2016 vs 2017 keyboard

skaertus

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Original poster
Feb 23, 2009
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Did anyone notice a difference between the keyboard in the 2016 and 2017 models? I have read some reviews saying that the keyboard is exactly the same, and others saying that the new keyboard has some differences and slightly more key travel. Which is to be trusted?
 

New_Mac_Smell

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Oct 17, 2016
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Technically they're the same. 'Opinion' of certain people suggests remarkable difference. Trust a person who knows what they're talking about, and not I'm guessing someone who 'unboxes' something then touches it and puts a thumbs up.
 
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blackcypher

macrumors member
May 3, 2017
42
22
There is a visual difference where the "Alt" wording on the keys of the 2016 model is replaced by the shortcut symbols on the 2017 models.

As far as feel, I noticed nothing different. However it "seems" that the 2017 keyboard is less prone towards key-related problems as the 2026 model.

Note: I have a 2016 TbMBP with a 2017 keyboard (after Apple replaced it twice).
 
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austyn23

macrumors 6502
Nov 22, 2017
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There is a visual difference where the "Alt" wording on the keys of the 2016 model is replaced by the shortcut symbols on the 2017 models.

As far as feel, I noticed nothing different. However it "seems" that the 2017 keyboard is less prone towards key-related problems as the 2026 model.

Note: I have a 2016 TbMBP with a 2017 keyboard (after Apple replaced it twice).
any problem since the replacement?
 
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csurfr

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Dec 7, 2016
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For what it’s worth, I bought a 2016 as soon as they were released and had problem after problem with the keyboard and with the machine waking from sleep. Eventually I returned it and ended up getting a 2017 model. I never experienced a problem with the 2017 during the time I owned it (until about two months ago).

At that point I wanted something more portable to go with the 5k iMac on my desk. I picked up a refurbished 13” 2017, and had it for about a month with essentially zero issues (graphics bug in illustrator eventually got me), and so I’m back on 2017 15” 2.9/16/512/Radeon 560. I’ve only had it about a week or so now and it’s working fine.

So, in MY experience, the 2017 keyboards seem to be better. Whether it’s a tolerance thing with the keys, or if something has slightly changed between them.

I know some people on here haven’t had the same experience, though, so you’ll have to gather as much data as you can and then make that decision.
 
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austyn23

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Nov 22, 2017
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For what it’s worth, I bought a 2016 as soon as they were released and had problem after problem with the keyboard and with the machine waking from sleep. Eventually I returned it and ended up getting a 2017 model. I never experienced a problem with the 2017 during the time I owned it (until about two months ago).

At that point I wanted something more portable to go with the 5k iMac on my desk. I picked up a refurbished 13” 2017, and had it for about a month with essentially zero issues (graphics bug in illustrator eventually got me), and so I’m back on 2017 15” 2.9/16/512/Radeon 560. I’ve only had it about a week or so now and it’s working fine.
Wow, stop playing with the size jaja! Once you have tried a 15 inch, is hard to go back... I also use an iMac as main machine and the mbp for travel, and I can´t get off the 15 inches.

My 2017 is arriving tomorrow, I hope works fine, and if not, I have 2 years warranty with Amazon (100% refund). So if it have issues, I´ll get the money and wait for 2018 mbp, maybe the keyboard gets better.

I can wait until June to see the new ones, but the price won´t be the same as the 2017 is now (2700€ and was 3300€ wen launched).
 
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Mr. Dee

macrumors 68020
Dec 4, 2003
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I just bought the base model Touch Bar 2017 13 inch MBP for my brother and I got the chance to play with it a bit. I will say this, its not the 2015 model keyboard and earlier. At the same time, its not the 2016 model I tried out back in November 2016 either. The travel a lot better, but it is a loud keyboard though.

What I like about the 2017 keyboard, you can actually feel a depression when you hit the keys. My brother loves it so far, but lets be honest, its going through a honeymoon period. So, we'll see what happens by July.
 
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fokmik

macrumors 601
Oct 28, 2016
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I had around 8-9 MBP 2016 and almost all had the keyboard issue...but all were exchange with the 2017 model and,until now, no problem with them
[doublepost=1521981794][/doublepost]And from "feel" perspective..i think the travel is making an impact here, and i think now the keys are no longer made from rubber but from plastic now?
 
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204353

Cancelled
Jul 13, 2008
955
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I've had my 2017 model for a month now. I've had several 15-inch MacBook Pros over the years, including the original 2006 model. Personally, I like the 2017 keyboard the most because it's very clicky and tactile. The large, stable keycaps make it very easy to type on quickly. I find that I can type the fastest on this keyboard, and I regularly use the older style wireless keyboard with an iMac and work computer.

Speaking of work, I happen to work at an Apple Authorised Service Provider. I haven't calculated accurate numbers, but I can tell you that the 2017 models seem to come in a lot less for keyboard troubles. That anecdotal data may be skewed, however, as I also think the 2016 models sold in greater numbers (due to new design, pent-up demand etc).

I'd also like to point out that the vast majority of 2016/2017 models that we do get in for keyboard issues are filthy. It's true that the newer designs are more vulnerable to debris, but there's an easy way to avoid such a problem: keep your Mac's keyboard clean. I don't mean to suggest that debris is always the cause (before anyone tells me how theirs failed despite being kept clean), but I've seen a strong correlation at my workplace. A lot of customers treat their Macs like crap and seem to have no shame bringing them in for service caked in dirt, oil and crumbs.
 
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turbineseaplane

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Mar 19, 2008
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I'd also like to point out that the vast majority of 2016/2017 models that we do get in for keyboard issues are filthy. It's true that the newer designs are more vulnerable to debris, but there's an easy way to avoid such a problem: keep your Mac's keyboard clean. I don't mean to suggest that debris is always the cause (before anyone tells me how theirs failed despite being kept clean), but I've seen a strong correlation at my workplace. A lot of customers treat their Macs like crap and seem to have no shame bringing them in for service caked in dirt, oil and crumbs.
Apple needs to design with customer use in mind.

