2016 Macbook Pro Issue - High Pitched Keyboard Clicking Sound

monstermac77

macrumors regular
Original poster
Nov 21, 2007
176
35
Within a few hours of using my Late 2016 MacBook Pro 15” with Touch Bar, I noticed some of my keys made a very high pitched click on-key-up (when I lifted my finger from the pressed down key). The affected keys: Caps Lock, left Option, and very occasionally: Delete, ‘H’, and ‘C’.

Caps lock is by far the most reproducible for me (will make the high pitched click on 95% of presses). Whenever the key stops making the high pitched click, I can always get it to start again by making a long key press with a little bit of pressure. I can only reproduce the high pitched click on the left Option key on about 25% of presses, and I’ve only noticed it on the Delete, ‘H’, and ‘C’ keys a couple of times (<1% of presses).

I’ve recorded a video of the issue occurring for my Caps Lock key. I press the shift key 4 times to give a baseline sound for what the key should sound like, and then the Caps Lock key four times to demonstrate the issue. I did the same thing again, but just recorded the audio (the sound quality is a little higher than the video).

It’s important to note that I have only been able to reproduce the issue when the computer is warm.

Note for others: it can be difficult to reproduce the issue on demand due to the possible reliance on heat. To heat up your computer, you can open the application “Terminal”, type "yes > /dev/null & yes > /dev/null & yes > /dev/null & yes > /dev/null & yes > /dev/null & yes > /dev/null”, and press enter. This will spawn 6 processes which just essentially print “yes” really fast, and should cause your computer to hit 75% CPU utilization if you have 4 cores, and thus heat up after a couple minutes. When you want to stop the processes, open a new Terminal window and type “killall yes”.

So far I've found this Apple discussion of other owners experiencing the same issue but with different keys: https://discussions.apple.com/thread/7762123. Anyone on Macrumors hit this issue yet?

Video:
Audio:

Verification: 0664
 
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mydogeatsbeats

macrumors regular
Sep 16, 2016
145
72
have the same problem: gave it back because of this. new one has it on different keys mainly the keys which were replaced by the touch bar...

what should we do... I fear, that the replacement could be worse, because now none of the "main" keys are affected
 
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monstermac77

macrumors regular
Original poster
Nov 21, 2007
176
35
have the same problem: gave it back because of this. new one has it on different keys mainly the keys which were replaced by the touch bar...

what should we do... I fear, that the replacement could be worse, because now none of the "main" keys are affected
So I take it you have the 2016 13" Macbook Pro and you're getting this issue on your function keys?

I have the same fear. From the posts I've seen about this issue on Reddit and the Apple Discussion Forums, there is no pattern to which keys are displaying the issue. I think these are the possible underlying causes and their likelihoods, based on the evidence:

1. No keys are inherently faulty, high heat in certain pockets causes some keys to temporarily deform: Possible, but I think it's very unlikely that two machines of the exact same model would have such different thermals (which parts of the computer get hot) that the keys that they would cause to deform would be different.

2. Some keys are inherently faulty, heat causes faulty keys to become symptomatic: I think this is the most likely solution, because I think the heat distribution is going to be approximately the same within a model and it appears as though which keys are faulty is entirely random. We also have multiple reports of only being able to produce the issue when the computer is warm.

3. Some keys are inherently faulty, high heat in certain pockets: Possible, but dismissed for same reason as #1.

4. Some keys are inherently faulty, heat plays no role: Possible, but I think more people would be experiencing the issue + so far we have no reports of being able to produce the issue when the computer is cool. (edit: we have 1 report of being able to reproduce when cool; so potentially heat activates/accentuates the issue for most)

If it is the case that it's just individual keys, then there's a lot less of a concern. The solution may be as simple as getting the offending keys replaced by Apple. My suggestion: bring it into your Apple Store and ask if they can replace just the bad keys.

Hopefully they'll be able to, but because the model is so new, they might not have replacement keys yet/the new model might not make it reasonable to replace individual keys.

One of the most frustrating things about this is that the natural inclination is to return the entire machine and get a new one, but if individual faulty keys are to blame and this is also widespread enough, replacing everything is going to be a lot worse than just getting individual keys replaced, because you're playing the bad-key lottery with 20 times as many keys.
 
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monstermac77

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Original poster
Nov 21, 2007
176
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Not heat related, but my keyboard isn't consistent https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/keyboard-loud-silent-touch-bar-mbp.2022093/#post-24077050, maybe it adds some info
Hm. Interesting. Does the "clicky" sound you describe resemble the sound in the video I posted (top post)?

Either way, it's likely they have some kinks to work out in their keyboard manufacturing (makes sense considering this is a new design). I just hope us early adopters will only need our bad keys replaced once they've worked it out.
 
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monstermac77

macrumors regular
Original poster
Nov 21, 2007
176
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Yes, the exact annoying sounds!
Ah, interesting. If you boot your computer down and leave it off for 15 minutes (or until it's completely cool), and then try the keyboard again with the computer still off, are you able to get the keys to produce the sound?

