Apple today launched a keyboard repair program for MacBook and MacBook Pro models equipped with butterfly keys to address complaints over letters or characters that repeat unexpectedly, letters or characters that do not appear, and keys that feel “sticky” or do not respond in a consistent manner.
According to Apple, a “small percentage” of MacBook and MacBook Pro keyboards from 2015 to 2017 can experience these symptoms.
Apple says that customers can bring an affected MacBook or MacBook Pro into an Apple retail store or to an Apple Authorized Service Provider to receive repairs free of charge, with the type of service to be determined after the keyboard has been examined.
Repairs may include the replacement of one or more keys or the entire keyboard. Eligible MacBook and MacBook Pro models are listed below:
- MacBook (Retina, 12-inch, Early 2015)
- MacBook (Retina, 12-inch, Early 2016)
- MacBook (Retina, 12-inch, 2017)
- MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2016, Two Thunderbolt 3 Ports)
- MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2017, Two Thunderbolt 3 Ports)
- MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2016, Four Thunderbolt 3 Ports)
- MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2017, Four Thunderbolt 3 Ports)
- MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2016)
- MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2017)
No other MacBook or MacBook Pro models are included in the program, but it does cover eligible MacBook and MacBook Pro models for four years after the first retail sale of the unit.
To initiate the repair process, customers should find an Apple Authorized Service Provider, make an appointment at an Apple retail store, or mail the device into an Apple Repair Center after contacting Apple support. Apple says that if the affected MacBook or MacBook Pro has damage that impairs service, the issue will need to be repaired first.
Repair documents for Apple Authorized Service Providers seen by MacRumors suggest Apple will repair MacBook and MacBook Pro regardless of keyboard damage due to attempted keycap repair by the customer or physical top case damage unrelated to the keyboard. Liquid damage and physical keyboard damage unrelated to a keycap repair will require additional work to be paid for by the customer before a keyboard repair can be initiated.
Customers who experienced keyboard problems but were forced to pay out-of-warranty repair fees for their damaged MacBook or MacBook Pro models can contact Apple to inquire about a refund. In some cases, repairs for keyboard issues were priced at upwards of $500.
Apple’s decision to offer a repair program follows increasing customer dissatisfaction with the failure rate of the first and second-generation butterfly keyboards in the 2015 and later MacBook models and the 2016 and later MacBook Pro models.
Customer complaints have suggested that these models experience issues more often than prior keyboards due to the flatter butterfly keys that adopt dome switches for a more responsive feel. The design of these keyboards can cause keys to fail when dust or other small particles get into the keys, leading to the “sticky” and non-responsive keys Apple describes above.
Apple is facing two potential class action lawsuits over the defective keyboards in recent MacBook and MacBook Pro models from customers who were forced to pay high prices for out-of-warranty repairs. Thousands of customers also signed a Change.org petition calling on Apple to fix the keyboard issues that are being addressed with the new repair program.
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