How to fix ? Cmd key failure on new mid-2018 MBP

Diazepam

Suspended
Original poster
Nov 24, 2018
77
39
I have a 13" mid-2018 MBP w/ Touch Bar purchased new in early October. Model# A1989 aka "Macbook pro 15,2"

After roughly 1-2 months of pretty heavy usage (8 - 12 hrs / day), my left side Command key only sporadically works - works roughly 50% - 60% of the time I press it, and only if I make sure to center my thumb on the key.

I am sure I'm not imagining this, because 1 - the other Command key (and all other keys) don't exhibit these failures, 2 - the failing key started failing only about a month after purchase, and 3 - I can readily reproduce the failure if I consciously decide to do so.

NOTE 1 - I have used a protective keyboard cover since week 2 of owning this laptop (because I'm aware of recent MBP keyboard issues). The cover is on 100% of the time I use the keyboard, so I doubt that dust or other debris is the problem.

NOTE 2 - I do use the failing key a lot, as I do some programming with XCode and am always hitting Cmd+S.

Questions:
1 - What are my options for going about getting this key fixed ?
2 - If getting this key fixed is too much trouble, what are some good alternative solutions ? e.g. external keyboard (which one) ?
3 - Has anyone else with a 2018 model (gen 3 Butterfly keyboard) experienced similar issues ? Do share.

Thanks.
 
Last edited:

tsukeyomi

macrumors newbie
Jan 23, 2013
23
22
It is scary that such an expensive machines have so many issues (keyboards, kernel panics and whatnot).

Are 2018 models included in the additional warranty for keyboards thing?
 

Diazepam

Suspended
Original poster
Nov 24, 2018
77
39
It is scary that such an expensive machines have so many issues (keyboards, kernel panics and whatnot).

Are 2018 models included in the additional warranty for keyboards thing?
Yes, it feels outrageous that a simple part such as a keyboard key in a $2200 machine can fail so early in its life. (among the other failures - touch bar freezes, random machine shutdowns/restarts)

I actually don't know if the 2018 models are covered by the repair program. I'm hoping to find out here. Does anyone know ?
 

FrostyF

macrumors regular
Nov 2, 2018
211
182
Western Canada
I can't imagine the command key sees as much usage as other keys on the keyboard so for it to fail it's more than likely a manufacturing defect than anything.

Have you tried to spray compressed air at it while turning the machine upside down?
 

Diazepam

Suspended
Original poster
Nov 24, 2018
77
39
I can't imagine the command key sees as much usage as other keys on the keyboard so for it to fail it's more than likely a manufacturing defect than anything.
I actually happen to use the Command key a lot. It is probably the key I use the most, because I program using XCode, and am constantly hitting Cmd-S to save my work. I think it's a programmer's habit :)

Have you tried to spray compressed air at it while turning the machine upside down?
Hmm, not yet. Is that advisable with this new keyboard design ? I'm not certain but I read that with the butterfly design, if undue force results in a key coming off, it is impossible to put it back on by oneself. It then has to be repaired by Apple. So, do you feel it's safe ? If so, I might give it a try.
 

FrostyF

macrumors regular
Nov 2, 2018
211
182
Western Canada
I actually happen to use the Command key a lot. It is probably the key I use the most, because I program using XCode, and am constantly hitting Cmd-S to save my work. I think it's a programmer's habit :)



Hmm, not yet. Is that advisable with this new keyboard design ? I'm not certain but I read that with the butterfly design, if undue force results in a key coming off, it is impossible to put it back on by oneself. It then has to be repaired by Apple. So, do you feel it's safe ? If so, I might give it a try.
Well....given the key isn't working properly, what are you choices?

A) Try fix it yourself, if it doesn't work, proceed to B.
B) Take in for repair
 

Diazepam

Suspended
Original poster
Nov 24, 2018
77
39
Well....given the key isn't working properly, what are you choices?

A) Try fix it yourself, if it doesn't work, proceed to B.
B) Take in for repair
Right I understand that. But, it works 50 to 60% of the time. i.e. it's not a total failure at this point, so I'm leaning on the side of caution for the moment, that's all. If it gets to be a total failure, I might resort to compressed air. I just want to know that it would be safe with this new design.

I've used compressed air a lot, with conventional keyboards. Just not sure if that's a good idea with this new finicky design.
 
Last edited:

Wags

macrumors 65816
Mar 5, 2006
1,109
693
Nebraska, USA
Yes, it feels outrageous that a simple part such as a keyboard key in a $2200 machine can fail so early in its life. (among the other failures - touch bar freezes, random machine shutdowns/restarts)

I actually don't know if the 2018 models are covered by the repair program. I'm hoping to find out here. Does anyone know ?
The 2018’s are not covered by the extended service program just the standard 1 year warranty unless you have AppleCare.
 

