than the other keys on the keyboard.


According to monstermac77, the issue is only reproducible when the Mac is warm, a complaint that has been echoed by several other MacBook owners in the thread, suggesting heat plays a role in activating the problem. Some users are experiencing the overly-clicky sound without heat, though.

Within a few hours of using my Late 2016 MacBook Pro 15" with Touch Bar, I noticed some of my keys made a very high pitched click on-key-up (when I lifted my finger from the pressed down key). The affected keys: Caps Lock, left Option, and very occasionally: Delete, 'H', and 'C'.

The high-pitched clicking sound is irritating, but it isn't as serious as some of the other issues MacBook Pro owners have been having with the keyboard. In some cases, certain keys on the MacBook Pro miss clicks, enter double letters, or refuse to respond at all, a problem that we here at MacRumors have also experienced. MacRumors reader rroch describes the problem:

My 2016 15'' MacBook Pro arrived yesterday (as one of the first). 63 of the 64 keys work fine. But the i-key most of the time types the letter twice. I suggest you test out your keyboard thoroughly. With auto-correct it can be easy to think it works. However, my password contains the letter i, and I quickly became super frustrated not being able to get my password right (come to think about it, maybe that's why they added Touch ID, so you don't need the keyboard for passwords). So take a document, turn off auto-correct, and check all the keys. I found that the failure happens more frequently with a slight delay before releasing the key.

It's not clear what's causing the issue with the keys that suddenly become non-functional, but the butterfly mechanism is sensitive and can be interrupted by something as simple as a bit of dust. In our case, with the machine we had that was experiencing issues with a specific key, the problem cleared up on its own, but other MacBook owners have not been so lucky.

One other minor keyboard complaint is an inconsistent feel across keys, with some keys that feel spongier than others or that don't press down consistently. This seems to be related to a problem with the butterfly mechanism which some users report having fixed with a needle or other thin tool, but most people should not try that sort of repair at home.

While many of the complaints seem to be focused on the 15-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, some users have also had problems with both the 13-inch model with a Touch Bar and the 13-inch model with no Touch Bar.

Customers who are experiencing keyboard problems should visit an Apple Store or an Apple Authorized Service Provider. In most cases, Apple is offering repairs and replacements for affected users, especially those who have verifiable hardware problems related to skipping keys, but some MacRumors readers have needed to go through several replacement machines to find a keyboard that doesn't experience issues.

Keyboard replacements are also not a simple matter on a machine as complex as the MacBook Pro, and users should expect repairs or replacements to take multiple days. According to reports from customers who have sought repairs, Apple is outright replacing most Touch Bar models while sending non-Touch Bar models out for repairs.

Related Forum: MacBook Pro

Top Rated Comments

Appleaker Avatar
64 months ago
I don't care, as long as it is thinner and has less ports I'll buy it.
Score: 124 Votes (Like | Disagree)
DrumApple Avatar
64 months ago
Maybe because the keyboard is absolute junk, designed for teenagers who never have to type for extended periods. There was nothing wrong with the keyboard, that's what happens when you fix something that isn't broken. Want a good keyboard? Get a ThinkPad.
Score: 63 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Oblivious.Robot Avatar
64 months ago
2016 MBP is the gift that keeps giving! :D
Score: 48 Votes (Like | Disagree)
DDustiNN Avatar
64 months ago
I can't stand the new keyboard. I've hated it ever since the new MacBook was released. This thread just proves that I was not wrong, haha.

The keyboard in my MacBook Air is absolutely perfect. I still think it's the best computer they've ever made.

I also hate the new click-less trackpad. It just doesn't feel right.

