Archive for October 18, 2017

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Unreliable MacBook Pro Keyboards

Casey Johnston (Hacker News):

“If a single piece of dust lays the whole computer out, don’t you think that’s kind of a problem?”

In every other computer I’ve owned before I bought the latest MacBook Pro last fall, fixing this would have begun by removing the key and peering around in its well to see if it was simply dirty. Not this keyboard. In fact, all of Apple’s keyboards are now composed of a single, irreparable piece of technology. There is no fixing it; there is only replacing half the computer.


The primary motivator behind the rise of the butterfly switch seems to be that Apple keeps trying to make all its products thinner, to a degree beyond reason at this point (MacBook Pros now weigh as little as three pounds).


If Apple decides to replace the keyboard, it sends out the computer to replace the entire top case; there is no such thing as replacing an individual key or just the keyboard. On a Macbook Pro, the top case retails for $700, but the computers haven’t been around long enough for anyone to be out of warranty yet. In regular MacBooks, which were first available in the spring of 2015, Apple has quoted as much $330 to replace a top case out of warranty. The path from “a piece of dust” to “$700 repair” is terrifyingly short.

Make sure you buy AppleCare!

Stephen Hackett:

I, like the good kbase follower that I am, consulted and followed Apple’s directions for dealing with this[…]

After a couple days of light usage, the problem got worse. […] The bottom lip of the key began to flip up a little bit as the key tried sprinting back up after being depressed. […] One of the tiny arms that the key cap clips onto is broken. My nearly $2,000 laptop that I bought less than a year ago is now missing a key[…]

Nick Heer:

By the way, I know there will be some people suggesting that plenty of generations of Apple products have had their teething issues. I don’t deny that; the MacBook Pro was recalled for graphics issues, the first-generation iPod Nano scratched like crazy and the battery could overheat, and the unibody plastic MacBook’s bottom case peeled off.

But input devices should always — and I mean always — work, in hardware and in software. If a speck of dust affects the functionality of the most-used key because of an attribute inherent to the design of the keyboard, that’s a poor choice of keyboard design, especially for a portable computer.

Jason Snell:

We can feel free to disagree about whether Apple’s new laptop keyboard design with drastically reduced key travel is pleasant to type on or not—I don’t like the feel of the keyboard at all, but I recognize that reasonable people will differ.

But like them or not, these keyboards seem to be easily broken. I can’t tell you how many people I know who have reported some problem with the keyboard that has required a visit to the Apple Store.

Wojtek Pietrusiewicz:

My 2016 MacBook Pro Escape keys like to get sticky when I’m hammering away at the keyboard in the sun, probably due to the key caps expanding from the heat.

John Gruber (Hacker News):

I find these keyboards — specifically, the tales of woe about keys getting stuck or ceasing to work properly — a deeply worrisome sign about Apple’s priorities today.

Marco Arment:

Maybe after today’s articles, Apple will finally be forced to admit to themselves that the butterfly MBP keyboard is fundamentally flawed.

That keyboard has no place in pro laptops, and Apple needs to deeply reconsider the process that led to it being brought to the whole line.

The compressed-air thing is like blowing on an NES cartridge: it doesn’t really fix it. Ask any Genius how many they’ve fixed that way.

Wait until the first 2016 MBPs fall out of warranty in a few weeks and people need to pay hundreds of dollars to repair one broken key.

Anecdotally, it seems to affect about 50% of the people I know with butterfly-key MBPs. When I ask on Twitter, I get similar numbers.

The really scary part is that most of these computers are only a few months to a year old. How will they age?

Riccardo Mori:

I’ve been saying that MacBooks have shitty keyboard since 2015. An acquaintance who got a 12” MacBook had to replace the keyboard 3 times.

John Gruber:

Omit the word “pro”. All Apple laptops should (and for 15 years did) have excellent-feeling reliable keyboards.

Dan Masters:

This happens to me all the time.

It’s funny – I actually prefer the firmer feel of the butterfly keys, but this issue is madness.

Chris Johnson:

“Our” crowd is finding out about this issue now, but MacBook forums have known about these butterfly keyboard issues since mid-2015

Steve Troughton-Smith:

The iPad Pro Smart Keyboard has the same key switches as the new MacBook Pros, with none of the dust issues—fabric MacBook Pro, anyone? 😂

Colin Cornaby:

The key travel is so short the force of bottoming out travels up through my fingers and owwww...

