How to use MacBook Pro 2018 keyboard?

travelsheep

macrumors 6502
Original poster
May 30, 2013
493
513
I've had my new MacBook Pro 2018 13-inch for a month now. I've already written a few texts (e.g. an essay for university, longish blog posts etc). I don't mind the new keyboard, it actually feels quite responsive. I try to type softly. I only use the effort really needed (especially at university during lectures my MacBook types louder than everyone else's laptop, it's kind of embarrassing).

My problem: I get really painful finger joints (first joint in fingers). I used computers for 20+ years and Apple MacBooks for the last 10 years. I never had this problem before. I am almost afraid to type something, because the pain increases every day with usage of the keyboard.

How do you type? Any a special technique I didn't figure out yet?
 

Chancha

macrumors 6502a
Mar 19, 2014
919
790
Seriously, you need to consider selling your MBP and use something else. Typing uncomfortably is one thing, but to the point of inducing pain means the action is doing real damage to your muscle / tendons. I do not think adjusting your type style to accommodate is sensible or even possible, the lack of travel on these keyboard is a pretty real physical change on their part, if your 20 years of muscle memory calls for that much key travel then you need that travel.

Pretty much all modern Macs are equipped with these stupid Butterfly switches now, with the MBA seemingly giving off the highest level of comfort / feel of having travel / less of a hard rebound. But still I think you should avoid all the butterflies, go back to a 2015 MBP or even a 2017 MBA... Or even a Windows laptop, like 99.9% of them have legit keys.
 

Queen6

macrumors 604
New keyboard is designed to allow Apple to offer a "thinner" chassis nothing more, nothing less. If such extremely short throw keyboards were ergonomically beneficial professional typists would have been using them for years, they don't and for very good reason.

One of my tertiary notebook's is a 2015 rMB, I have come to loath it's piss poor keyboard, even Microsoft's Type Cover is a vast improvement. Apple's Butterfly keyboard is categorically the worst keyboard I have ever had the displeasure of using in over 30 years - garbage pure and simple, followed up with epic sales & marketing BS.

If you need to type extensively look to a brand that is recognised for superior keyboards such as ThinkPad, Apple only offers slick toys with questionable reliability and usability. Tim & Co have forgotten that people actually need to get work done, not just lovingly stare at Apple's latest & greatest over their Caramel Brulée Latte, Peppermint Mocha and Toasted White Chocolate Mocha :mad::mad::mad:

Q-6
 

jerryk

macrumors 601
Nov 3, 2011
4,841
2,397
SF Bay Area
Maybe you are hitting the keyboard too hard because you are used to keyboards with longer travel. I know it took a while for me to adjust and not press too hard on the keyboard.
 
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Falhófnir

macrumors 68040
Aug 19, 2017
3,460
3,854
Yeah I’d pretty much echo what the others have said - if you do any serious amount of typing these keyboards aren’t a good design. I would say they had people who do moderate bursts of typing in mind when designing it, and for that it’s certainly serviceable. Unfortunately for more extensive typing sessions there’s just no way around the fact they have too little give. Dampening is pretty much what little the new silicon membrane might give, while the propensity to break at the slightest hint of dust or debris is probably a mental health risk and all tbh ;) at the end of the day a good design would be one you didn’t have to adjust to or work around.
 

mmjj

macrumors newbie
Nov 19, 2018
5
3
I use a 2017 MBP as a home machine connected to large monitors. (I would have preferred a tower if Apple would make one.) So I use a Querkywriter keyboard, which has a mechanical feel. I don't use the touchbar since it's so far away. Since I don't use the MBP's built-in keyboard, I put a protective cover over it to keep dust out.

When I travel I bring my 2012 Macbook Air. I just bought my wife a 2015 MBP Retina, which (as far as I know) is the newest one I can get before they switched to the current style keyboards. She's been reluctant to move away from her white plastic MacBook because she hates the new keyboards even more than I do.
 
