2016/17 tb keyboard problems stats

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Geckoooo, Oct 22, 2017.

  1. Geckoooo macrumors newbie


    Oct 22, 2017
    Hi all
    I Just took advantage of a massive discount on a 2016 tb mbp 13” base spec model (-30%) and after a bit of reading, I am realizing that the keyboard problems might be a dealbreaker
    (I’ve tried it and I don’t dislike it, my concerns are mostly about reliability)

    Basically I was initially going for the 2018 or 2019 model (I can wait a little more) but I felt the opportunity was good
    And the new strategy is to buy this cheap one and if necessary sell it later with a limited short term loss

    Hence my concern on keyboard reliability
    Is it this bad ? What are the statistics of failing keys per sold MacBook Pro ?
    Is there a significant risk that “at some point” the keyboard will fail (hence reducing the machine’s lifespan and reselling potential)

    Any feedback is appreciated :)
  2. ZapNZs macrumors 68020


    Jan 23, 2017
    FWIW, there are no hard statistics, but the new keyboard has developed a reputation for being less reliable and more temperamental than the design it replaced (no one other than Apple can make statistical comparisons tho), and I've observed that the 2016 models seem more prone to issues than the 2017 keyboard. This mechanism is arguably more prone to foreign particles getting underneath the key and causing functional problems, and the sound of the keys on some MBPs has changed when the system is heated up (making a high-pitched popping noise.) That said, I owned a 2016 and never had any issues, and there are quite a few Users who have owned/do own 2016 models and have not had issues. Ensuring the keyboard remains clean appears to reduce (but not outright eliminate) some of these issues - where as many of the rMBs and MBPs checked in for keyboard issues were quite dirty and appeared to have been used while eating, some were meticulously up-kept and still had issues.

    IMO, the best thing you can do to increase the selling potential (and add peace of mind) is to purchase AppleCare and sell the unit before AppleCare expires. Not just because of the keyboard, but because the MacBook Pro has become less-serviceable over the past half decade and when one small component breaks, it often entails a larger repair (the computer industry, as a whole, has been moving in this direction.) AppleCare ensures you will have a perfectly functioning machine for the next three years (and AC+ includes accidental and liquid damage as well), and brings the next buyer peace of mind knowing they have a warranty to fall back on if the used MBP they purchased had an issue (AC is transferrable) - machines with AppleCare can and do routinely sell for quite a bit more than machines without after the initial 1 year warranty period has passed, likely because it becomes a much lesser financial risk for the second-hand Buyer. YMMV.
  3. Geckoooo thread starter macrumors newbie


    Oct 22, 2017
    Thank you for these elements
    I have to admit I thought about skipping AppleCare initially
    Remaining problem is : what if I keep it and still have problem after ac is over ...

    So many people (say at least 25% of buyers) reporting issues that I hope apple will recognize the issue and fix it free of charge when out of warranty

    Or I just wait for next model but it annoys me
  4. maybeamacy macrumors newbie

    Jul 20, 2015
    I had my bottom case replaced twice because of the keyboard issue and after the second time they messed the SSD up and didn't know how to fix it so they just gave me a new computer... >.>
  5. newellj macrumors 604

    Oct 15, 2014
    Boston, MA, US
    I will add that I have been in Apple Stores quite a bit lately and have been testing out the 13" rMPB models on the tables. Quite a few have malfunctioning/broken keys, which I find shocking, given that they're out for display. You'd think that the staff would keep an eye on this and swap out broken/defective floor models ASAP. But the fact that I'm stumbling on these machines with broken keyboards is a real red flag, so I doubt I'll be buying a 2016 or 2017 rMPB.
  6. mroy16 macrumors regular

    May 28, 2017
    This forum definitely seems to be a bit of a sounding box for the 2016/2017 keyboard problems. I suspect that people are much more likely to comment saying that they've had problems, compared to those who have had no issues. My 2016 has had zero problems, and I got used to the keyboard really quickly. I routinely switch between and Apple wired keyboard and the built-in one on my 2016 MPB.

    If you have Apple Care, you're covered for 3 years. If Apple really hasn't found a way to fix your machine after all that time, go ahead and sell it off. However, I really think that the keyboard will either fail early or not at all, so you shouldn't need to worry in the long run. Now, I don't know that for sure, but no one knows for sure either way.

