Tuesday, October 16, 2018 [Tweets] [Favorites]

The 2018 MacBook Keyboards Have the Same Old Problems

Casey Johnston (tweet):

In July, Apple slightly redesigned the very low profile butterfly keyboard on its MacBooks and MacBook Pros, not because “a small percentage” of the previous version was rendered useless by a speck of dust, the company said, but to make it quieter; it even invited the tech press to try it out. iFixit teardowns of the hardware revealed that, in fact, Apple had added a silicone membrane under the keys that looks quite a bit like it’s meant to keep dust and debris from lodging under the key and locking it up. Was that the idea? No, Apple unequivocally said.

But this was not the story I got from several Apple employees I have since spoken to at Apple stores I visited. Every time I described the 2017 MacBook Pro I sold because I couldn’t stand its non-functional keyboard and asked an Apple store employee if the new one would screw me over the same way, each assured me that Apple had changed the keyboards so that that would never happen again.


But checking around online, it appears the new keyboards have the same old issues. They may be delayed, but they happen nonetheless. The MacRumors forum has a long thread about the the “gen 3 butterfly keyboard” where users have been sharing their experiences since Apple updated the design. […] The thread goes one for 600 posts, most either posting complaints, expressing how mystified they are that the problems continue, or speculating what Apple will do now that this design has failed as well.

Previously: Mac Sales Down in Q3 2018 Amid a Lack of Updates, MacBook Pro 2018, Unreliable MacBook Pro Keyboards.

Update (2018-10-18): Nick Heer:

The nature of online reviews and Mac enthusiast forum users, in general, tends to draw out negative experiences in a sort of shared commiseration experience. There aren’t loads of people who will chime in with their flawless keyboard experience. But, even if a smaller number of 2018 MacBook Pro owners are finding their computers susceptible to dust-induced keyboard failures compared to 2016 or 2017 model year users, these problems are still unique to the ultra low profile “butterfly” mechanism used in these models and are not present in previous generations of keyboards. This a serious regression of one of its single most critical components. These are not good keyboards.

Update (2018-10-25): John Kneeland:

I’ve gone through 2 MacBook Pros at work with the new keyboard in 6 months because they keep breaking...lesson learned...for my home computer I’ll hold onto my old 2013 MacBook as long as possible


Weirdly, in over 2 years I have had absolutely *zero* problems with the MBP 2016 keyboard.

Nil. None. Nada. Zilch.


OTOH, ask me about problems when plugging and unplugging external monitors.

Go on, I dare ya. I double dare ya.

Honestly, it's a minor miracle this kernel-krashing POS hasn't taken a dive off a third-floor balcony. (I've smashed machines for less, you know.) Or possibly just the hope that I can hold out long enough for the entire industry to wise up and humph its ass to Windows PCs. At least then as an ISV I'll only have one garbage OS to worry about.

@has The Thunderbolt 3 on my iMac is incredibly unreliable at plugging in an external monitor. This is the only computer I remember having trouble with that in 30+ years.

Wait, so there is likely a problem, Apple changes production, but disavows it was on account of any actual problem. Problem still occurs on newer model, but still no acknowledgement from Apple?I

"Can't innovate anymore, my ass," is funnier by the year.

[…] T2, more than one port (sad that this was not a given), Touch ID without a Touch Bar. The bad: the unreliable keyboard, only two ports (only one when charging), no USB-A, the larger trackpad that’s more […]

[…] seems to think that the keyboard is […]

I have a 2016 MacBook Pro and I've been lucky to have no keyboard issues so far. I do use it 90% of the time closed with an external keyboard so that may have something to do with it. I still hate it though. The escape key and the arrow keys are abominations. I hate them with a passion that is undying. I hate the key travel. I'm a bit of a forceful typer I've found, and I feel like I'm going to bruise my fingers with this keyboard. Maybe I'd get used to the travel if I used it full time but I don't, and I hate it. Touch ID is cool when it works, but I'd say I like everything else about it less than previous Apple Keyboards.

I think this computer is what is contributing most of my frustrations with Apple recently. This is the most expensive computer I have ever owned, and I like it the least out of every Apple computer I've ever owned. I have more frustrations with it than any other. USB C/Thunderbolt 3 seems to be a format that works only when it feels like. Probably 10% of the time when I try to turn it on my external monitor won't come on. 5% of the time nothing comes on and I have to hard reboot. My admittedly cheap Anker USB hub I have to re-plugin probably 60% of the time I wake from sleep because nothing registers.

Apple is supposed to be the company that makes computers that "Just Work". And this computer feels like it was made by people who have heard what a computer is, they have seen pictures of them, but they have never actually used one, and have certainly not used this one.

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