Second-gen Butterfly Keyboard: Sticking Keys or Fixed?

alexjohnson

macrumors member
Original poster
Nov 22, 2010
32
5
My 2015 MacBook is getting it's fourth keyboard replacement from Apple - all covered, but that's another week of backups and not having it. Each time a key or keys go bad. This time it was part of the space bar as well as the tab key. I don't know what it is - I'm not a true touch typist and so wondered if I hit the keys harder than the design gurus in Jony's lab which makes me sound like I type like a chimp...

Anyway I absolutely love the form factor but have had enough so am wondering whether to sell the original as soon as it comes back from Apple (to a gentle touch typist!) and upgrade to a 2017. I was waiting for the Touch bar but I don't think I can wait any more.

Question: has anyone had bad experiences with the second-gen butterfly keyboard, or has that fixed the key-sticking issues many people had with the first-gen? I'd like to know because if it still has issues I might as well just run the one I have. The TechCrunch review has me keen to buy, but that's based on a few days of review use.

Thanks for sharing!
 
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Brookzy

macrumors 601
May 30, 2010
4,747
4,723
UK
They feel way better on the 2017, but a can of compressed air is still essential equipment for me unfortunately, as it was for my 2015, 2016, and 2016 MacBook Pros too. Butterfly mechanism just isn't reliable enough.
 

GoldfishRT

macrumors 6502a
Jul 24, 2014
503
284
Somewhere
Within one month I had sticky keys on my 2016 and I hated it. I brought it in and in June (maybe early July), they replaced it with a 2017 model as an act of good will (I love Apple's customer service) after I expressed interest in the second generation keyboard. I have had that model since and not only have I had no sticky keys the keyboard in general is far more comfortable. I won't say that I think it's great but, while I found the keyboard in 2016 poor, the 2017s has been more than tolerable and I've even grown to like some aspects of it like the sound and footprint of the keys (I still wish it had more travel), and I do seem to continue to make more mistakes on it that on the previous keyboards. However, it is a massive improvement. I wouldn't buy a previous version based on the keyboard alone. The incredible increase in the y series' performance is just icing on the cake. Compared to your 2015 it will be like night and day. While I found the 2016 fine, the 2017 is a serious step up in the usability department and both the keyboard and processor play hugely into that. You get a 14 day return window if you buy from Apple so if you can swing it, it might not be a bad idea to make a trial run with a new one.
 
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Clix Pix

macrumors demi-goddess
I've just gotten a new 2017 MacBook and I definitely notice a difference between it and my previous 2016 one! Keyboard is better and the machine seems more responsive and snappier (of course along with the faster processor/faster SSD some of this is due to the 16 GB RAM, which is one reason I wanted the newer model in the first place). I have only had the machine a few days, so no problems with sticky keys. Didn't experience any on my previous MacBook, either, except once very briefly, and whatever that problem was it went away.
 

tpr007

macrumors regular
Mar 1, 2007
157
30
Hong Kong
The Keyboard (I have the 2016) is the thing that makes me not want another MacBook - i've had keys stick temporarily and it's really annoying. A total design failure.

My next laptop will either be a MacBook Pro or a totally different brand.
 

ZapNZs

macrumors 68020
Jan 23, 2017
2,310
1,150
I can't say that it has been fixed, but no 2017 rMBs have been checked in with bottomed out keys yet, and my own rMB keyboard has the exact same consistency (sound, feedback, travel) as it did the day it was new.

It is still presumably vulnerable to foreign particles, but it seems much less vulnerable to reaching the state where the key no longer has any travel and may or may not work (especially in cases where Users have kept the keyboard very clean, and this happens anyway.) I hated the keyboard on the 2015-6 - I thought I would never buy a rMB for this reason despite liking the overall design. The keyboard design on the 2017 changed my perspective.

Not much can be said about the long-term reliability of the butterfly mechanism of either generation, other than that it appears to have more issues that the mechanism it replaced, and it appears to be more vulnerable to changes in sound/feedback/reliability when exposed to heat.