back to article Apple reckons mystery new material will debug butterfly keyboard woes in latest MacBook Pros

Apple has such confidence in the new MacBook Pro's reimagined butterfly mechanism that the laptop qualifies from day one for inclusion in its expansive keyboard repair scheme. The mechanism, introduced in 2015, hasn't gone down well with users who complained of frequent failures – missed keystrokes and double presses of keys …

  1. Psycho Flump

    Dear Apple,

    Nothing short of a redesign of your shitty keyboard will persuade me to consider coming back to Apple.


    An ex Mac user of 22 years.

    1. NoneSuch Silver badge

      Would take a hell of a lot more to convince me to bring one home.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Dear Apple

      [You beat me to the "Dear Apple" comment!]

      Dear Apple,

      Please stop wanking off about how thin you can try to make everything, because nobody really cares, and, as many people will tell you, thicker and better engineered often leads to a much more satisfactory and pleasurable experience.

      1. N2

        Re: Dear Apple

        Thin = fucked, there's precious little room for heat dissipation

    3. MrReal

      I was all set to buy the Macbook 12 or the refreshed Airbook 13 that I thought must finally get a 1080p screen.

      Instead little Timmy at Apple decided to remove all of the useful ports, get rid of the nice magsafe, put screens I really didn't need in, add hopeless keyboards with terrible feel and put the price up. And still make SSD prices massively expensive.

      Then they wonder why I didn't buy a new laptop... too bust building gimmick watches and phone no one can afford and that only work tethered to cluckersome iTunes.

  2. Pete ThSplendiferous


    Maybe the new keys won't be as fucking noisey and save more commuters from getting a slap.

    1. PerlyKing

      Re: #mac_clack

      Just how noisy are these keyboards? I commute every day on the Tube and you'd have to be using a Model M with an amplifier to be heard over the din!

      1. BebopWeBop

        Re: #mac_clack

        Commuting on the Tube - where do you get the space to use it? Now the quiet carriage on an Intercity in a reserved seat.....

  3. cb7

    They really ought to test the keyboards in dirty dusty environments for a few months or longer with people working on them while eating lunch etc.

    1. phuzz Silver badge

      You probably get fired if you drop crumbs in the Apple HQ.

  4. Anonymous Coward


    You're typing it wrong

  5. Zilla


    It's hilarious how many people have convinced themselves that the Mac keyboard is actually decent. It's like they've only ever typed on an phone screen before and so find the keyboard novel and marvellous. Meanwhile the professional keyboard nerds who've studied typing will tell you that you need more travel.

    I just recently got treated to a ThinkPad X1E. What a marvelous laptop keyboard. It's far superior to anything Apple have ever put out. It's been unfortunate having to switch to Windows 10 but I can't live with a MacBook keyboard. They will have to redesign it completely.

    1. TheProf

      Re: Blinkered

      "professional keyboard nerds who've studied typing "

      Is that a doctorate degree course?

      1. uccsoundman

        Re: Blinkered

        Much to my surprise being an actual "Touch Typist" is a fairly rare ability these days. At work I complained about an interface that couldn't keep up with my typing. I got precious little sympathy because everybody else was doing a copy/paste for 100's of entries.

        I learned to type in the 10th Grade. Knowing I'd need to type for college, I signed up for the typing class. Turns out that in those days (the dark ages) the typing class was "female only". Men didn't type! They got their secretaries or their girlfriends or their mom to do it for them. I had to get special permission from the administration to join, and my manhood was often questioned (sometimes with a beating) because I was in a "girls class".

        The laugh was on them. I made good money charging $1 a page to type their papers in college.

        1. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

          Re: Blinkered

          10th grade? What year is that in metric?

          For the record I was taught when I was 7-8 years old in an attempt to help my dyslexia.. And having at least 3mm of a travel is a must for me to be happy with a keyboard. I've still got an old powerMac G5 Bluetooth keyboard in the office for this reason and a cherry Mx blue for home (since the noise that makes would make my presence in the office more annoying than usual).