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Velin

macrumors 65816
Jul 23, 2008
1,471
908
Hearst Castle
Dump it. Most Apple products are excellent; the "butterfly" keyboard is not. It is a total and complete disaster, including design, implementation, user benefits (none) and repair. If it's causing you pain, and I can see why it would given zero travel and nonexistent cushion, avoid the Macbook line. It's not going to get better, nor is the design going to improve. Only when Apple finally moves on from this atrocious keyboard should you return to the Macbook fold.

The butterjoke keyboard is one of the worst decisions Apple has ever made in the mobile/Macbook division of their business.
 

1096bimu

macrumors 6502
Nov 7, 2017
319
286
I've had my new MacBook Pro 2018 13-inch for a month now. I've already written a few texts (e.g. an essay for university, longish blog posts etc). I don't mind the new keyboard, it actually feels quite responsive. I try to type softly. I only use the effort really needed (especially at university during lectures my MacBook types louder than everyone else's laptop, it's kind of embarrassing).

My problem: I get really painful finger joints (first joint in fingers). I used computers for 20+ years and Apple MacBooks for the last 10 years. I never had this problem before. I am almost afraid to type something, because the pain increases every day with usage of the keyboard.

How do you type? Any a special technique I didn't figure out yet?
Here's a tip, don't type necessarily hard such that it hurt your fingers. type just hard enough to activate the keys.
Pressing it any harder doesn't help anything.
 

Velin

macrumors 65816
Jul 23, 2008
1,471
908
Hearst Castle
You can buy the Apple Magic Keyboard and the Magic Trackpad. Use those when at desk.
It's not a "bad" suggestion. But this is $1500 self-contained mobile computer. No one should have to buy a keyboard and trackpad to operate a laptop. Nor should people have to relearn to type, or press keys more softly, or do anything at all to accomodate Apple's atrocious keyboard design. There's only one correct answer: zero out this stupid buttercrap keyboard. It sucks horribly. And everyone knows it sucks.
 

cfdlab

macrumors regular
Feb 26, 2008
117
151
If you had no problem with the old keyboards but get pain with the new ones, then it is the keyboard that has the problem, not your typing.

I have bought a magic keyboard/mouse because it is so much nicer experience than having to use the mbp keyboard. Sad really, because the mbp was almost perfect for many people until 2015. Now it so prone to multiple disasters that we will have to invent a good name for this. Any suggestions ?
 

kasakka

macrumors 68020
Oct 25, 2008
2,064
735
I would go with an external keyboard or a different laptop. The issue with the new keyboard is the lack of travel. Try tapping your finger on a table and then do that same thing on your thigh. The table is rigid while your thigh flesh has give to it. This is similar to the new vs old Macbook Pro keyboard. With the new one you bottom out (keycap hits the plate underneath) almost instantly whereas on the old one it would get cushioned by the rubber membrane underneath. Bottoming out is what makes your fingers hurt.

My solution is to slap a 60% size mechanical keyboard on top of the MBP and disable the built-in keyboard with Karabiner Elements when the mechanical one is connected via USB. The mechanical keyboard has tactile switches which have a bump to indicate when they activate so you type on them without bottoming out. Mechanical keyboard switches also come with different weight springs which can help avoid bottoming out.
 

BigMcGuire

Contributor
Jan 10, 2012
4,615
5,664
California
Interesting responses. I'm a mechanical keyboard lover and am known to destroy keyboards because I've been a 186wpm+ typist since high school (mavis beacon - nothing official). Keyboard technology has slowly taken a turn for the worse over the last 5+ years. I still keep around some mechanical (cherry switch) made in USA keyboards but I end up annoying my wife and my neighbors if I use it (yes).

I really liked my MBA 11' 2015 keyboard. That thing was a champ. Wasn't terribly happy when I got my 2017 MBP 13' keyboard but... have learned to use it and like it. Since I work all day at a Windows computer, I find it difficult to adapt to completely when I go home to my MBP, but I've gotten to the point that I can type out 5+ pages of text (I do this several times a week) on my MBP if I need to.