2017’s have a dampener that helps.

Nick Heer (Hacker News):

Dan Luu tested a bunch of popular keyboard models and recorded their latency. Something that might surprise you: Apple’s Magic Keyboard, when connected over USB, had the fastest response time — albeit imperceptibly so in actual usage.

That goes to show that Apple can build great keyboards.

Previously: New MacBook Pros and the State of the Mac.

Update (2017-10-18): Mike Zornek:

I’ve been typing with a broken b key for a month. Will take it in for repair soon. It will be the second time in in less than a year.


I guess I’m not the only with an MBP keyboard that gets sticky when the machine is hot.

Zac Hall (via Bad Uncle Leo, tweet):

Jonathan Mann of ‘Song a Day’ fame has a new hit on his hands. “I Am Pressing The Spacebar and Nothing Is Happening” is his latest jingle, and it’s a brilliant tune about keys on the MacBook keyboard having a tendency to get stuck when exposed to debris or crumbs or, well, in some cases, air.

Gil Roth:

The left shift-key on my 2017 MB needed fixing w/in 3 months.

Update (2017-10-19): See also: Reddit.

Steve Troughton-Smith:

Speaking of keyboards, had to avail of [the repair program] — so much for Smart Keyboard’s wiring durability 😂 Didn’t age well, @iFixit

Update (2017-10-20): Juli Clover:

“Will we see an October keynote event?” Luke asked. “I think we’re all Keynoted out for the season! :-)” Federighi replied.

So new and improved MacBook Pros are apparently not forthcoming soon.

Steve Troughton-Smith:

So, couple days later, here’s how MBP keyboard poll shook out—of over 2,500 responders, 450 people (22.5%) answered ‘yes’ to fix/replacement

A lot of folks are suggesting that the 2017 keyboards have fixed the issue, which is definitely not true from my responses. Helped? Possible

Riccardo Mori:

In early 2016, a friend of mine told me that she had to bring her 6-month old 12-inch MacBook to an Apple Store because the ‘V’ key had stopped registering, and the spacebar was stuck. I wrote her that this was troubling, but that somehow I wasn’t surprised. Later, when she asked me for advice (“Do you think I should try selling the MacBook after they fix the keyboard? I’m bummed, but I also love it for its lightness…”), I urged her to buy AppleCare if she wanted to keep it, because I feared the problem could return in the future.

It’s October 2017. She still has that Early 2015 MacBook. She had the keyboard replaced three times. She’s grateful to have followed my advice about getting AppleCare.


Long story short, of these twelve friends and acquaintances that got in touch with me regarding this particular matter, seven had serious keyboard issues, and the remaining five told me that their MacBook/MacBook Pro keyboard feels different now than when they purchased their Macs: some mentions uneven feedback when typing, others say that certain keys — despite still working and being registered after pressed — have kind of lost what little clickiness they had at the beginning.

Update (2017-10-21): See also: Accidental Tech Podcast, The Talk Show.

Update (2017-12-15): Mike Bolich-Ziegler:

@caseyjohnston you should know I was in an Apple store this week & two Apple specialists were baffled on why their iPhone activation system passwords wouldn’t work while using a MBP. Both of their passwords contained an “n.”

The “n” key was broken on a display MBP. 🙃

Update (2018-01-19): Pieter Levels:

I bought a new MacBook Pro 15" on October 27, 2017 and it took 83 days for the N-key to break. So now I can’t type (P.S. Twitter you told me this was going to happen but I didn’t listen, yo soy muoy stupido)

Update (2018-02-22): Marco Arment:

I’ll “let it go” when they stop selling MacBook Pros with extremely unreliable keyboards.

Every other design decision (or flaw) can be argued or eventually tolerated. That one can’t.

No matter what you think of it, a keyboard has to work reliably, period.

“We get it now” is not a reason to stop publicly holding a company accountable for a massive flaw that betrays significant negligence in the process.

(They knew these keyboards were unreliable and controversial in 2015, then brought them to the entire lineup in 2016.)

The MBP owners on their third keyboard, or the ones waiting weeks for backordered repair parts, or the ones paying for expensive repairs after their warranties have expired aren’t saying “We get it now, stop talking about it.”


I’ll let it go when I don’t have to beg them to fix it for free even though it’s clearly a known issue

Ekin Koc:

I have an unreliable 15”. Apple took 3 weeks to fix it. (They even tried to charge $600 for it, took me days to have them honor the warranty)

Bought a 13” meanwhile because I had no computer. It had a funky ctrl key right out of the box. Returned.