This wasn't a problem on previous designs to this degree and the company, not the customer, is the one who should be designing for actual usage in the real world.
 
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fokmik

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Oct 28, 2016
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Apple needs to design with customer use in mind.

This wasn't a problem on previous designs to this degree and the company, not the customer, is the one who should be designing for actual usage in the real world.
in this case...Apple should consider people who treat their device like crap...from filthy hands, to those who play football with them or spill coffee or water . Hmm now that i mention, it would be great for Apple to make, what huawei did with their new matebook, to have a little bit of water resistance
 
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turbineseaplane

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Mar 19, 2008
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in this case...Apple should consider people who treat their device like crap...
"treating it like crap" to some people is just using their laptop in diverse situations and environments.
Remember, this was not an issue with previous Apple laptops to this degree at all.

Apple designed themselves into this problem on their own.
Customers are not the issue here.
 
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204353

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Apple needs to design with customer use in mind.

This wasn't a problem on previous designs to this degree and the company, not the customer, is the one who should be designing for actual usage in the real world.
I agree that Apple needs to consider all kinds of customer and I agree that this wasn't such an issue with the older designs. They clearly didn't design for the more extreme use cases.

I'm just pointing out that a lot of people don't do themselves any favours either. I can't show you photos for customer privacy reasons, but it's really quite alarming how badly a lot of people treat their premium computers. It's clear that some of them were eating while using them and have probably never cleaned them.

I even had a customer who claimed to keep their MacBook (2015) clean, but evidence said otherwise. It was covered in residue and crumbs and the display was coated in fingerprints and grease.

I agree that Apple should make changes to improve the reliability and durability of the modern keyboards because a lot of customers are gross. Does that sum it up?
 
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austyn23

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Nov 22, 2017
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I had around 8-9 MBP 2016 and almost all had the keyboard issue...but all were exchange with the 2017 model and,until now, no problem with them
I saw a video where they show the design under the keys and appears that the 2017 has a slight change in one circle plastic, maybe that helps and makes more stable the Keyboard, who knows...

That's a completely subjective "problem".
I have both side-by-side at home and I vastly prefer the 2015 and previous keyboards.
Yes of course, but keyboard asside, the whole mac looks old IMO... it’s hard to pay 2000 for a 2015 after using a 2017 (2400)

Apple needs to design with customer use in mind.

This wasn't a problem on previous designs.
Agree 100%, it’s a step backwards, of course we are not going to have dinner over the mac but we live in the real world not in a** laboratory.
 
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turbineseaplane

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Mar 19, 2008
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Yes of course, but keyboard asside, the whole mac looks old IMO... it’s hard to pay 2000 for a 2015 after using a 2017 (2400)
I completely disagree.

I literally have both generations next to each other right now and we are both simply expressing a preference. That's totally fine of course.

I prefer the opposite of you, but neither view is right or wrong here.
 
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austyn23

macrumors 6502
Nov 22, 2017
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I completely disagree.

I literally have both generations next to each other right now and we are both simply expressing a preference. That's totally fine of course.

I prefer the opposite of you, but neither view is right or wrong here.
And no keyboard problems?
 
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csurfr

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Dec 7, 2016
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I completely disagree.

I literally have both generations next to each other right now and we are both simply expressing a preference. That's totally fine of course.

I prefer the opposite of you, but neither view is right or wrong here.
Agreed - it's definitely a preference, and neither view is wrong. The only major difference that gets me when using a friends' 2015 from time to time when helping with code and such is the size of the trackpad. It ends up feeling cramped to me. Keyboard wise its a wash.

One thing I have noticed. . . at least on the last two 2017s that I have owned. . . the Apple supplied color profile "Color LCD" seems to have like a haze over it. My 2017 iMac looks the same way with that profile in use a well. After installing Adobe CC, I can choose "Apple RGB" which looks insanely vibrant, but the screen kind of dims just a smidge when you're in system prefs and go from "display" back to the main sys prefs window. Noticeable but strange, and only there.
 
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turbineseaplane

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Mar 19, 2008
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One thing I have noticed. . . at least on the last two 2017s that I have owned. . . the Apple supplied color profile "Color LCD" seems to have like a haze over it. My 2017 iMac looks the same way with that profile in use a well. After installing Adobe CC, I can choose "Apple RGB" which looks insanely vibrant, but the screen kind of dims just a smidge when you're in system prefs and go from "display" back to the main sys prefs window. Noticeable but strange, and only there.
Good tip - trying that now (the color profile)
 
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turbineseaplane

macrumors 603
Mar 19, 2008
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Yeah, seriously it’s a world of difference. I originally thought it shipped with machines, but it guess it’s part of Adobe cc.
Is it a less accurate profile?
I'm wary of profiles that seem to "boost things" at first glance.

Reminds me of the "vivid mode" tv's are always jacked on to at stores
 
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Naimfan

Suspended
Jan 15, 2003
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2,009
Did anyone notice a difference between the keyboard in the 2016 and 2017 models? I have read some reviews saying that the keyboard is exactly the same, and others saying that the new keyboard has some differences and slightly more key travel. Which is to be trusted?
Anecdotally, the 2017 keyboards seem to feel better. Still a travesty relative to 2015 and earlier, but better.

Reliability-wise, Apple does not appear to have improved them. I returned a 2017 15" a week or two ago because the "b" and "n" keys started repeating. Six days after I bought it. Back to a 2014; will wait for the 2018 and see if Apple has extracted its head from its ass.
 
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