Pressing the affected keys down firmly with a bit of pressure usually activated the clicking sound for me.
 
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tCC_

macrumors member
Dec 14, 2016
64
33
Ah, interesting. If you boot your computer down and leave it off for 15 minutes (or until it's completely cool), and then try the keyboard again with the computer still off, are you able to get the keys to produce the sound?

Pressing the affected keys down firmly with a bit of pressure usually activated the clicking sound for me.
Yes, cold does them click the same.
And indeed, firmly pressing down also makes them click, will exchange mine for another macbook
 
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monstermac77

macrumors regular
Original poster
Nov 21, 2007
176
35
Yes, cold does them click the same.
And indeed, firmly pressing down also makes them click, will exchange mine for another macbook
Got it. Okay, well perhaps some of the keys they're producing are faulty and heat simply activates the issue for some of us.

If you're still near the start of your return window (actually I think all returns are extended to early January due to the holidays), I'd probably recommend going to your Apple Store first and asking if they can replace just the bad keys. There have been some owners who got a replacement machine which also had the problem, but on different keys. So far I haven't seen someone get a replacement machine which didn't also have the issue, but it's a very small sample size.

If they can't replace just those keys/if they can only replace the entire keyboard and the issue still occurs, then definitely try returning and getting a new machine. Hopefully they'll figure out the cause and have a fix soon for existing owners, as well as make the appropriate modification to their assembly process.
 
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Jul 4, 2015
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You're hitting the keys wrong in the video anyway. The keyboard is designed for the user to maintain contact with the keys at all times and only push with the padding in your finger tips. You're not supposed to raise your fingers and strike the keys.
 
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monstermac77

macrumors regular
Original poster
Nov 21, 2007
176
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You're hitting the keys wrong in the video anyway. The keyboard is designed for the user to maintain contact with the keys at all times and only push with the padding in your finger tips. You're not supposed to raise your fingers and strike the keys.
Unfortunately, the same sound was produced when pressing the keys the "correct" way (i.e. without breaking finger-contact with the key). tCC_'s video also demonstrates this (link above).
 
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kis

macrumors 68000
Aug 10, 2007
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765
Switzerland
Unfortunately, the same sound was produced when pressing the keys the correct way (i.e. without breaking finger-contact with the key). tCC_'s video also demonstrates this (link above).
"pressing keys the correct way"? Are you effing kidding me? Now Apple is telling us how to type on their keyboard because they know it's crappy?
 
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monstermac77

macrumors regular
Original poster
Nov 21, 2007
176
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"pressing keys the correct way"? Are you effing kidding me? Now Apple is telling us how to type on their keyboard because they know it's crappy?
I mean, personally I don't think there's a "correct way" to press keys, I just wanted to demonstrate that even with SoyCapitanSoyCapitan's limitation, the issue persists.
 
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kis

macrumors 68000
Aug 10, 2007
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I mean, personally I don't think there's a "correct way" to press keys, I just wanted to demonstrate that even with SoyCapitanSoyCapitan's limitation, the issue persists.
Alright, sorry then. I have to say I absolutely hate the keyboard. It's like typing on a block of wood. I already hated it on the 12" MB (and feel absolutely no difference between the two, btw) and I hate it even more now as the MBP is my productivity machine and I type on it 10 hours a day. Apart from it causing me hand and finger cramps, it's also way too loud, even without defective keys. My students have complained about it at several occasions already - in quiet environments (classroom - well, sometimes :), libraries, or even a night train etc. it's obnoxiously loud. And it really doesn't matter how you type on it - there's no "quiet" way to do so on these things.
 
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monstermac77

macrumors regular
Original poster
Nov 21, 2007
176
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Alright, sorry then. I have to say I absolutely hate the keyboard. It's like typing on a block of wood. I already hated it on the 12" MB (and feel absolutely no difference between the two, btw) and I hate it even more now as the MBP is my productivity machine and I type on it 10 hours a day. Apart from it causing me hand and finger cramps, it's also way too loud, even without defective keys. My students have complained about it at several occasions already - in quiet environments (classroom - well, sometimes :), libraries, or even a night train etc. it's obnoxiously loud. And it really doesn't matter how you type on it - there's no "quiet" way to do so on these things.
Oh, no worries at all :) Yeah, I definitely agree that the typing is significantly louder in general. I too am worried about bothering others with the noise.
 
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Zeusus

macrumors member
Jun 17, 2012
57
11
Calgary, Canada
Had the exact some problem on my "n" key and "enter key." It sounded very much like "popping" - like a plastic soda bottle might sound when you crunch it a bit - Then my N key broke off completely. Needless to say, it has gone back and I am waiting until Jan 12 to get my replacement. Fingers crossed.
 