I lost a lot of days to this.

Chris Mallinson:

This issue is a daily thing for me. I dropped $4k on my 5th MacBook Pro, and have taken it in for new keyboards or repairs 4 times and they still do not acknowledge this to be a widespread issue.

Update (2018-03-09): Daniel Jalkut:

I’m using my old 2014 MBP while I consider my options for 2016 MBP’s defective keyboard. Oh my god, typing on this thing is such a joy…

Update (2018-03-12): Daniel Jalkut:

Probably the least common modern MacBook Pro complaint, but mine is that the command key surface is degrading after only 7 months.

(I neglected to mention: I do MOST of my work on this computer with an external keyboard. :-/ )

Peter Bihr:

Macbook pro, a bit over a year in: 3rd time a key stops working. The build quality of @apple laptops has dropped so badly.

Update (2018-03-27): LaughingQuoll:

After 3 keyboard replacements, i’ll be returning my MacBook Pro soon.

It’s a major failure if the keyboard keeps jamming up every 4-6 weeks.

Update (2018-04-07): Casey Neistat:

what am i supposed to do when the space bar stops working. WHAT WERE THEY THINKING WITH THIS FCKING KEYBOARD

Daniel Jalkut:

My replacement MacBook Pro keyboard is noticeably better than the “Rev A” was. It seems both quieter and easier to register keystrokes.

So, adding to complexity of the debate about the merits of “new MacBook Pro keyboards,” there are better and (fewer and fewer) worse ones.

Update (2018-04-17): John Dickerson:

Apple offers extended three year repair program for iPad Pro Smart Keyboards w/ sticking keys & other ‘functional’ issues

Dan Masters:

Yet still not even as much as a word on the MacBook debacle.

Update (2018-04-18): Cliff Kuang:

This issue’s been well known for almost two years, yet Apple still hasn’t fixed it. They probably won’t. The new “butterfly” keyboards were announced with great fanfare when the current MacBook Pros were unveiled. Their primary benefit, according to chief marketing officer Phil Schiller, who introduced the device in October 2016, was that they helped make the new laptops 3.1 millimeters thinner. At this point, Apple’s Geniuses seem barely fazed when another keyboard needs replacing. Repairs costing $700 are simply business-as-usual because the new MacBook Pros had to be thinner.

Update (2018-04-29): Casey Johnston (tweet, Hacker News, MacRumors):

Today, Best Buy announced it is having a significant sale on these computers, marking them hundreds of dollars off. Interesting. Still, I’d suggest you do not buy them.

Since I wrote about my experience, many have asked me what happened with the new top half of the computer that the Apple Geniuses installed, with its pristine keyboard and maybe-different key switches. The answer is that after a couple of months, I started to get temporarily dead keys for seemingly no reason. Again.

Jason Snell:

I know that we Apple-watchers sit around wondering if Apple will release new laptops with new keyboards that don’t have these issues, but Apple’s relative silence on this issue for existing customers is deafening. If these problems are remotely as common as they seem to be, this is an altogether defective product that should be recalled.

Marco Arment:

Apple can’t recall all 12” MacBooks and 2016+ MBPs — there’s nothing equivalent to replace them with except new copies of the same unreliable keyboards. At best, they’ll get a repair-extension program.

The only way out is to sell it while you can.

If Apple ever comments on the unreliable butterfly keyboards, I’d put VERY little faith in anything they say about how few are affected.

Claiming widespread problems aren’t widespread is the easiest and most common thing for corporate PR to bullshit or lie about. Even Apple.

Jason Snell:

They’d need to have a replacement keyboard part that fixes the issue. They can’t handle battery replacement volume in stores so I don’t see how they could do this either.

Either way, don’t buy a new macbook hoping Apple will fix it later.

John Gruber:

This keyboard has to be one of the biggest design screwups in Apple history. Everyone who buys a MacBook depends upon the keyboard and this keyboard is undependable.

Some Guy Named “Al”:

New MacBooks are kind of crap. Work has given me one every few years for over a decade and I’ve never had a keyboard issue before. In less than nine months, my keyboard is dying. I’ve even worn a hole in a key…

Michael Love:

In my experience the poor thermal properties of the skinny-awful-keyboard MBs/MBPs are every bit as much of a problem as the keyboards themselves; throttle down to sub-iPhone levels if you look at them funny.