All I want is a MacBook Air with the same keyboard and trackpad, a retina screen, and some higher specs than what I have (2011 model). Been waiting for years and they JUST WON'T DO IT. COME ON, APPLE! I don't like this new crap. The keyboard is garbage (which is now proven).
Score: 34 Votes (Like | Disagree)
weup togo Avatar
64 months ago
Thanks for the needless "innovation" that made everything worse.
Score: 27 Votes (Like | Disagree)
barkomatic Avatar
64 months ago
It seems that there are more issues than normal with this generation of MBP. Glad I picked up a PC with an excellent keyboard while I wait for Apple to fix these problems for the next generation.
Score: 24 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

maxresdefault

Review: M1 Max MacBook Pro After Three Months

Wednesday January 19, 2022 11:30 am PST by
It's now been a few months since the M1 Pro and M1 Max MacBook Pro models launched in October, and MacRumors video editor Dan Barbera has been using one of the new machines since they debuted. Over on the MacRumors YouTube channel, Dan has shared a three month review of his MacBook Pro to see how it has held up over time and how it's changed his workflow. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube ...
airpodsinear 1

AirPods Save Woman's Life With Feature Everyone Should Know

Friday January 21, 2022 2:13 am PST by
Apple's AirPods have been credited with saving a woman's life after a potentially fatal fall, People reports. When a 60-year-old florist in New Jersey tripped and hit her head in her studio, she lost consciousness and awoke heavily bleeding. With nobody around to call for help, she realized she had her AirPods in, and used a "Hey Siri" command to call 911. An operator was able to stay on the ...
iphone se 2020 top

New iPhone SE Likely to Launch in April Based on Production Timeframe

Wednesday January 19, 2022 6:44 am PST by
Apple suppliers will begin producing display panels for the third-generation iPhone SE this month, with final assembly of the device likely to start in March, according to information shared by display industry consultant Ross Young. Based on this production timeframe, Young believes the third-generation iPhone SE is likely to launch in the second half of April, or perhaps in early May at...
iphone 13 earpods

Apple to Stop Including EarPods With Every iPhone Sold in France From Next Week

Friday January 21, 2022 3:21 am PST by
Apple will no longer include EarPods with every iPhone sold in France, starting on January 24, according to a notice posted by a French carrier (via iGeneration). Apple was previously required to include EarPods in the box with the iPhone due to a French law that required every smartphone sold in the country to come with a "handsfree kit," but the law has now been changed in favor of reducing the ...
Spring 2022 Apple Products Feature

New iPad Air, Macs, and iPhone SE With 5G Likely to Be Announced at Apple Event This Spring

Thursday January 20, 2022 8:32 am PST by
Earlier this week, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman tweeted that Apple "will be holding a spring event" to announce a new iPhone SE and other hardware. In a recent edition of his newsletter, Gurman said the event is likely to occur in March or April. Gurman did not elaborate on what "other hardware" will be announced at Apple's purported spring event, but rumors suggest at least four products are...
appleeducation

Apple's US Education Store Now Requires Institution Verification to Buy Discounted Products

Wednesday January 19, 2022 2:22 am PST by
Apple is now requiring that customers in the United States verify that they're active students, teachers, or staff members at an educational institution in order to access education discounts on products. Previously, little verification was needed for customers to purchase products through Apple's education store in the United States. Apple's education stores offer models of the iPad and Mac ...
AirPods 3 New Firmware Feature

Apple Updates AirPods 3 Firmware to Version 4C170

Tuesday January 18, 2022 11:46 am PST by
Apple today released a new 4C170 firmware update for the AirPods 3, an update from the prior 4C165 that was made available in December. Apple does not offer details on what's included in new firmware updates for the AirPods‌, so we don't know what improvements or bug fixes the new firmware brings. There is no standard way to upgrade the ‌AirPods‌‌ software, but firmware is...
appleprivacyad cleaned

iOS 15 Patched Security Hole That Potentially Exposed Users' Private Apple ID Information to Third-Party Apps

Thursday January 20, 2022 3:32 am PST by
Apple patched two significant security vulnerabilities when it released iOS 15 that could have potentially exposed users' private Apple ID information and in-app search history to malicious third-party apps and allowed apps to override user Privacy preferences, Apple has revealed in a recent support document update. With most iOS, macOS, tvOS, and watchOS updates, Apple provides a list of...
apple watch series 7 aluminum colors yellowbg

Apple Watch Charging Bug Fixed in watchOS 8.4 Release Candidate

Thursday January 20, 2022 4:01 pm PST by
The watchOS 8.4 release candidate that was seeded to developers and beta testers this morning addresses an ongoing bug that could cause some Apple Watch chargers not to work properly with the Apple Watch. Back in December, we reported on a growing number of charging issues that Apple Watch Series 7 owners were facing. Since watchOS 8.3, there have been a number of complaints about...