How to Get a MacBook or MacBook Pro Keyboard Repaired Free Under Apple's Service Program

by

Apple has initiated a new worldwide service program offering free repairs of MacBook and MacBook models equipped with low-profile, butterfly mechanism keyboards, after the company determined that "a small percentage" of the keyboards may develop one or more of the following issues:

  • Letters or characters repeat unexpectedly

  • Letters or characters do not appear

  • Key(s) feel "sticky" or do not respond in a consistent manner

Apple or Apple Authorized Service Providers will service eligible MacBook and MacBook Pro keyboards free of charge. Apple says the process may involve the replacement of one or more keys or the whole keyboard.


The following MacBook and MacBook Pro models are eligible for the program:

  • 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, 2016, Four Thunderbolt 3 Ports)

  • MacBook Pro (15-­inch, 2016)

  • MacBook Pro (13-­inch, 2017, Two Thunderbolt 3 Ports)

  • MacBook Pro (13-­inch, 2017, Four Thunderbolt 3 Ports)

  • MacBook Pro (15-­inch, 2017)

All other MacBook, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro models are not equipped with butterfly mechanism keyboards, and thus are ineligible.

To identify your MacBook or MacBook Pro model to see if it is eligible for this program, click on the Apple logo in the top-left corner of the screen and select About This Mac. A window should open, and in the Overview tab, the model should be listed, such as MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2016).

Apple or an Apple Authorized Service Provider will examine the MacBook or MacBook Pro prior to any service to verify that it is eligible for this program. If the notebook has any damage which impairs the service, that issue will need to be repaired first, and in some cases, there may be repair fees.

Step-by-step instructions ahead…

MacRumors obtained an internal service document from Apple that outlines exactly which pre-existing damage is eligible for this program:

Eligible physical damage includes:
• keyboard damage due to attempted keycap repair
• physical top case damage unrelated to the keyboard

Ineligible physical damage includes:
• liquid damage
• physical keyboard damage unrelated to keycap repair

Apple's service program is valid for four years after an eligible MacBook or MacBook Pro was originally purchased, meaning all of the models listed above remain eligible until at least April 10, 2019, four years after the original 12-inch MacBook, the first model with a butterfly keyboard, was released.

An eligible MacBook or MacBook Pro purchased today, meanwhile, would be eligible for coverage under this program until June 2022.

How to Initiate a Free Repair

Remember to back up your Mac prior to sending it in for service.

There are three ways to take advantage of Apple's service program: book an appointment with an Apple Store or Apple Authorized Service Provider, or mail in the notebook to Apple's repair center.

Apple Store or Apple Authorized Service Provider via Web


These steps are web-based, so they work across Mac, iPhone, iPad, and other devices.

  1. Navigate to the Get Support page on Apple's website.

  2. Select "Mac."

  3. Select "Mac notebooks."

  4. Select "Hardware Issues."

  5. Select "Keyboard not working as expected."

  6. Select "Bring in for Repair."

  7. Sign in with your Apple ID.

  8. Specify your location.

  9. Sort by "Availability" or "Distance."

  10. Select an Apple Store or Apple Authorized Service Provider.

  11. Select an available day and time slot for the appointment.

  12. Arrive at the Apple Store or Apple Authorized Service Provider when your appointment is scheduled. Bring your affected MacBook or MacBook Pro and government-issued photo ID.

Apple Store or Apple Authorized Service Provider via Apple Support App


These steps are based on the Apple Support app for iPhone and iPad.

  1. Open the Apple Support app.

  2. If necessary, tap on the "Account" tab and sign in with your Apple ID.

  3. Tap on the "Get Support" tab.

  4. Tap on your affected MacBook or MacBook Pro.

  5. Tap on "Hardware Issues."

  6. Tap on "Keyboard not working as expected."

  7. Tap on "See all" to the right of "Get More Help."

  8. Tap on "Bring in for Repair."

  9. Select an Apple Store or Apple Authorized Service Provider.

  10. Select an available day and time slot for the appointment.

  11. Arrive at the Apple Store or Apple Authorized Service Provider when your appointment is scheduled. Bring your affected MacBook or MacBook Pro and government-issued photo ID.