Michael Anderson:

In the ten years since I switched from Windows I have owned 34 Macs. None caused more worry or were harder to sell on than my 2017 MacBook Pro. And I won’t buy another laptop until they make sizeable changes. Too flakey, too expensive, too limited.

Andrew Abernathy:

One side of my space bar (2016 MBP) stuck and I couldn’t get it seen to before my travel — it slowly freed up starting a week later. I’m nervous about this machine and have steered a relative away from the MBP explicitly because of the problem with sticking keys.

Craig Mod:

Because the keyboard is mission critical to a laptop, and because the latest MacBook pro keyboards are so unreliable, it’s turned into my least favorite compute device I’ve ever owned.


I’m so nervous it will conk out on me I usually carry an iPad pro too, just as a backup.


Mine has been so horrible and unreliable i’m leaving Mac OS altogether! Never thought I’d say that!

David Heinemeier Hansson:

@jasonfried is typing on an external Bluetooth keyboard right now. Disgraceful.

But the quality issues extend beyond just the keyboard. Far more crashes, far more issues on my MacBook 12. My wife is convinced she got a lemon. Apple needs to regroup.


I went to Apple Store 3 times this year. 2 of them to replace keys that were falling off and once to replace the whole top-case because the keyboard wasn’t working anymore. Worst Macbook ever.

Tian Davis:

Both tab key and caps lock burnt out. Can get a new MBA or MBP for basically 50% off. STILL don’t want to trade out ’14 MBA for “upgrade”. That’s how bad Apple quality issues have become.

Ben Love:

I’m on my third late 2016 MBP15 keyboard replacement in a year. I make my living on this laptop… I get “fingertip fatigue”, it’s noisy and keys still double hit or miss every few sentences. Almost contemplating a Dell XPS 13, if I weren’t so married into Apple world.

Stefan Constantine:

Since everyone’s talking about, may as well chime in: yes, I’ve had to replace the keyboard on my 2016 MacBook Pro. The “S” key died, which sucks when your name is Stefan.

Eric Young:

It needs to be recalled and replaced with a new MacBook Pro with a keyboard that’s not defective

Extending the warranty is not the right answer


When I talked to Apple Care about my stuck keys they told me they had no reports of the issue. None. Zero. They’re not just being silent, they’re straight up lying. As the video Zac posted the other day shows, awful hardware quality in Macbooks is nothing new.

See also: The Menu Bar, The Talk Show, The Menu Bar.

Update (2018-05-01): Josh Centers:

There should be a total recall and an apology from @tim_cook to fix this keyboard thing.

Mike Wuerthele:

Clearly, the increase in number of keyboard events in a decreasing population of first-year service demands is notable. While first-year service calls have gone down with the introduction of the new models, at the same time the incidence of keyboard repairs has gone up, notably.

Apple has a second-generation MacBook Pro keyboard. It is in the 2017 MacBook Pro, and repaired 2016 models. The repair percentages on those are up from the 2014 and 2015 keyboards as well, but not nearly as much as the 2016.

Wojtek Pietrusiewicz:

The “popping sound” happens when the keyboard gets too warm and some keys start making a different sound. They also feel marginally stickier when pressed.

Update (2018-05-03): Matt Kelly:

My wife’s six month old MacBook Pro’s keyboard suddenly stops working. Genius Bar guy says it’s all they are dealing with these days but @Apple refuse to accept a fault, blaming owners, even with Applecare. Charge to repair is £400.

Update (2018-05-08): Alex Cranz:

So a word to the wise from someone who just had her own 2016 MacBook Pro completely replaced (fortunately it was all gratis due to the extended warranty for the display). Always, always, always opt for an extended warranty if you’re going to be dumb enough to buy a device that’s just had a major redesign.

Update (2018-05-10): Rene Ritchie:

The numbers (below) show that there was a spike in repairs in 2016 but that they looked to have normalized in 2017. I’m not sure if this changes anything from Apple’s perspective. Last I heard, which was a month or so ago, they were keeping an eye on it, given the attention, but the numbers just hadn’t passed their threshold for a replacement program, much less a recall.

But, as I’ve been saying for a long time now, the negative sentiment could force action numbers alone could not, and the issue has become toxic. Also, a vocal portion of Apple’s customer base still hates the new butterfly-switch keyboards. For a single-vendor product, that’s a problem.

