Apple Apologizes Over 'Small Number' of Users Who Continue to Have Issues With Third-Generation MacBook Keyboards

Last year, Apple introduced new MacBook Pro and MacBook Air models with a redesigned third-generation butterfly keyboard that was meant to address issues with sticking and non-responsive keys. However, as noted by The Wall Street Journal's Joanna Stern, some customers are continuing to experience these issues.

ifixitbutterflykeyboardteardown

Third-generation butterfly keyboard on 2018 MacBook Pro via iFixit

In a statement, an Apple spokesperson acknowledged the issues and apologized:

We are aware that a small number of users are having issues with their third-generation butterfly keyboard and for that we are sorry. The vast majority of Mac notebook customers are having a positive experience with the new keyboard.

Apple added that affected customers should contact the company for support.

Unfortunately, while Apple initiated a service program offering free repairs of affected 2015-2017 MacBook and 2016-2017 MacBook Pro models with first- and second-generation butterfly keyboards, the latest 2018 MacBook Pro and 2018 ‌MacBook Air‌ models with third-generation butterfly keyboards do not qualify at this time.

Stern wrote her column without using the letters E or R as a clever way of illustrating the problem — there are toggle switches to turn each letter back on. Humorously, there are also toggle switches to read the article with double E's or double T's, as repeating letters are one symptom of the sticky keys.

wsj keyboard column
In an internal document obtained by MacRumors last year, Apple said the third-generation keyboard has a silicone membrane under the keycaps to "prevent debris from entering the butterfly mechanism." However, the membrane has only reduced the keyboard issues instead of eliminating them entirely.

Apple has not admitted this reasoning publicly, instead saying that the third-generation keyboard delivers a "quieter" typing experience.

Stern concludes with a plea to Apple to "stop prioritizing thinness over usability."

Related Roundup: MacBook Pro 14 & 16"
Related Forum: MacBook Pro

Top Rated Comments

SoN1NjA Avatar
67 months ago
Are you ****ing kidding me? After three years, a $2400 laptop continues to have issues because Apple wants to be different ― nobody else needed the keyboard to be different!
Score: 114 Votes (Like | Disagree)
aaronhead14 Avatar
67 months ago
Apple really ought to just acknowledge that these butterfly keyboards are awful, and revert back to the 2015 MacBook keyboards. It’s crazy. They went from having literally the greatest laptop keyboards on the market in 2015, to having the absolute worst keyboards on the market in 2016, all just to save half a millimeter in thickness.
Score: 98 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Silver Idaten Avatar
67 months ago
"Small number."

**** you, Apple.
Score: 92 Votes (Like | Disagree)
beermode Avatar
67 months ago
I hope the next trend is function over form. Make everything durable, serviceable usable with big batteries.
Score: 87 Votes (Like | Disagree)
rosegoldoli Avatar
67 months ago
they really tried to downplay the issue by saying "small number". most people who have the keyboard seem to have issues. i have a macbook air 2018 and the "e" key clicks itself twice sometimes..

they dont wanna admit that the buttlerfly keyboard is sort of flawed

edit: read the article and she mentions my "sticky e" problem wow
Score: 65 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ijlakw Avatar
67 months ago
I wonder if this story will show up on Apple News.
Score: 62 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

iphone se 4 modified flag edges

iPhone SE 4 With Face ID Said to Be Priced Below $500

Monday May 20, 2024 3:43 am PDT by
Apple is targeting a sub-$500 starting price for its upcoming fourth-generation iPhone SE model despite a raft of rumored upgrades coming to the more affordable device. According to leaker Revegnus on X, the U.S. launch price of the fourth-generation iPhone SE will either remain at the same $429 starting price as the current model, or will see an increase of around 10%. Either way, Apple's...
iOS 17

Apple Releases iOS 17.5.1 With Fix for Reappearing Photos Bug

Monday May 20, 2024 10:11 am PDT by
Apple today released iOS 17.5.1 and iPadOS 17.5.1, minor updates to the iOS 17 and iPadOS 17 operating system updates that came out last September. The 17.5.1 updates come a week after the launch of iOS 17.5 and iPadOS 17.5. iOS 17.5.1 and iPadOS 17.5.1 can be downloaded on eligible iPhones and iPads over-the-air by going to Settings > General > Software Update. According to Apple's...
iPhone 16 Camera Lozenge 2 Perspective

iPhone 16 Lineup Rumored to Come in These Two New Colors

Sunday May 19, 2024 11:08 am PDT by
Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo today outlined his expectations for the iPhone 16 lineup's color options, revealing that two new colors should replace two of the existing shades. Kuo outlined his expectations in a post on X (formerly Twitter) earlier today. He believes that the iPhone 16 Pro and iPhone 16 Pro Max will be available in black, white or silver, gray or "Natural Titanium," and rose....
microsoft surface pro qualcomm

Microsoft Says New Surface Pro is Faster Than 15" M3 MacBook Air

Monday May 20, 2024 3:19 pm PDT by
Microsoft is going all in on AI, today introducing a series of Copilot+ PCs that have AI-focused hardware. The new Surface Pro is one of the first Copilot+ PCs, equipped with Qualcomm's Arm-based Snapdragon X Elite processor. Microsoft is already pitting the Surface Pro against Apple's M3 MacBook Air, and in marketing materials, claims that the Surface Pro has superior processing power and...
iOS 17

iOS 17.5 Bug May Also Resurface Deleted Photos on Wiped, Sold Devices [Updated]

Friday May 17, 2024 12:24 pm PDT by
A bug in iOS 17.5 is apparently causing photos that have been deleted to reappear, and the issue seems to impact even iPhones and iPads that have been erased and sold off to other people. A Reddit user wiped an iPad following Apple's guidelines in September of 2023 before selling it off to a friend. That friend updated the iPad to iPadOS 17.5 this week, and began seeing the Reddit user's old ...
iphone se 4 modified flag edges

When to Expect the Next iPhone SE to Launch

Friday May 17, 2024 2:03 pm PDT by
It has been over two years since Apple released the third-generation iPhone SE, and rumors continue to surface about a new model. The latest word comes from The Information, which today reported that Apple plans to release a new iPhone SE with a design similar to the standard iPhone 14 in the spring of 2025. If this rumor is accurate, the iPhone SE would finally gain Face ID and a notch...