Mail-in to Apple Repair Center

  1. Navigate to the Get Support page on Apple's website.

  2. Select "Mac."

  3. Select "Mac notebooks."

  4. Select "Hardware Issues."

  5. Select "Keyboard not working as expected."

  6. Select "Talk to Apple Support Now" or "Chat" to speak with an Apple support representative by phone or online chat.

  7. Inform the representative that you would like to mail in your affected MacBook or MacBook Pro to Apple's repair center.

  8. Follow further instructions as advised.

Apple's internal document for this program advises that mail-in service will take five to seven business days to be completed, but Apple's public-facing page about the program notes that service turn-around time may vary depending upon the type of service and availability of replacement parts.

How to Initiate a Refund

Apple's website notes that customers who believe their MacBook or MacBook Pro was affected by this issue, and who paid to have their keyboard repaired prior to this program, can contact the company about a refund.

  1. Navigate to the Get Support page on Apple's website.

  2. Select "Mac."

  3. Select "Mac notebooks."

  4. Select "Hardware Issues."

  5. Select "Keyboard not working as expected."

  6. Select "Talk to Apple Support Now" or "Chat" to speak with an Apple support representative by phone or online chat.

  7. Inform the representative that you would like a refund.

  8. Follow further instructions as advised.

MacRumors first highlighted customer complaints about the 2016 MacBook Pro keyboard over a year ago, including non-functional keys, strange high-pitched sounds on some keys, and keys with a non-uniform feel. The issues are believed to result from small amounts of dust or debris accumulating under keys.

Apple has been hit with at least three class action lawsuits over the keyboards in the United States, after the company charged some customers with out-of-warranty fees as high as $700 to replace the keyboard on affected MacBook Pro models, as the process requires replacing the entire top case assembly.

Until now, Apple had not publicly acknowledged the keyboard issues, and only offered cleaning instructions to affected customers.

More Details on Apple.com: Keyboard Service Program for MacBook and MacBook Pro

Related Roundup: MacBook Pro

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
31 months ago
So is it an update to the butterfly mechanism, or are they just using the same defective 2017 parts in the replacements?
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
31 months ago
It's a lemon replacing a lemon. I don't understand why anyone would be excited about getting your faulty keyboard replace with the exact same thing. If it failed once it will surely fail again. It has noting to do with the user because this issue is widespread.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
31 months ago
Thnks pple!
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
31 months ago

So is it an update to the butterfly mechanism, or are they just using the same defective 2017 parts in the replacements?

There is no "updated keyboard". You will get a new whole bottom case depending on your macbook model with the same keyboard but functional one.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
31 months ago
This is why I haven’t upgraded my 2012 MacBook yet, it seems every model since then has its’ own issue.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
31 months ago

Thinking about the current MBP for school. I won’t be doing a lot of heavy lifting so a base MBP will work. With this keyboard issue, I am wondering if I should get it now or wait for the newer models to come out?

Do yourself a favor and wait.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

First Impressions From New iPhone 12 and 12 Pro Owners

Thursday October 22, 2020 4:20 pm PDT by
It's already Friday, October 23, in Australia and New Zealand, which means some customers who purchased an iPhone 12 or 12 Pro already have their new devices in hand. We've seen dozens of reviews of the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro from media sites, but now first impressions from regular Apple customers are available. Image via MacRumors reader Boardiesboi New iPhone 12 and 12 Pro owners are...

Early iPhone 12 Tests Show Ceramic Shield is Stronger and More Scratch Resistant Than iPhone 11 Glass

Friday October 23, 2020 1:21 pm PDT by
Apple's new iPhone 12 models are protected by a Ceramic Shield cover glass that has nano-ceramic crystals infused right into the glass to improve durability. According to Apple, Ceramic Shield offers four times better drop protection than the glass used for the iPhone 11 models. YouTube channel MobileReviewsEh conducted some tests on the iPhone 12 using a force meter to compare its performance ...