          1. commonsense

            Re: Blinkered

            10th grade? What year is that in metric?

            Year 11. Opposite to shoe sizes.

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Blinkered

      I went to a retro computer fair a few weeks ago, I think the only computer there which didn't have a better keyboard than a present-day iMac/Macbook was the original 48K Spectrum.

      1. defiler

        Re: Blinkered

        If it was Play Expo, they also had a Philips G7000 (Magnavox Odyssey 2) there. Surely they can't be as bad as the keyboard on that thing?

        SpecNext was decent though - very usable keyboard for its size.

      2. MrReal

        Re: Blinkered

        The Spectrum's still wins if there is any sand around.

        1. m0rt

          Re: Blinkered

          But not if you are playng Daly Thompson's Decathlon.

          1. Dan 55 Silver badge

            Re: Blinkered

            I don't think a Mac keyboard could manage Daley Thompson's Zimmer Frame.

    3. MrReal

      Re: Blinkered

      I had a type of the Raspberry Pi's keyboard from their starter kit the other day.

      SO much nicer than the new Apple keyboards.

    4. Vince

      Re: Blinkered

      Funny because I've been typing for many years and I really like the design of the keyboard on the 12" MacBook (mine is thus the first generation butterfly) - I've had zero keyboard faults, and it's by far the keyboard I can type best on.

      I've also got a 2018 Macbook Pro (15") which is 3rd gen butterfly I believe. It's not quite as nice - primarily because the keys are further apart on that larger device, but I still don't have any real issues.

      The travel is a matter of preference, and I really don't experience the trauma that others do. Perhaps I'm more adaptable to different keyboards as a "professional keyboard nerd" that has to use lots of different computers in my day to day work... who knows.

      Whilst it is clear there is a vocal minority that don't like these keyboards, Apple still sells several million laptops a quarter so it doesn't appear to be hurting sales that much.

      Now if there is a keyboard to bitch about, that has to be the "magic keyboard" Apple sells - it is garbage. Why don't more people bitch about that??!

  6. Dan 55 Silver badge

    For an alternative view let's see what Louis Rossmann thinks...

    It's not pretty.

    At all...

    1. Mystic Megabyte

      Re: For an alternative view let's see what Louis Rossmann thinks...

      LOL, I wondered how soon Louis would show up.

    2. BebopWeBop

      Re: For an alternative view let's see what Louis Rossmann thinks...

      He doesn't like it does he - I just get the mere hint of despair.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Apple sorting out "keyboard woes" ... have they decided to adhere to ISO standards and put the '"' and '@' keys where they are meant to be on UK keyboards? "Experienced" Apple for the first time recently in a new job where they've given me a MacBook Pro instead of a Windows laptop like what I've had everywhere else I've worked .... took about 5 secs of the "setting up your new machine" session with IT before I spotted that they keyboard was wrong ... at least I had a seperate USB keyboard that I'd be using for most of the time ... except that despite telling OSX that it was a "British PC" keyboard it still got the '`' and '\' keys the wrong way round and I had to go to the effort of downloading 3rd party software (Karabiner) to sort this out. Though I've still not managed to work out how to get it to open my "standard" apps (email, browser, vnc session etc) on the same sceen each time I start up or even to keep the 2 additional monitors I use in the same "position" relative to the laptop sceen and don't get me started on having to click on windows to get focus (ok, I know windows does this by default but a quick registry edit fixes that .... with OSX is definitely a case of "our using your mouse wrong") I'd always had the opinion that I chose to avoid Apple products because they were too expensive .... I now realize that it should be "they are crap and too expensive".

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The "standard" UK keymap is a complete fucking mess, with many of the symbols needlessly moved to utterly stupid and illogical places. Whoever came up with it should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves. (And, sadly, many other national keyboard layouts are just as bad, if not worse ('Allo, AZERTY!))

