Apple Launches Repair Program for Faulty MacBook and MacBook Pro Keyboards

Apple today launched a keyboard repair program for MacBook and MacBook Pro models equipped with butterfly keys to address complaints over letters or characters that repeat unexpectedly, letters or characters that do not appear, and keys that feel "sticky" or do not respond in a consistent manner.

According to Apple, a "small percentage" of MacBook and MacBook Pro keyboards from 2015 to 2017 can experience these symptoms.


Apple says that customers can bring an affected MacBook or MacBook Pro into an Apple retail store or to an Apple Authorized Service Provider to receive repairs free of charge, with the type of service to be determined after the keyboard has been examined.

Repairs may include the replacement of one or more keys or the entire keyboard. Eligible MacBook and MacBook Pro models are listed below:

  • 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)

No other MacBook or MacBook Pro models are included in the program, but it does cover eligible MacBook and MacBook Pro models for four years after the first retail sale of the unit.

To initiate the repair process, customers should find an Apple Authorized Service Provider, make an appointment at an Apple retail store, or mail the device into an Apple Repair Center after contacting Apple support. Apple says that if the affected MacBook or MacBook Pro has damage that impairs service, the issue will need to be repaired first.

Repair documents for Apple Authorized Service Providers seen by MacRumors suggest Apple will repair MacBook and MacBook Pro regardless of keyboard damage due to attempted keycap repair by the customer or physical top case damage unrelated to the keyboard. Liquid damage and physical keyboard damage unrelated to a keycap repair will require additional work to be paid for by the customer before a keyboard repair can be initiated.


Customers who experienced keyboard problems but were forced to pay out-of-warranty repair fees for their damaged MacBook or MacBook Pro models can contact Apple to inquire about a refund. In some cases, repairs for keyboard issues were priced at upwards of $500.

Apple's decision to offer a repair program follows increasing customer dissatisfaction with the failure rate of the first and second-generation butterfly keyboards in the 2015 and later MacBook models and the 2016 and later MacBook Pro models.


Customer complaints have suggested that these models experience issues more often than prior keyboards due to the flatter butterfly keys that adopt dome switches for a more responsive feel. The design of these keyboards can cause keys to fail when dust or other small particles get into the keys, leading to the "sticky" and non-responsive keys Apple describes above.

Apple is facing two potential class action lawsuits over the defective keyboards in recent MacBook and MacBook Pro models from customers who were forced to pay high prices for out-of-warranty repairs. Thousands of customers also signed a Change.org petition calling on Apple to fix the keyboard issues that are being addressed with the new repair program.

Related Roundup: MacBook Pro
Buyer's Guide: MacBook Pro (Caution)

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
23 months ago
Ever since Steve Jobs died, and Bob Mansfield was replaced by an iPad guy (Dan Riccio) in late 2012, Mac designs have gone downhill. Plain and simple.
Score: 99 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
23 months ago
Surprise, surprise. There IS something wrong with the keyboards like we all knew there was. Typical Apple - blame their customers, blame their users blame EVERYBODY else but their poor design choices.
Score: 84 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
23 months ago

It’s brilliant that they finally started a free repair program for this. Many people thought they wouldn’t but it was starting to get out of hand. Although it shouldn’t have been an issue in the first place. The 2018 models don’t have this issue due to the mechanism used.

The 2018 models don’t have this issue because they don’t exist.
Score: 76 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
23 months ago

Regardless of what the haters will say, this is good customer service. Thank you Apple!

I have a distorted view of good customer service. My definition of "good customer service" entails a company making good on addressing a manufacturing defect without the need to threaten a class-action lawsuit. But I'm odd that way.


Score: 50 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
23 months ago
I'm not surprised by this. The threat of a class action is usually what it takes...
Score: 49 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
23 months ago
small percentage, applespeak
Score: 45 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Apple Considering Delaying iPhone 12 Launch 'by Months'

Wednesday March 25, 2020 12:51 pm PDT by Juli Clover
Apple is preparing to delay the launch of the 2020 iPhones expected to be equipped with 5G technology, according to sources with knowledge of Apple's plans that spoke to Japanese news site Nikkei. Apple has reportedly held internal discussions about the possibility of delaying the launch "by months" over fears of how well iPhones would sell in the current situation, and supply chain sources...

Apple Helps Source Over 10 Million N95 Masks for Healthcare Providers in the U.S.