Update (2018-05-11): Matthew Taylor (via Marco Arment, Tim O’Reilly):

Apple, it’s time: recall every MacBook Pro released since Late 2016, and replace the keyboards on all of them with new, redesigned keyboards that just work.

Because, these keyboards don’t work.

Every one of Apple’s current-gen MacBook Pro models, 13" and 15", is sold with a keyboard that can become defective at any moment due to a design failure.

The problems are widespread, consistent, and infuriating.

Update (2018-05-14): Mikey Campbell:

A class action lawsuit filed in federal court on Friday takes Apple to task over an allegedly flawed keyboard design deployed in MacBook models from 2015, claiming the company knew about the defect at or before the product's launch.

Casey Johnston:

Late Friday night, Apple was hit with a class action lawsuit over the finicky butterfly-switch keyboards that have plagued its customers since they were released in 2015. The suit, filed in the Northern District Court of California, cites forum complaints going back to 2015, and substantially describes the difficulties of two named plaintiffs, one of whom experienced a failed keyboard after only one month.


The suit alleges repeatedly that Apple “promoted and sold laptops it knew were defective in that they contain a keyboard that is substantially certain to fail prematurely,” and that selling these computers not only directly to its customers but also to third party retailers constitutes a violation of good faith.

dustin curtis:

The new MacBook Pro’s comically fragile keyboard has made me absolutely terrified of small crumbs. I was at the grocery store earlier and caught myself specifically picking out items that don’t produce crumbs.

Olivia Solon:

Me a month ago: I don’t know why everyone is so angry about the new MacBook keyboard

Me today:

Update (2018-05-16): Schubert Jonckheer & Kolbe:

We are investigating whether the keyboards on these MacBook Pro models are defective. If purchasers received a laptop with a defective keyboard design, they may be entitled to a refund of their purchase price, the cost of past and future repairs, and injunctive relief for Apple to properly disclose the problem and extend the applicable warranties.

If you purchased one of the MacBook Pro models listed above and would like to help us investigate this issue—or would like to participate in a potential class-action lawsuit—please complete the form below for a free legal consultation.

Update (2018-06-02): Charles Hart:

I’m at a dev conference (few hundred people) and the presenters 3 month old MacBook keyboard failed during presentation... ‘O’ key.

The presentation became an anti new MacBook Pro ad.

I’m getting these “ads” so frequently : family, friends, podcasts, work, media..

See also: The Talk Show.

dustin curtis:

The “T” key stopped working on my 15-inch MacBook Pro keyboard last week.

This is how much Apple quoted me to replace the key:


Joe Rossignol:

A second class action lawsuit has been filed against Apple over problematic keyboards in recent MacBook and MacBook Pro models.

Update (2018-06-11): Stefan Reitshamer:

Second MacBook Pro keyboard replacement in 2 weeks. Do not buy a new MacBook Pro. Or buy one with AppleCare and throw it in the trash after 3 years I guess. Keyboard replacement is $700 without AppleCare.

Edward Anthony:

I got mine replaced immediately after I opened the box, and got replaced again 1 month later. This is how we define “garbage”

Update (2018-06-21): Phil Baker:

I found my MacBook keyboard to be just too difficult to use and unreliable, as well. Even after a replacement, random keys continue to become mushy and don’t reliably register. In speaking with friends using recent Macs I hear much the same issue.

For the first time in twenty years, it got me to consider moving to a Windows 10 notebook. I never expected that to happen, because I think the MacOS is elegant, easy to use and visually appealing. It also works well with the iPhone I use. The tipping point came with my spending 2 to 3 hours a day at the keyboard working on a new book.


I still prefer MacOS, which I’d rate a 90 vs an 80 for Windows, using my arbitrary wine rating scale. The Windows computer hardware, however, beats Apple by a larger margin, 95 vs 70. If I were an Apple MacOS software engineer, I’d be unhappy that my fellow hardware engineers are shortchanging the software by offering products that are well behind the competition. There’s no doubt in my mind that Apple has lost its edge with its latest line of notebook computers and is way behind the Windows offerings. I’m likely not telling them anything they really don’t know. Last time I was at the Apple Store to repair my keyboard, they suggested I’d be better off with a MacBook Air.

Update (2018-07-24): Maciej Cegłowski:

Cautionary tale: I took my MacBook Pro in to get the defective keyboard replaced. Apple store techs broke the logic board when opening the case, then sent the machine to a third-party vendor who replaced the SSD without authorization. The whole process took 10 days.