FrostyF

macrumors regular
Nov 2, 2018
211
182
Western Canada
Right I understand that. But, it works 50 to 60% of the time. i.e. it's not a total failure at this point, so I'm leaning on the side of caution for the moment, that's all. If it gets to be a total failure, I might resort to compressed air. I just want to know that it would be safe with this new design.

I've used compressed air a lot, with conventional keyboards. Just not sure if that's a good idea with this new finicky design.
It’s the recommended solution as the most common cause of issue is dust/debris getting stuck in the mechanism.
 

Plutonius

macrumors 604
Feb 22, 2003
7,845
5,909
New Hampshire, USA
The 2018’s are not covered by the extended service program just the standard 1 year warranty unless you have AppleCare.
I'm glad that I just bought a 2017 model instead of the 2018 model. Apple has supposedly improved the keyboard in the 2018 models but the 2017 models have a 4 year warranty on the keyboards.

Why mess around with the keyboard if the command key is not working properly. It's under warranty so just bring it in to Apple.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Wags

FrostyF

macrumors regular
Nov 2, 2018
211
182
Western Canada
I'm glad that I just bought a 2017 model instead of the 2018 model. Apple has supposedly improved the keyboard in the 2018 models but the 2017 models have a 4 year warranty on the keyboards.

Why mess around with the keyboard if the command key is not working properly. It's under warranty so just bring it in to Apple.
Because spraying compressed air is a potential 5-second fix; if it doesn't work then you can take it anyway.
 
  • Like
Reactions: SDColorado

SDColorado

Contributor
Nov 6, 2011
4,268
4,213
Highlands Ranch, CO
Then you'll take it in anyway.

Seriously, everyone does this first.

Just another reason why Apple Care+ is becoming a required add-on to the MBP. The more frequently you have to go through those acrobatics to blow air into your keyboard, the more likely a key will eventually pop loose or the machine will be dropped during the one handed 75 degree angle process.

Yes, Apple specifies 75 degrees. Not 70, not 80, but 75. If you don’t hold it precisely at 75 degrees, you may be informed that you are blowing it wrong :)

Surely this should serve as an admission of failure of the design...

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT205662
 
  • Like
Reactions: Diazepam and Wags

FrostyF

macrumors regular
Nov 2, 2018
211
182
Western Canada
Just another reason why Apple Care+ is becoming a required add-on to the MBP. The more frequently you have to go through those acrobatics to blow air into your keyboard, the more likely a key will eventually pop loose or the machine will be dropped during the one handed 75 degree angle process.

Yes, Apple specifies 75 degrees. Not 70, not 80, but 75. If you don’t hold it precisely at 75 degrees, you may be informed that you are blowing it wrong :)

Surely this should serve as an admission of failure of the design...

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT205662
I know you're attempting to be funny but when they're making a recommendation, what terminology do you suggest they use? When anyone provides instructions with degrees, it's because the best results are produced at that angle. Doesn't mean it's not going to work at 70 or 80. I'll go ahead and assume you don't have an engineering background.
 

Wags

macrumors 65816
Mar 5, 2006
1,109
693
Nebraska, USA
The 2018’s are not covered by the extended service program just the standard 1 year warranty unless you have AppleCare.
Just another reason why Apple Care+ is becoming a required add-on to the MBP. The more frequently you have to go through those acrobatics to blow air into your keyboard, the more likely a key will eventually pop loose or the machine will be dropped during the one handed 75 degree angle process.

Yes, Apple specifies 75 degrees. Not 70, not 80, but 75. If you don’t hold it precisely at 75 degrees, you may be informed that you are blowing it wrong :)

Surely this should serve as an admission of failure of the design...

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT205662
Shame that we need to add about 15% to the cost just to be safe. Seems to be more problem. Not sure if technology more fragile, quality or both. Probably both.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Diazepam

Diazepam

Suspended
Original poster
Nov 24, 2018
77
39
Shame that we need to add about 15% to the cost just to be safe
Could not agree more. At this already premium price, the least I expect is no basic failures two months out.

I have a feeling that Apple is using us as guinea pigs to get this "ultra-thin" notebook design ironed out, and hence, it is still quite dysfunctional at this point. Hopefully, 3-4 years down the road, their butterfly will actually start to fly :) It's still crawling out of the cocoon at this point.
[doublepost=1543351385][/doublepost]
The more frequently you have to go through those acrobatics to blow air into your keyboard, the more likely a key will eventually pop loose or the machine will be dropped during the one handed 75 degree angle process.
Thanks for the link to the support page. Yes, for now, I am hesitant to perform that stunt. Will have to see if the key reaches total failure.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Wags