Wednesday March 25, 2020 10:25 am PDT by Juli Clover
Apple over the weekend announced plans to donate millions of N95 masks to hospitals in the United States and Europe, and according to Apple CEO Tim Cook, Apple has been able to source more than 10 million N95 masks in the U.S. and millions more in Europe. Apple CEO Tim Cook said on Saturday that Apple was aiming to donate supplies to healthcare providers fighting COVID-19, and clarified...

Hands-On With the New 2020 12.9-Inch iPad Pro

Wednesday March 25, 2020 2:10 pm PDT by Juli Clover
Apple last week announced new 11 and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models, and as of today, the new iPads are arriving to customers. We picked up one of the new 12.9-inch models and checked it out to see just what's new and whether it's worth buying. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. When it comes to design, the new iPad Pro models are identical to the 2018 iPad Pro models, but ...

Kuo: Apple to Launch Several Macs With Arm-Based Processors in 2021, USB4 Support Coming to Macs in 2022

Thursday March 26, 2020 8:19 pm PDT by Joe Rossignol
Apple plans to launch several Mac notebooks and desktop computers with its own custom designed Arm-based processors in 2021, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said today in a research note obtained by MacRumors. Kuo believes that Arm-based processors will significantly enhance the competitive advantage of the Mac lineup, allow Apple to refresh its Mac models without relying on Intel's processor roadmap,...

Apple Releases iOS and iPadOS 13.4 With New Mail Toolbar, iCloud Folder Sharing, Trackpad Support for iPad and More

Tuesday March 24, 2020 9:56 am PDT by Juli Clover
Apple today released iOS and iPadOS 13.4, the latest major updates to the iOS 13 operating system that was released in September. iOS and iPadOS 13.4 come two months after the release of iOS and iPadOS 13.3.1 with Screen Time Communication Limits. The iOS and ‌iPadOS‌ 13.4 updates are available on all eligible devices over-the-air in the Settings app. To access the updates, go to...

Apple Releases macOS Catalina 10.15.4 With Screen Time Communication Limits and Real-Time Apple Music Lyrics

Tuesday March 24, 2020 10:21 am PDT by Juli Clover
Apple today released macOS Catalina 10.15.4, the fourth update to the macOS Catalina operating system that was released in October. macOS Catalina 10.15.4 comes a couple of months after the release of macOS Catalina 10.15.3. macOS Catalina 10.15.4 can be downloaded from the Mac App Store for free using the Update feature in the System Preferences app. The macOS Catalina 10.15.4 update...

Apple Says MacBook Air With Retina Display Can Exhibit Anti-Reflective Coating Issues, Unclear if Eligible for Free Repairs [Updated]

Thursday March 26, 2020 8:16 am PDT by Joe Rossignol
Apple this week acknowledged that MacBook Air models with Retina displays can exhibit anti-reflective coating issues, as indicated in a memo shared with Apple Authorized Service Providers and obtained by MacRumors. "Retina displays on some MacBook, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro computers can exhibit anti-reflective (AR) coating issues," the memo states. Apple's internal service documentation ...

Hands-On With Apple's New Smart Keyboard Folio for the 2020 iPad Pro Models

Tuesday March 24, 2020 12:38 pm PDT by Juli Clover
Apple last week introduced new 11 and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models, which are set to arrive in the hands of customers starting this week. Apple introduced a nifty new Magic Keyboard with trackpad alongside the new iPad Pro models that's coming in May, but it also debuted a new Smart Keyboard Folio, which is available now. We picked up the Smart Keyboard Folio for the designed for the 2020 iPad...

Hands-On With the New $999 MacBook Air

Thursday March 26, 2020 1:45 pm PDT by Juli Clover
Alongside new iPad Pros last week, Apple also refreshed the MacBook Air, adding more storage, faster 10th-generation processors, and an updated keyboard. We picked up one of the new machines to take a look at some of the upgrades added in the 2020 update. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Design wise, there are no real external changes to the MacBook Air's body,...

Mobile Networks in Multiple Countries Display 'Stay Home' Message When Users Connect to Cellular Instead of WiFi

Tuesday March 24, 2020 3:46 pm PDT by Juli Clover
iPhone users in several countries who disconnect from WiFi on their devices will see a "Stay Home" message at the top of the Control Center where cellular network information is displayed. Image via Matt Navarra According to reports on Twitter, the status bar messages are showing up in countries that include Germany, Belgium, United Arab Emirates, Peru, Turkey, India, Luxembourg, Romania,...