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monstermac77

macrumors regular
Original poster
Nov 21, 2007
176
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Had the exact some problem on my "n" key and "enter key." It sounded very much like "popping" - like a plastic soda bottle might sound when you crunch it a bit - Then my N key broke off completely. Needless to say, it has gone back and I am waiting until Jan 12 to get my replacement. Fingers crossed.
Yeah, it really is an awful sound. The video doesn't really capture how annoying it is. Sorry to hear about your 'N' key, that sucks. Best of luck with your new one.
 
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mbezzo

macrumors member
Sep 14, 2000
89
26
Yep, this is EXACTLY the same click noise my "e" key makes. I've got a replacement coming and will return this one. Pretty annoying!
 
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monstermac77

macrumors regular
Original poster
Nov 21, 2007
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Yep, this is EXACTLY the same click noise my "e" key makes. I've got a replacement coming and will return this one. Pretty annoying!
Yeah, it's a rather unbearable noise. Let us know if your new machine has the same issue when you get it!

Also, for the benefit of others: mbezzo mentioned in another thread that the sound also only occurs on his/her computer when it is warm. Quote below:

I'm seeing an issue with my e key - when the machine warms up, it makes a loud click noise, as soon as the machine cools off it stops. So weird...
 
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mbezzo

macrumors member
Sep 14, 2000
89
26
Yeah, it's a rather unbearable noise. Let us know if your new machine has the same issue when you get it!
thanks @monstermac77 - Yep, only my e key and only after it warms up quite a lot. Very basic use (just browsing web, writing emails, etc.) doesn't make it happen - the machine needs to be pretty warm and working hard for it to happen. As soon as the machine cools down a bit, it goes away. SUCH a weird issue.
 
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tlday

macrumors newbie
Dec 22, 2016
11
1
same issue here. MBP 15" With Touchbar.460 graphic card. all same to you except which keys.first is "m",then, "L", then, "0", then "`",i exchanged it.they send me a new machine with same issue but different keys……"0""-""+""7"…
and new machine has a new issue, bottom of screen is more yellow than top…i'm thinking of a MBP 2015,but i have order two LG ultrafine 4k displays. i order new mbp at Nov 4th, but not really have it until now.
sorry of my poor english.i'm not a native speaker and trying improve it.
[doublepost=1482419981][/doublepost]i'm thinking that if more mbp will have this issue at next summer. or it's only few machines have this issue, and two of them have sent to me.:(
 
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dwsolberg

macrumors 6502a
Dec 17, 2003
717
481
I have the exact same issue. It actually changes between keys. The caps lock seems to have it most often, although I've also had it on the 2, 3, E, and delete key.

I returned it and ordered a new one. Part of the reason for waiting for a new one is to see if any manufacturing issues get sorted. If the new one doesn't work, I think I'm going to return it and just wait out this round.
 
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monstermac77

macrumors regular
Original poster
Nov 21, 2007
176
35
same issue here. MBP 15" With Touchbar.460 graphic card. all same to you except which keys.first is "m",then, "L", then, "0", then "`",i exchanged it.they send me a new machine with same issue but different keys……"0""-""+""7"…
and new machine has a new issue, bottom of screen is more yellow than top…i'm thinking of a MBP 2015,but i have order two LG ultrafine 4k displays. i order new mbp at Nov 4th, but not really have it until now.
sorry of my poor english.i'm not a native speaker and trying improve it.
[doublepost=1482419981][/doublepost]i'm thinking that if more mbp will have this issue at next summer. or it's only few machines have this issue, and two of them have sent to me.:(
Very sorry to hear about that. Quite a few people (I've seen 3 so far) have gotten replacements which have the same issue on different keys. I'm hoping that this isn't widespread and those who have gotten replacements with the issue were simply very unlucky, or that it is widespread and Apple will be implementing a fix to their manufacturing soon. No worries, your English is perfectly understandable :)

I have the exact same issue. It actually changes between keys. The caps lock seems to have it most often, although I've also had it on the 2, 3, E, and delete key.

I returned it and ordered a new one. Part of the reason for waiting for a new one is to see if any manufacturing issues get sorted. If the new one doesn't work, I think I'm going to return it and just wait out this round.
Yeah, I agree that waiting for as long as possible to get a return is ideal because it gives Apple a chance to make modifications to their assembly process. It seems a lot of people have been having issues with their keyboard (some keys double type, some keys don't always register, etc.), so I'm hoping that the returns/genius bar appointments have raised a flag for Apple by now.

Since I'm guessing forum posts/views on an issue generally correlate with how many people are having that issue and thus make returns/genius bar appointments, I'd be curious to know if anyone has enough experience on the forums to judge how big a problem usually before Apple notices it. For instance, the "Graphic card freaks out with brand new MBP 2016" thread, which Apple seemed to address rather quickly has 84,000 views and 650 replies. Of course it was a software issue, so I'm sure it was easier to address.
 
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