Update (2018-08-17): Renaud Lienhart:

I’ve spoken previously about the 2016’s MBP keyboard working just fine for me. I take it all back; I now want to burn this laptop to the ground.

Update (2018-09-03): Natasha Lomas (via Hacker News):

Yes I am very late to this. But I am also very annoyed so I am adding my voice to the now sustained chorus of complaints about Apple’s redesigned Mac keyboard: How very much it sucks. Truly, madly, deeply.

Update (2018-10-03): Wojtek Pietrusiewicz:

I had my 2016 MacBook Pro Escape’s keyboard replaced in April 2018, because some of the keys were expanding under heat, making them “sticky”, e.g. when using it in the sun.

I’m extremely happy to report that today my Control key has gone on strike and will only work when it feels like it should, which translates to registering maybe one in ten presses.

Update (2019-01-14): Steve Lederer:

Well, looks like it’s time to get my MacBook Pro (2016) keyboard replaced for the third time in 25 months. Another key completely stuck. Maybe they’ll actually replace my laptop this time? Or next time when it inevitably happens in a few months? (probably not)

Update (2019-01-16): Steven Peterson:

My 2016 15” MacBook Pro arrived with a dead keyboard backlight. The one I replaced it with had keyboard issues and had to be repaired 3 times before I finally gave up and got a refund.

I really don’t understand what’s going on with the Mac at Apple. It makes me really sad.

Update (2019-01-23): Jonas Lekevicius:

Argh stupid MacBook Pro keyboard. Now “b” key types twice every time I press it.

I’ll try blowing compressed air, as usual. If that doesn’t help this would be a third repair (all keyboard-related) in 3 years.

Update (2019-01-24): Maxwell Swadling:

well now my 2017 macbook’s return key doesn’t work, and I’m in NZ which doesn’t have Apple stores

Matthew Yglesias:

Keyboard on my MacBook Pro broke so while it’s getting fixed IT gave me an old MacBook Air loaner and it is amazing how much more comfortable it is to type on the older style of Mac keyboards.

Update (2019-03-21): TJ:

Had to type on wife’s 1st gen MacBook keyboard today. MY WORD THAT KEYBOARD IS AWFUL. I hadn’t used it in a while but it has several keys that aren’t typing properly INCLUDING the enter key. She’s only had it for a couple years. I’ve never had any other Apple keyboard do this.

Matt Haughey:

The E key on my touchbar macbook pro stopped working but it’s ok because it’s not like it’s one of the important ones

Via Marco Arment.

Cardhop 1.0


Rather than writing a long blog post with lots of screenshots to tell you what it does or why you have to have it, go watch our promo video for Cardhop. While you’re there, be sure to check out the “Cardhop in action” videos, too.

The same way Fantastical revolutionized how you use your calendars — believe it or not, Fantastical 1 came out in 2011, before Apple released Siri and before voice assistants were mainstream — we believe Cardhop will revolutionize how your use your contacts. We hope that relationships are strengthened and people actually look forward to interacting with their contacts.

There’s one catch: You have to force yourself to use Cardhop for a day or two. After all, old habits die hard. Force yourself to open Cardhop rather than doing things the old way, and after a bit you’ll start to understand the power of Cardhop. It sounds silly, but just give it a day or two to develop new habits with Cardhop and you’ll thank us later.

I’ve been using LaunchBar to access my contacts for many years. It works great for searching but doesn’t really support adding or editing contacts. This is where Cardhop shines, since it features a Fantastical-like interface for parsing information about new contacts as you type. Going beyond Fantastical, you can also edit existing contents by typing in the search field.

For example, you can type “Brian twitter @brian” to add a Twitter account. This is limited, however. There doesn’t seem to be a way to add to the notes field. And I was hoping to be able to write something like “Brian spouse Sara” because it otherwise takes several steps to add a “related names” field, select “spouse” for it, and then enter the spouse. I was also excited to see that you can enter the contact’s title when creating it, but in practice this only worked some of the time. For example, “Tim Cook title CEO company Apple” sets Tim’s title to “title CEO”, although “Tim Cook title CEO” correctly sets the title to “CEO” (but doesn’t set the company).

