- Tech YouTuber Dave Lee suggests that anyone interested in buying a MacBook Pro should "hold off" until Apple fixes the issues with its butterfly mechanism keyboards that some are experiencing on their more recent Apple laptops.
- Apple has publicly apologized for the issues, but the company hasn’t indicated that it’s making any sweeping changes to address the problem.
- For the repair, Apple would likely replace the faulty keyboard with the same version of the keyboard that came with your laptop, and the replacement keyboard could become faulty, too.
- If you buy a Mac laptop that comes with a butterfly mechanism keyboard now, you face the risk of getting a faulty keyboard.
Tech YouTuber Dave Lee from his "Dave2D" channel has the best advice if you’re planning on buying a new MacBook Pro — but it’s hard advice that will mean waiting before you buy anything.
In his video, Lee talks about the issues with Apple’s butterfly mechanism keyboards, featured on the 2015-2017 MacBook, the 2018 MacBook Air, and any MacBook Pro first released between 2016 and 2018, in both the 13 and 15-inch models. Those issues include keys that don’t register, or that register as double-strokes.
"My advice is this. If you’re thinking of buying a MacBook Pro right now, I would hold off," Lee said.
That’s dire advice for anyone looking to get a new MacBook Pro anytime soon. But, Lee is kind of right.
Hollis Johnson/Business Insider
The problem with buying a new MacBook Pro right now
While Lee notes that Apple has done well to at least address the issue — going so far as to apologize to users having problems — he spells out his rationale for not buying a new Mac laptop right now:
"The biggest problem is that [Apple] is not actually fixing this problem. They’re not reengineering a keyboard and putting a new problem-free keyboard in here. They’re using the exact same keyboard your laptop shipped with. They’re not even putting the [latest generation] in the older [laptops]."
That is to say that if you experience issues with the butterfly mechanism keyboard in your Mac laptop, there’s no guarantee that a replacement will stop the issues from happening again, resulting in another trip to the Apple store for repair. That’s exactly what happened with me and my 2016 MacBook Pro, which took me two trips to the Apple Store to get the keyboard replaced.
If you want to get a new MacBook Pro right now, you’d have to gauge the risk of receiving a model that comes with a faulty butterfly mechanism keyboard.
It’s absolutely true that not every one of the numerous Mac laptop owners have experienced issues with their butterfly mechanism keyboards. Indeed, Apple says "the vast majority of Mac notebook customers are having a positive experience with the new keyboard."
Still, it’s a worthwhile risk to assess. "A keyboard on a laptop should not fail with this frequency. It’s abnormal, and it’s unfortunate," Lee said in his video.
You’re not signing yourself up for multiple trips to the Apple Store and going several days without your laptop if you buy a new Mac laptop right now. But the risk is there. "I’ve seen a lot of reports on Reddit of people just going through their second, third, fourth repair process," Lee said.
The Apple butterfly keyboard problem is very real
The problem with Apple’s butterfly mechanism is real. Of his four Mac laptops with butterfly mechanism keyboards, Lee said that two of them have exhibited issues.
I have taken my 2016 MacBook Pro to have its keyboard replaced twice by Apple, and I wrote an article almost a year ago to show what it’s like to work on a faulty butterfly keyboard. Almost a year later, The Wall Street Journal published a similar piece.
Apple’s butterfly mechanism keyboards were even cast as "the worst products in Apple history" by prominent Apple blogger John Gruber.
In June 2018, the company initiated a keyboard repair program where affected users can get their keyboards replaced for free. Newer Mac laptops are being added to Apple’s program, as well.
With all this said, if you need a new Mac laptop, you need a new Mac laptop. I could go on and suggest some alternatives that run Windows 10, but if you want a Mac, you don’t want anything else.
But if you are curious about alternatives, I’d check out Lenovo laptops. They have the best keyboards in the business.
Check out Lee’s video:
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