    The only thing we can be sure of is that 1) Apple hasn't released any sort of recall or replacement issue, so either the issue isn't really that bad or they will do something later, and 2) this forum has a large population of people who come just to rag on Apple. Take what you read here (positive or negative) with a grain of salt.
  7. macbook keyboard broken macrumors newbie

    Feb 10, 2018
    I chose NOT to spend additional money on Apple care at the time of purchase specifically because it did not have drop coverage. This touch bar laptop is very thin and fragile yet Apple does not make a good sturdy case for it. Being a college student.... you understand.
    Later in 2017 (about Sept.) Apple did add drop protection but nobody told us....lol.

    This is only a forum.... you do not have access to the actual # of keyboards affected to date so how can you have facts for anybody else's situation but your own. Happened to me. Apple FINALLY owned it. Too much BS to go through to get them to though. No more Apple products for us. EVER.
  8. burgman macrumors 68000


    Sep 24, 2013
    Good luck getting that level of customer service from your windows machine manufacturer no matter the number of calls. Glad you joined to get this off your chest ;)
  9. lpolarityl macrumors 6502


    Dec 1, 2009
    Buy AppleCare, eventual/possible problems covered.
  10. cambookpro macrumors 603


    Feb 3, 2010
    United Kingdom
    I absolutely love my 2016 MBP, keyboard and all, but I think the keyboard mainly fails due to debris getting stuck under the key, so I'd assume that this is as likely three years after purchasing as it is three months after.

    I've had one key get stuck, but a can of compressed air and lifting it slightly with some thin plastic did the trick. Is it perfect? No, but I do find it wonderful to type on. I just wish it was as easy to disassemble the keys as it was on the older MBPs. Seems like you're almost guaranteed to break it by taking the keycaps off.

    I managed to break the Command and Fn keys on my 2011 MBP, but that was a £5 fix buying new keycaps from eBay. The idea of having to replace the whole top case does make me shiver slightly.
  11. aevan macrumors 68030


    Feb 5, 2015
    You can replace the keycaps on 2016/2017 too, easily. The problem those affected have seems to be deeper, though, something in the scissor gen 2 switches themselves. Hopefuly you won’t have issues.
  12. Miltz, Feb 11, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2018

    Miltz macrumors 6502a

    Sep 6, 2013
    New York
    I thought the 2016 Keyboard issues weren't real since I had my 2016 MacBook Pro 15" for almost one year without any issues. But exactly 3 days after the year was up, my keyboard started to fail. Ironically I do very little typing on the keyboard, compared to most. I used my laptop for final cut and photoshop. Anyway, I went to apple and they gave me a hard time because I was 3 days out of warranty. Yeah, I was very disappointed with the level of service. I replaced the lower assembly with the 2017 version. That's the one they use for repairs anyway. Good Luck with yours. Laptop is amazing otherwise.

    From what I've learned Apple Tech denied the issue to my face and said they never heard of it before. Both stores said they've only seen it on the MACBOOK 12" not this model. I didn't believe them and they also tried to replaces the keys, but the issue isn't the top part of the key. When I tested it with the key removed completely the issue was still there, so it's the actual board or whatever they call the dome that moves in and out.
  13. macbook keyboard broken, Feb 11, 2018
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 13, 2018

    macbook keyboard broken macrumors newbie

    Feb 10, 2018
    Out of warranty by 18 days.... Apple Care is no longer an option. As I stated earlier I should not need Applecare to fix a hardware problem. The heat under certain keys causes the keyboard to fail those butterfly keys. I would've bought AC at the time of purchase but it did NOT cover drops.... later in the year Apple changed policy to include drops but I was not notified. With 28 years in as an avid Apple/Mac supporter the new regime is NOT like the old. Customers are now deemed disposable--- lesson learned here.

    The Apple Store in Deer Park IL manager.... Mr. Chris G..... is my main reason for purging my life of Apple's products. This individual was NOT concerned about protecting the customer ( I did purchase it there).... he WAS concerned about protecting the bottom line $$$.... wrongo sporto. See ya.

