- Customers have been having issues with Apple’s butterfly keyboard in the years following the 12-inch MacBook’s launch in 2015.
- The problems emerged in the public eye yet again after Apple recently issued an apology.
- Below is a timeline of the major developments that have occurred in recent years when it comes to Apple’s controversial butterfly keyboard.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories
If you’ve ever noticed that the space bar on your new MacBook Pro doesn’t work, or that certain letter keys don’t respond when pressed, you’re not alone.
In the years since Apple launched its butterfly keyboard on the 12-inch MacBook in 2015, customers have reported various issues — some involving keys that register twice when tapped once, keys that feel stuck, or keys that don’t work at all. The issue was brought to light again in March after the Wall Street Journal published a column about the problem, which prompted an apology from Apple.
Apple has said it’s aware that a small number of users are having issues with the third-generation butterfly keyboard, which can be found on products like the 2018 MacBook Pro and new MacBook Air. The company has also determined that a small percentage of first- and second-generation butterfly keyboards may exhibit similar behavior. These keyboards can be found on devices like the 12-inch MacBook and the MacBook Pros Apple launched in 2016 and 2017.
The newest laptop models fall under Apple’s warranty service, while issues with older versions can be addressed through the company’s Keyboard Service Program. If you’re experiencing any issues with your keyboard, you should contact Apple Support and take your laptop to an Apple Store to be assessed. Depending on the situation, Apple may need to replace individual keys or the entire keyboard. The exact cause behind these issues is unclear, but they could be the result of dirt or debris getting underneath the keyboard.
Apple introduced its butterfly mechanism in 2015, signalling a major redesign of the keyboard meant to accommodate the 12-inch MacBook’s sleek frame. Apple described this butterfly keyboard as being 40% thinner than the traditional scissor mechanism used in older keyboards when it unveiled the device more than four years ago.
Here’s how the problems have unfolded over the last several years.
March 2015 — Apple releases its first MacBook with its butterfly keyboard.
Apple launched its super-slim new laptop, simply called MacBook, in 2015. It famously included just one USB-C port and was the company’s first laptop to come with the new butterfly keyboard.
October 2016 — Apple brings the second-generation butterfly keyboard to the MacBook Pro, and the complaints continue.
Hollis Johnson/Business Insider
Following the launch of Apple’s MacBook Pro in 2016, which saw the debut of the Touch Bar, customers continued to report keyboard problems.
In a Reddit thread from roughly two years ago, MacBook Pro owners posted that certain keys would intermittently get stuck during use. For some users, this impacted alphanumeric keys, while others reported that the space bar was affected.
Similar comments about the 2016 MacBook Pro were also published in Apple’s Communities forums.
October 2017 – The Outline criticizes Apple’s keyboard problems, bringing more attention to the issue.
In a piece titled "The New MacBook Keyboard is Ruining My Life," The Outline’s Casey Johnston described an issue with the spacebar on her MacBook that caused it to register two spaces instead of one when tapped. The piece also delved into how the butterfly mechanism works and reflected her frustration with issue, as she mentioned visiting the Apple Store three times in an attempt to fix the problem.
Meanwhile, customers continued to report faulty keyboards throughout 2017 on Apple’s Communities website and on MacRumors in its forums section, as the website pointed out in February of that year. The problems seemed to echo the previous complaints, with some users saying that certain keys stopped working, and others reporting that a key would register two presses for every one press.
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