I love the idea of entering contacts in this way, though I’m not sure I do it often enough to make it worth installing Cardhop and learning how to use it. I just don’t meet that many new people. In contrast, I enter multiple new calendar events every day, so Fantastical is invaluable. Still, I’m going to give Cardhop a try because I think I may find its group features helpful.

Lastly, the icon. I don’t fully understand why it’s a sandwich on a plate, but it’s beautiful.

See also: Stephen Hackett, Brett Terpstra, Rene Ritchie, Juli Clover, David Sparks, Jason Snell, Adam C. Engst.

Update (2017-10-24): Objective Development:

In this article I want you to show three basic features of Cardhop that can be easily accessed via LaunchBar:

  • Creating contacts
  • Sending selected texts to Cardhop
  • Opening contacts

New Lightroom CC and Lightroom Classic CC

Jeff Carlson (MacRumors):

Adobe is introducing Lightroom CC, a brand new, cloud-centric desktop application for Mac and Windows. At the same time, the application formerly known as “Lightroom CC” has been updated and rebranded as Lightroom Classic CC. The core Lightroom experience is at the heart of both programs, but they have different strengths and limitations, especially at this early stage of Lightroom CC development.

For people who do not yet use Lightroom, or have been told by friends that they should use it but were intimidated by it, Lightroom CC should be a welcome introduction to the Adobe ecosystem. For photographers who have used Lightroom for years… it’s complicated.


Adobe is stressing that both Lightroom desktop applications are in active development. Lightroom CC is the choice for a cloud-centric experience, and Lightroom Classic CC is the choice for customers who have more advanced needs that the desktop-centric version addresses.


All Lightroom products now require a subscription. Lightroom CC 6.x will be the last stand-alone, non-subscription version that Adobe releases; it will be updated for bug fixes and camera compatibility through the end of the year.

It’s also a price increase. I purchased Lightroom 6 for $149 in May 2015, which works out to $4/month over 30 months. To get Lightroom Classic CC 7.x, I’ll have to pay $10/month—and also get Photoshop, Portfolio, and Spark, which I have no use for. Still, I’m eager to try it because it’s supposed to be a lot faster.

Jeff Carlson:

This is a big shift. I’ve been using the new Lightroom CC for over a year as it has progressed from a little technology preview called Nimbus (demo’d in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it slot at last year’s Adobe MAX event) to the polished 1.0 application we see today. It’s great, and the performance is stellar, but it does require that existing Lightroom users put some thought into how they’ll use it.

Go read the article. I suspect this move might confuse a lot of people—no, Lightroom Classic isn’t going away; yes, Lightroom CC is probably going to be the sibling that gets the most attention.

The question is, will Lightroom CC gradually evolve to do everything Classic can do, and then replace it? Or is this going to be like Aperture and Photos where the more featured app stagnates and is eventually killed with nothing to replace it?

Update (2017-10-20): Peter Krogh:

Lightroom was developed in response to this new market reality. Adobe took the Camera Raw engine from Photoshop and grafted it on to a database, creating one of the most successful applications in the company’s history. Lightroom was developed by a small team working inside Adobe, essentially functioning as competition to the flagship product. If Adobe had put all their effort into shoring up Photoshop, they would be in very serious trouble right now as a preferred tool for digital photographers.


But the architecture of Lightroom as a desktop application simply cannot be stretched enough to create a great mobile application. The desktop flexibility that has powers such a wide array of workflows can’t be shoehorned in to full cloud compatibility. The freedom to set up your drives, files and folders as you wish makes a nightmare for seamless access. And the flexibility to create massive keyword and collection taxonomies does not work with small mobile screens. After years of experimentation, the only good answer was the creation of a new cloud native architecture. As with the creation of the original Lightroom, this was done by taking the existing Camera Raw imaging engine and bolting it on to a new chassis – this time a cloud native architecture.


Just as the advent of Lightroom did not kill Photoshop, the introduction of Lightroom CC will not kill Lightroom Classic. It’s a hugely popular program for an important part of their customer base. And creating a cloud-native version of the software, instead of trying to shoehorn the program into a workflow it did not fit, frees up resources to make Lightroom a better desktop application.

Tom Hogarty:

No, we’re not phasing out Lightroom Classic and remain committed to investing in Lightroom Classic in the future. We know that for many of you, Lightroom Classic, is a tool you know and love and so it has an exciting roadmap of improvements well into the future. But please hold us accountable as we make updates in the following months and years to let us know if we’re meeting your expectations.