    As for the Windows machine -an MSI - it is user servicable. None of this proprietary glued with no repair parts available BS that Apple is best known for.
    I find my wrists are more comfortable now as the computer is taller, I love the gaming aspect and it is user upgradable if I ever choose. And I no longer have to worry about the keyboard failing again and the repair being on my dime.
  14. djnigelchung macrumors member

    Jun 20, 2015
    Silicon Valley
    I think my thoughts will differ from others on here. Got a 15" maxed out (512 ssd) 2016 refurb around July 2017. It has given me 0 issues with the keyboard. (I have a keyboard protector over it, but I guess that doesn't 100% stop dust from getting in.

    It's the most powerful computer I have ever owned, with bootcamp this thing is a beast for all my professional work (solidworks, autocad, metatrader4) and hobbies (final cut pro, photoshop, lightroom, logic pro, abelton, fl studio).
  15. mroy16 macrumors regular

    May 28, 2017
    You're definitely not alone in being happy with your 2016 or 2017 MBP. Criticism is often louder than praise. I have a basic 2016 13" and I love it. It's not perfect, and Apple has certainly made decisions over the years that I disagree with, but I'm still a satisfied customer who would look to Apple to purchase another laptop in the future.
  16. aevan, Feb 11, 2018
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 13, 2018

    aevan macrumors 68030


    Feb 5, 2015
    That moment in life when bold text is not dramatic enough, so you have to go italic as well....
  17. PieTunes, Feb 12, 2018
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 13, 2018

    PieTunes Contributor


    May 6, 2016
    San Diego, CA
    I can understand your frustration, but you’re really blaming Apple for not telling you that AppleCare+ for MacBooks was introduced in early June 2017? I would have assumed with you being an avid fan of Apple and Mac products for 28 years you would keep regular tabs on them via various fan and tech sites and would have seen or heard about this when it happened. Even if they did notify you, your machine still would have been ineligible for AC+ as it wasn’t purchased within the previous 60 days.

    At any rate, glad you were able to find hardware you are ultimately happy with that hopefully gives you many years of trouble free enjoyment, just like Apple hardware has done for me and many others for years.

    And welcome to MacRumors!
  18. lpolarityl, Feb 12, 2018
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 13, 2018

    lpolarityl macrumors 6502


    Dec 1, 2009
    You're misunderstanding what I suggested, I should have done it past tense.

    You should have bought AppleCare.

    I just bought a MBP 15" that was open box at Best Buy. It was originally purchased in November 2017, returned shortly after that. By the time I purchased it, it well passed 60 days. I couldn't add AppleCare+, but I made sure I could at least add the normal AppleCare (Which you can add within a year of purchase). I called Apple Support and verified I could still add AppleCare by having the serial number validated. I purchased it, two weeks later I added AppleCare. If the keyboard breaks, I am now covered until November 2020. Having AppleCare is certainly better than having no coverage at all. Also, if you purchased with a major credit card, see if the card company has some sort of purchase warranty/protection coverage. American Express for example, has purchase protection for computers.

    As for the butterfly keyboard, it may not be the best keyboard Apple has ever put on a laptop. A lot of people can agree on that (myself included, I prefer more travel). But... it did eventually grow on me and I have no issues using it. I haven't had any issues with it so far and hopefully I don't. I actually had a 15" Surface Book 2 that I ended up returning (twice) before purchasing the 15" MBP.

    The Surface Book 2's keyboard was really nice, as was the touch screen and the GTX 1060 (when gaming time came around). Unfortunately I had issues on two of them before I decided to just stick with Apple (Yellow hue on bottom of screen when looking at it from a certain angle (this one is kind of hard to explain, but the issue is indeed an issue), laggy scrolling on anything that wasn't a Microsoft native application, poor DPI scaling on a lot of software, and pretty sluggish drive performance (especially when running multiple virtual machines).

    I was almost willing to just live with the issues, hoping Microsoft would release updates to resolve the issues with software updates (That's how nice the SB2 is). However, the thought out living with these issues after spending $2,500 seemed stupid. I tried two SB 2's before giving up, happily went to a MBP where so far, everything is great. No scrolling issues, no screen issues, the trackpad works brilliantly, VM's run great in Parallels (like, really well), the NVME drive is properly fast, etc.

    My only complaint is the keyboard and lack of USB ports. The keyboard I got used to. The lack of USB ports, I got a USB-C adapter (problem solved).

    Sorry, this turned into a SB 2 review.

    TLDR: Get extended warranties on anything you're spending a lot of money on. You'd be doing yourself a disservice not to.

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17 October 22, 2017