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.

macbook keyboard apple support
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

apple support mac
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

apple support app macbook keyboard
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 14 & 16"
Related Forums: MacBook Pro, MacBook

Top Rated Comments

unobtainium Avatar
78 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)
Royksöpp Avatar
78 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)
isaac_appleweed Avatar
78 months ago
Thnks pple!
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
A7ibaba Avatar
78 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)
dannyyankou Avatar
78 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)
Bananas Ananas Avatar
78 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)

Popular Stories

Apple Vision Pro 2 Feature 2

Apple Reportedly Suspends Work on Vision Pro 2

Tuesday June 18, 2024 8:17 am PDT by
Apple has suspended work on the second-generation Vision Pro headset to singularly focus on a cheaper model, The Information reports. Apple was widely believed to have plans to divide its Vision product line into two models, with one "Pro" model and one lower-cost standard model. The company is said to have been deprioritizing the next Vision Pro headset over the past year, gradually...
apple watch series 9 display

Kuo: Apple Watch Series 10 to Get Larger Screen and Thinner Design

Monday June 17, 2024 1:20 am PDT by
This year's Apple Watch Series 10 will be thinner and come in larger screen sizes than previous models, according to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. In his latest industry note -10-and-98075c44ce92">shared on Medium, Kuo said the screen size options on the next-generation Apple Watch will increase from 41mm to 45mm, and from 45mm to 49mm, while being encased in a thinner design. For reference,...
2022 back to school apple feature

Apple's 2024 Back to School Sale Launching This Week

Monday June 17, 2024 12:27 pm PDT by
Apple will launch its annual Back to School promotion for university students in the United States and Canada this week, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. Apple's back to school sales provide students with a free Apple gift card when purchasing a Mac or an iPad, and this year's promotion could help Apple push the new M2 iPad Air and M4 iPad Pro models. Last year, Apple offered U.S....
Apple Pay Later feature 1

Apple Discontinuing Apple Pay Later

Monday June 17, 2024 11:44 am PDT by
Apple is discontinuing Apple Pay Later, the buy now, pay later feature that it just launched last October. Apple Pay Later is being discontinued as of today, but people who have existing Apple Pay Later loans will be able to continue to pay them off and manage them through the Wallet app. Apple announced plans to end the feature in a statement provided to 9to5Mac, which also notes that...
iOS 18 CarPlay Feature

iOS 18 Adds These 5 New Features to CarPlay

Thursday June 13, 2024 7:44 am PDT by
Apple did not mention CarPlay during its WWDC keynote this week, but iOS 18 includes a handful of new features for the in-car software. Overall, there is not a whole lot new for CarPlay on iOS 18, with changes seemingly limited to the Messages and Settings apps so far. Below, we recap everything new for CarPlay on iOS 18. New for CarPlay on iOS 18 1. Contact Photos in Messages App...
iPod Nano vs iPod Pro Ad Feature 1

Apple Developing Thinner MacBook Pro, Apple Watch, and iPhone

Monday June 17, 2024 2:22 am PDT by
Apple intends to slim down the MacBook Pro, Apple Watch, and iPhone, with the new ultra-thin M4 iPad Pro a sign of the company's new design trajectory, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. When the M4 iPad Pro was unveiled last month, Apple touted it as the company's thinnest product ever, and even compared it to the 2012 iPod nano to emphasize its slim dimensions. Writing in the latest ...
watchOS 11 Thumb 2 1

watchOS 11 Supports Automatic Nap Detection

Monday June 17, 2024 4:05 pm PDT by
watchOS 11 appears to include a new feature that allows an Apple Watch to automatically detect and record when you're taking a nap. As shared on Reddit, an Apple Watch owner took a nap and was able to see the sleep data recorded in the Health app, despite not putting the device in Sleep Mode. Right now, the Apple Watch only tracks and records sleep when it is in Sleep Mode, and there is no...