Paul Parkinson:

I still think the use of “Classic” is unfortunate. Classic denotes something old, venerated but old. To give the Desktop version this name whilst, at the same time introducing a new product with the old product’s name strongly indicates that the new product is a REPLACEMENT and not an ADDITIONAL product.

It would have been cleaner, clearer and altogether more reassuring to have “Classic” called “Lightroom Professional” or “Lightroom Pro” with the new product taking a different Lightroom nomenclature.

Rick LePage:

I understand the anger that some people have about subscription software—I have subscription fatigue myself—but there are clear, good alternatives out there right now if you don’t wish to be part of that world: Phase One, ON1, Alien Skin Software, and Macphun, among others. [Disclaimer: I have worked for ON1.] Do you have to make concessions based on which product you use? Absolutely, but you’ve always had to do that, even if you used Lightroom. There is no ‘perfect’ product.


If you’ve been wishing for a true, device-independent, cloud-based photo workflow, Lightroom CC will be hard to beat: even in its initial implementation, it is a better ecosystem for the photographer than anything Apple or Google has tried to do. In fact, I believe that this is what Google tried—and failed—to do a few years ago with their higher-end Google Photos initiative.

Matt Kloskowski:

Lightroom CC has the same tools that Lightroom (Classic) has. So think of it as a hybrid of sorts… it’s for people who like to take photos but probably aren’t using a DSLR most of the time. And they want some more powerful editing controls, as well as the ability to have those photos on any device (laptop, tablet, phone, desktop).

Matt Kloskowski:

They’ve also added something called Range Masking to the Grad filter, the Radial filter and the Adjustment Brush. It’s a way to help your adjustments blend (with a mask) based on color or luminance. And even though I’m mentioning it last, it’s actually one of my favorite things.

Anyway, I did a quick 10 minute video that shows you the changes below.

Richard Butler:

With the company stressing ease of use of the latest version, they probably don’t see it that way, but it’s clear that the user who upgrades their camera and their software only occasionally has no place in Adobe’s shiny new future in the cloud.

In my look back at my excitement surrounding the development and launch of Lightroom v1.0, I said I felt that the subscription model “runs counter to the longevity benefit of building a database around my images”. I stand by that.

Update (2017-10-23): Chuq Von Rospach:

My take, but I admit to just starting to dig into this as I dig out from the trip I just finished, is that other than the name change, if you’re using an Adobe product, nothing really changes (with one exception). So if you went to bed using Adobe Lightroom CC, you’re now using Adobe Lightroom CC Classic. If you had no real interest or use for the mobile stuff, you still don’t, even though it’s now rebranded to be “the” Lightroom.

But this clearly makes Adobe’s plans obvious, but not really a surprise to anyone who has been paying attention to their Mobile endeavours: the future is cloud. which I fully think is the right strategy in the long run, but in the short run, I just returned home with 1300 RAW images (68GB!) and no, the cloud isn’t my answer any time soon.

Eli Schiff:

Let’s talk Adobe icon updates.

Update (2017-10-26): Mark Fletcher:

We liked the power of Lightroom, but it’s almost impossible to share a catalog between two people. It just wasn’t designed for that.

Update (2017-10-27): Jeff Carlson:

I just received an email saying my copy of Capture One Pro 8, which I got two years ago to review for Macworld, is no longer being supported. (The current version is 10.0). So, someone who bought Capture One Pro for $300 two years ago needs to pay $99 to upgrade to version 10. Two year cost: $400.

Adobe’s Photography Plan subscription is $10 per month, which includes the latest versions of Lightroom and Photoshop (and now also includes the cloud-focused Lightroom CC). Two year cost: $240.

See also: MacInTouch.

Update (2017-10-29): Rick LePage:

Adobe’s $120 per year for Lightroom (both versions) and Photoshop is a good deal. It is made better by the fact that Lightroom really is the best product for most photographers in the market, but if you don’t like Lightroom/Photoshop, or are upset about Adobe’s policies, there are many alternatives in the market for you to use.


One refrain that I am hearing from folks who are intrigued with Adobe’s new stuff is this: if you do wish to move forward with the new plan, it’s going to ultimately cost you twice per month (or more) than you were paying before, and that’s only for 1TB of cloud storage.

Update (2018-03-02): Michael Yacavone:

Adobe would do well to have an “easy on, easy off” policy on subscriptions. $50 cancellation fees and hidden term lengths are customer hostile. (BUT! investor friendly.)