Apple Distributing New Heated Display Removal Machine for iPhone 12 Repairs

Thursday October 22, 2020 6:20 pm PDT by
Apple is providing Genius Bars and Apple Authorized Service Providers with a new heated display removal fixture for iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro repairs, according to information obtained by MacRumors from a reliable source. To open iPhone 12 models, technicians will be required to slide the device into a specialized tray, and then place the tray into the high-temperature fixture for two...

Apple VP Kaiann Drance Interview Addresses Battery Life, MagSafe, and Power Adapter Concerns

Friday October 23, 2020 3:37 am PDT by
Apple's Vice President of iPhone Marketing, Kaiann Drance, has provided a new interview to Rich DeMuro on the Rich on Tech Podcast, to discuss the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro. Although much of the interview repeated points from Apple's "Hi, Speed" event, there were a number of interesting tidbits regarding the affect of 5G on battery life, MagSafe concerns, and the lack of a power adapter in...

Teardown Video Confirms iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro Use Same 2,815mAh Battery

Thursday October 22, 2020 9:47 am PDT by
With the iPhone 12 launching on Friday and in just a few hours to Australia and New Zealand, hands-on videos, teardowns, reviews, and other iPhone-related content has been coming out. A new teardown video delves into both the iPhone 12 and the 12 Pro, confirming battery life for both models and giving us a closer look at their internals. The video from Io Technology is in Chinese, but ...

Images of Supposed AirPods Diagnosis Tool Shared Online

Thursday October 22, 2020 5:24 am PDT by
Apple is reportedly rolling out a new tool to Apple service providers for testing AirPods, according to leaker known as "Fudge," who shared images of the tool on Twitter. Apple appears to be seeking to reduce unnecessary AirPods services by more accurately diagnosing the cause of a fault. Instances of a dirt-blockage, which may be difficult to ascertain visually, can apparently be...

New Photos Offer Better Look at iPhone 12 Color Options

Tuesday October 20, 2020 2:34 am PDT by
As we wait for the iPhone 12 review embargo to lift later today, more pictures are circulating of the devices in real-world lighting conditions, providing a better look at the different colors available. Leaker DuanRui has shared images on Twitter of the iPhone 12 in white, black, blue, green, and (PRODUCT)RED. The black and white colors are similar to the iPhone 11 colors, but the other...

Apple's AirTags Revealed in Newly Published Patent Applications

Thursday October 22, 2020 9:13 am PDT by
Two patent applications filed by Apple appear to depict the company's widely expected AirTags item trackers (via Patently Apple). The filings, which include a large number of images, are titled "Mounting Base for a Wirelessly Locatable Tag" and "Fastener with a Constrained Retention Ring," and describe a wirelessly locatable tag that can be used to determine the absolute location of an...

iPhone 11 Pro Outlasts iPhone 12 and 12 Pro in Extensive Battery Life Test

Friday October 23, 2020 8:36 am PDT by
Arun Maini today shared a new side-by-side iPhone battery life video test on his YouTube channel Mrwhosetheboss, timing how long the new iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro models last on a single charge compared to older models, with equal brightness, settings, battery health, and usage. All of the devices are running iOS 14 without a SIM card inserted. In the test, the iPhone 11 Pro outlasted both ...

Apple Warns MagSafe Charger Can Leave Circular Imprints on Leather Cases

Friday October 23, 2020 3:23 pm PDT by
If you keep your iPhone in a leather case while charging with Apple's new MagSafe Charger, the case might show circular imprints from contact with the accessory, according to a new Apple support document published today. Apple's leather cases for the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro are not available until November 6, but a MacRumors reader has already shared a photo of a circular imprint on...