It has been an eventful few weeks for MacBook Pro keyboards.

Last month, Apple finally acknowledged that a "small percentage" of MacBook and MacBook Pro models with butterfly switch keyboards may experience issues with "sticky" or inconsistently functioning keys, and launched a worldwide service program offering free repairs of affected keyboards for up to four years.

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The issues are widely believed to be caused by dust or other particulates, like crumbs from a sandwich, getting lodged in the butterfly mechanism underneath the keycaps, which are shallower than those on previous-generation MacBook and MacBook Pro keyboards with traditional scissor switch mechanisms.

Then, last week, Apple surprised us with the release of new 2018 MacBook Pro models, which feature an "improved third-generation keyboard for quieter typing," according to Apple's press release. Apple never publicly confirmed if the third-generation keyboard addresses the issues that prompted its service program.

It didn't take long for the repair experts at iFixit to open up the latest 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar and discover a thin silicone membrane underneath each key, which they said is clearly to prevent "contaminant ingress," or, in other words, to prevent dust and crumbs from getting stuck under keys.

Then, just hours ago, MacRumors obtained an internal document from Apple, distributed to its network of Apple Authorized Service Providers, that clearly acknowledges that "the keyboard has a membrane under the keycaps to prevent debris from entering the butterfly mechanism," as many people suspected.

Now, in another internal document obtained by MacRumors, Apple has announced that it will be hosting a series of 60-minute web broadcast events focused on servicing Mac notebook keyboards and keycaps.

In the broadcasts, which service providers are instructed to watch "in private in an environment away from customers," Apple says it will discuss the anatomy of the current keycaps, focus on troubleshooting and isolating keyboard issues, and demonstrate how to clean keyboards and replace keycaps.

These training sessions are routine for Apple Authorized Service Providers, but given all of the issues surrounding the MacBook and MacBook Pro keyboards as of late, they will likely be very helpful for technicians.

Customers can initiate a repair by reading: How to Get a MacBook or MacBook Pro Keyboard Repaired Free Under Apple's Service Program.

Related Roundups: MacBook Pro 13", MacBook Pro 16"
Related Forums: MacBook Pro, MacBook

Top Rated Comments

redheeler Avatar
40 months ago
It's a keyboard, one of the most fundamental components of a laptop. It really shouldn't be this complicated.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
redheeler Avatar
40 months ago
...how complicated exactly?

I’m Apple certified, I spent 15 minutes watching an explanation of a particular screw once. I don’t see the problem in comprehensive training on how to do the repair work technicians are paid for, can you elaborate on the issue you have with it?
Fair enough, I see no problem with comprehensive training; but Apple clearly over-engineered this keyboard in an attempt to make it thinner, resulting in all the negative publicity over stuck keys happening with the 2016 / 2017 models, and making it more difficult to service as well.

My guess is the 2015 and before keyboards will still prove to be (on average) more reliable than the 2018 keyboards.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
NT1440 Avatar
40 months ago
It's a keyboard, one of the most fundamental components of a laptop. It really shouldn't be this complicated.
...how complicated exactly?

I’m Apple certified, I spent 15 minutes watching an explanation of a particular screw once. I don’t see the problem in comprehensive training on how to do the repair work technicians are paid for, can you elaborate on the issue you have with it?
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
reteena2048 Avatar
40 months ago
...how complicated exactly?

I’m Apple certified, I spent 15 minutes watching an explanation of a particular screw once. I don’t see the problem in comprehensive training on how to do the repair work technicians are paid for, can you elaborate on the issue you have with it?
At retail stores, technician training has been incredibly weak the last few years with lots of employees that are uncertified being forced to proceed with customer repairs. Notice it’s “routine” training for AASP but not for Apple. It’s a big problem and I doubt that they will offer time for Apple Technicians, especially during “busy back-to-school” season, then new product launch, then holiday.

Please note, there are now Geniuses that have only been trained by videos, and have never handled these physical components before. Especially these newly-designed Macbooks and MacBook Pros, that open quite differently from before (they don’t just unscrew and pop off, as you know actually being certified!)
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Koh Phi Phi Avatar
40 months ago
As someone who suffered from malfunctioning keyboard on my 15" TouchBar MBP, I hope this membrane fixes the reliability issue.

The butterfly keyboard had 3 main issues:

* Reliability
* Lack of tactile fee (no travel)
* Annoying clackiness (noisy)

All in the pursue of shaving 1mm off to the laptop thickness... Was it really necessary?

I dunno... Butterfly keyboard, gimmicky touchbars, one-port mentality, no headphone jack quest... I feel like Apple in the last few years have been stubornly fighting the wrong battles!
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jhudgins Avatar
40 months ago
But I thought it was to make the keyboard quieter. ::eye roll::
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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