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macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001

Last year, Apple introduced new MacBook Pro and MacBook Air models with a redesigned third-generation butterfly keyboard that was meant to address issues with sticking and non-responsive keys. However, as noted by The Wall Street Journal's Joanna Stern, some customers are continuing to experience these issues.

Third-generation butterfly keyboard on 2018 MacBook Pro via iFixit

In a statement, an Apple spokesperson acknowledged the issues and apologized:
We are aware that a small number of users are having issues with their third-generation butterfly keyboard and for that we are sorry. The vast majority of Mac notebook customers are having a positive experience with the new keyboard.
Apple added that affected customers should contact the company for support.

Unfortunately, while Apple initiated a service program offering free repairs of affected 2015-2017 MacBook and 2016-2017 MacBook Pro models with first- and second-generation butterfly keyboards, the latest 2018 MacBook Pro and 2018 MacBook Air models with third-generation butterfly keyboards do not qualify at this time.

Stern wrote her column without using the letters E or R as a clever way of illustrating the problem -- there are toggle switches to turn each letter back on. Humorously, there are also toggle switches to read the article with double E's or double T's, as repeating letters are one symptom of the sticky keys.


In an internal document obtained by MacRumors last year, Apple said the third-generation keyboard has a silicone membrane under the keycaps to "prevent debris from entering the butterfly mechanism." However, the membrane has only reduced the keyboard issues instead of eliminating them entirely.

Apple has not admitted this reasoning publicly, instead saying that the third-generation keyboard delivers a "quieter" typing experience.

Stern concludes with a plea to Apple to "stop prioritizing thinness over usability."

Article Link: Apple Apologizes Over 'Small Number' of Users Who Continue to Have Issues With Third-Generation MacBook Keyboards
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macrumors 6502a
Feb 21, 2019
they really tried to downplay the issue by saying "small number". most people who have the keyboard seem to have issues. i have a macbook air 2018 and the "e" key clicks itself twice sometimes..

they dont wanna admit that the buttlerfly keyboard is sort of flawed

edit: read the article and she mentions my "sticky e" problem wow


macrumors 65816
Mar 9, 2009
Skipped this generation Macbook Pro because of this. A redesign can't come soon enough, maybe with an A14 chip?

To show how widespread this problem is, just go to ANY Apple store and try out their laptops with this butterfly keyboard.

You'll find several of them with broken keys.


macrumors 601
Sep 14, 2010
Can Apple just admit the design is flawed and move to something reliable in the next gen?

Or perhaps bring back the old retina MacBook Pro to sell as a different range - put the latest internals in it, replace thunderbolt ports and USB A with USB-C thunderbolt 3, put in Touch ID and an equivalent display to the new Macs.


macrumors 65816
Mar 9, 2009
Apple really ought to just acknowledge that these butterfly keyboards are awful, and revert back to the 2015 MacBook keyboards. It’s crazy. They went from having literally the greatest laptop keyboards on the market in 2015, to having the absolute worst keyboards on the market in 2016, all just to save half a millimeter in thickness.


macrumors 601
May 30, 2010
The first gen was trash.

The one that shipped in the 2016 Pro was trash.

The minor revision in 2017 seemed to achieve nothing.

But I've had no problems with the third gen. I am surprised Apple is commenting on issues with the latest version. Maybe they do have plans to change it in the future.


Jan 11, 2018
Too late for me, I got a refund on my £1949 512GB TB 13" 2018 model... Refund on the £399 AppleCare too.

Mac mini all the way! It took me a long time to spend that much on a device in the first place, it'll take a long time before I spend that with Apple again after the experience with the MBP


macrumors 6502a
Jul 12, 2008
Prague, CZ
Heat, heat, heat. The problem is called heat.

Just buy two identical MBP. Use one for just some basic operations like working with Office apps and use the other for rendering, video editing (preferably in clamshell mode) and you will see which keyboard will last longer.

Bad, baaad design.
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