Basically you have to retrain your finger muscles not to press as far with keypresses that you normally do with other keyboards (to get that bounce back) - then you can really fly - but it takes a bit of effort to get used to it and a lot of muscle retraining. Once you do, you'll find that you can type a lot with very little effort. Accuracy suffers a little but you can really fly on these things.

Took me a month to get used to my keyboard. 6 months of ownership now and I can use it with no problems.

I got this for my windows development laptop: https://www.amazon.com/Anker-Wireless-Keyboard-Windows-Portable/dp/B07886CMRV/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1543338684&sr=8-3&keywords=anker+keyboard --- very MacBook 2017 like - has helped me adapt better to my MBP keyboard. (Not a huge fan but it helps me type on my MBP at the end of the day).

And yes, my favorite keyboard to use with my MBP? https://www.amazon.com/Anker-Wireless-Bluetooth-Keyboard-Rechargeable/dp/B00PIMKN1Q/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1543338738&sr=8-3&keywords=anker+bluetooth+keyboard ---- I've typed out many thousands of pages of text with this keyboard and I love it. Used it for many many years (with my Mac Mini and MBA).

[doublepost=1543339218][/doublepost]Things that help? Put 3-4 pages of folded newspapers under the Anker keyboard to give it more of a springy feeling when typing. That helps me a lot with finger pain when using these "short throw" keyboards. Get a desk mat that is springy. Really helps. The Anker keyboard/mouse combo definitely needs something soft under it or it just hurts. I think that's where most people are getting their pain, typing too hard on these - just like tapping on your desk with no pushback of normal keyboards.
 
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FrostyF

macrumors regular
Nov 2, 2018
211
182
Western Canada
New keyboard is designed to allow Apple to offer a "thinner" chassis nothing more, nothing less. If such extremely short throw keyboards were ergonomically beneficial professional typists would have been using them for years, they don't and for very good reason.
The funny part is they put this keyboard in the new Air, which is thicker than the MBP at its thickest point, and also thicker than the previous generation Air with "large" keyboard at its thinnest point.
 

alecgold

macrumors 65816
Oct 11, 2007
1,100
546
NLD
Funny thing is I used a big old switched keyboard a few weeks a go. I needed to type some serious text and wanted to test it. I got pain in my fingertips and first joints. Not the screaming pain-sort but an aching annoying and distracting from my work.
And I officially learned to type on old school mechanical type writers. The trusty old “Erica”. Well, trusty... You almost needed a hammer and chisel to get something on the paper.
But it seems I’ve evolved with the keyboards and I prefer to just barely hit the keyboard. I like some feedback, typing on glass is still awful, but I don’t mind very shallow keys.

So, OP, perhaps you need your fingers to adjust to the new (lack of) depth, perhaps you’re not hitting them that hard, but you’re still trying to make longer strokes.
Or perhaps your fingers just don’t like these keyboards.
 

travelsheep

macrumors 6502
Original poster
May 30, 2013
493
513
Good tipps, especially on the Anker keyboards. I have a magic keyboard from 2012... in the basement of my parents house somewhere. Maybe I'll try the Anker.

Which makes me think Apple should release a MacMini with battery, finally remove almost everything. Bring your own keyboard and screen type of "laptop". Actually, thinking about it, the MacMini already is a machine like that, just need to bring an Anker 20,000mAh power brick, an Asus panel, Magic Trackpad and an Anker keyboard.
 
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SDColorado

Contributor
Nov 6, 2011
4,265
4,207
Highlands Ranch, CO
You can buy the Apple Magic Keyboard and the Magic Trackpad. Use those when at desk.
That's more or less the path my wife chose, though she prefers a mouse to the magic trackpad and went with a logitech mx anywhere 25

Now it so prone to multiple disasters that we will have to invent a good name for this. Any suggestions ?
Macpocalypse?
 
