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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.

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.


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."

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Top Rated Comments

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16 weeks 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!
Rating: 114 Votes
16 weeks 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.
Rating: 98 Votes
16 weeks ago
"Small number."

**** you, Apple.
Rating: 92 Votes
16 weeks ago
I hope the next trend is function over form. Make everything durable, serviceable usable with big batteries.
Rating: 87 Votes
16 weeks 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
Rating: 65 Votes
16 weeks ago
I wonder if this story will show up on Apple News.
Rating: 62 Votes
16 weeks ago
Can Apple just admit the design is flawed and move to something reliable in the next gen?

Or perhaps bring back the old retina MacBook Pro to sell as a different range - put the latest internals in it, replace thunderbolt ports and USB A with USB-C thunderbolt 3, put in Touch ID and an equivalent display to the new Macs.
Rating: 56 Votes
16 weeks ago
When Apple says "small" the mere fact they are making a statement means that it's big. We know the keyboards have a fundamental design flaw that the thin silicone barrier does not fix.
Rating: 51 Votes
16 weeks ago
The numbers must not be so small after all for Apple to acknowledge the issue publicly.
Rating: 50 Votes
16 weeks ago
The butterfly keyboard design completely took the joy out of typing on my MacBook Pro away from me. Used to be effortless and accurate on old designs. Typing is now a chore.
Rating: 48 Votes

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