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Pangalactic

macrumors 6502
Nov 28, 2016
368
605
I've had my new MacBook Pro 2018 13-inch for a month now. I've already written a few texts (e.g. an essay for university, longish blog posts etc). I don't mind the new keyboard, it actually feels quite responsive. I try to type softly. I only use the effort really needed (especially at university during lectures my MacBook types louder than everyone else's laptop, it's kind of embarrassing).

My problem: I get really painful finger joints (first joint in fingers). I used computers for 20+ years and Apple MacBooks for the last 10 years. I never had this problem before. I am almost afraid to type something, because the pain increases every day with usage of the keyboard.

How do you type? Any a special technique I didn't figure out yet?
I've moved to Surface Book 2 13'' and I definitely prefer its keyboard, its one of the best keyboards I've ever had and I can type on this all day long. However, I used to have a 13'' MBP before and also quite enjoyed typing on it (probably since I generally have an inclination for short travel keyboards, typing on a mechanical one is really tiresome for me).

Tips:

1) Take regular breaks when typing. the MBP seems to be more designed for short burst typing than longer typing sessions since there is very little cushioning, so take a break every 5 min or so - stretch your fingers, etc.

2) Try to find the lightest force with which you can type and practice it. You will probably have to slow down in order to do this, but it will definitely feel a lot better. Then start speeding up.

A good test: you can actually be pretty quiet with the MBP. Listen to the typing volume and try to bring it down.

3) This one is a little weird, but may help you: on a regular keyboard, if you press a key, the power sort of comes from the joint that connects your finger to the hand. On the butterfly keyboards, you can get away with a lot less force, and just use the fingertips. I can't describe it properly, but try focusing on just touching the keys with the fingertips.

And finally you can always sell it :D


Edit: also, you might look into dictation! Not the most mainstream option, but it works pretty well with Google dictate (or whatever that is called) or Nuance Dragon Dictation. One of my favorite authors Terry Pratchett actually said in one of his later interviews that once he discovered the dictation software, he really didn't want to go back to regular typing.
 
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VMMan

macrumors 6502a
Mar 29, 2009
766
230
Try placing a TPU keyboard protector over the keyboard. It may mute the feeling a bit but also provides more cushioned tactile feedback.
 

rdubmu

macrumors member
Apr 17, 2012
38
10
Sell it and get an x1 carbon by Lenovo. It simply has the best keyboard. Costco has x1 carbon with 512 gigs and 16 gigs of ram. i7 core 8gen intel.

The thinkpad keyboard on the x1 has great key travel. You could use Linux on it instead of windows 10. Windows 10 has come a long way and great for productivity.
 

Fishrrman

macrumors P6
Feb 20, 2009
17,170
5,526
If the keyboard is painful for you to type on, I'd say your choices are:
1. Get an external keyboard for long typing sessions
2. Get a DIFFERENT laptop (MacBook Pro 2015 design with the old-style keyboard).

I would not recommend extended typing on it if it's actually causing you pain. You could end up with repetitive stress injuries.

For someone who does lots and LOTS of typing, you might consider one of the Unicomp mechanical keyboards (like the old IBM boards). A friend has one and it's very comfortable...
 

BigMcGuire

Contributor
Jan 10, 2012
4,615
5,664
California
If the keyboard is painful for you to type on, I'd say your choices are:
1. Get an external keyboard for long typing sessions
2. Get a DIFFERENT laptop (MacBook Pro 2015 design with the old-style keyboard).

I would not recommend extended typing on it if it's actually causing you pain. You could end up with repetitive stress injuries.

For someone who does lots and LOTS of typing, you might consider one of the Unicomp mechanical keyboards (like the old IBM boards). A friend has one and it's very comfortable...

I own two of these - great keyboards. They are loud, but they are great mechanical keyboards. Made in USA too!