      I actually quite like that Apple tried to unfuck the worst of it (although they lose as many, if not more, points for that stupid "section symbol" key).

      To be a happy programmer, just order a US keyboard, define a 'compose' key, and then everything works just beautifully.

      1. Korev Silver badge

        But then you have the horrid US enter key...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          You shurely mean: that nice wide finger-friendly US enter key, as opposed to that nasty and thin (on some laptop keyboard designs, genuinely almost unusably so) waffer-thin [sic] vertical Tetris block on "international' keyboards? ;-)

          (And you get a proper left shift key, too, instead of the useless runt squeezed out after the extra symbol key has barged its way in, although at least some other laptop manufacturers are starting to see sense/usability now and provide proper shift keys on both sides, with the extra symbol key moved elsewhere (remember: with a sensible keyboard layout, pipe and backslash are on a key next to the square/curly bracket keys, (literally) very handy for programmers.))

        2. N2

          But then you have the horrid US enter key...

          That the one with the rubber gloves in the special room at border control?

      2. schplazingo

        Sure, Apple did such a good job of "unfucking" the ISO standard UK keyboard layout that on my MacBook Air they, er, entirely forgot about the # symbol. Because who (apart from programmers, report writers, proof readers and social media users) would ever need to use the # symbol?

        1. DrBobK

          Isn't it option-3? I got used to that pretty quickly, but not the general horribleness of apple keyboards. I've just ordered a DAS mechanical keyboard to use in the office with my MacBook Pro.

        2. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

          You can just remap the keyboard to a different layout.

          Mines currently set to 'British PC' since otherwise moving from one to the other would bugger everything up what with muscle memory from touch typing (I also have an AZERTY keyboard layout on my home keyboard since it was a tenth the price of the qwerty layout. Again iso layout muscle memory means it's no problem at all)

      3. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Sure, let's argue about placement of symbols on the keyboard instead of arguing about having a keyboard which actually works.

        How many years are we into this experiment? Can't Apple just swallow their pride and go back to the pre-2015 design or whenever it was instead of sticking more of Sir Jony's juice on it every year?

  8. big_D Silver badge

    Week repairs

    That always amazes me with Apple, you pay a superior price for inferior support.

    With the iPhone, if it goes wrong, I contact the carrier, they collect the phone, ship it off to an Apple repair facility and a week later, I get the phone back. If an Android phone craps out, I contact the carrier, they collect the phone and drop off a replacement at the same time... But Apple won't let them replace defective phones, so our iPhone users go a week without being able to stay in contact, whilst our Android users lose a maximum of 1 day.

    The same with laptops, for less than the price of a MacBook Pro, we get next day, onsite support thrown in with our laptops, whereas the Macs have to be sent back to the repair center for a week. If the Windows devices go down, they are repaired or replaced (if the fix can't be done on site) next day.

    1. Bogle

      Re: Week repairs

      And price is an issue. Maxed out spec on the new 15" MacBook Pro is 6,074 UKP. You have to be kidding, what's the middling spec comes in at 3,599 UKP.

      This. Is. Ridiculous.

      1. Sean J

        Re: Week repairs

        Whats a UKP??? An "i" less UKIP?

    2. Sean J

      Re: Week repairs

      Really? Sounds more like a problem with your carrier... I had an issue with my original iPhone 5, popped into an Apple store, 5 mins later I was leaving with a brand new replacement that they gave me.

      Bought my first MacBook in 2006 - the last of the 'Black Mac's. Then in 2009 disaster struck and the hard-drive failed, so took it to an Apple Store. Cost £120 to replace and told me it would take 48 hours, when I said I needed it for dj'ing, they turned it around in 24 hours. In 2010 when Apple announced they'd identified a faulty batch of hard-drives from Hitachi I automatically got a refund of the £120 fee.

      Never had better service from any company or organisation.

      1. big_D Silver badge

        Re: Week repairs

        There aren't any Apple Stores in the area. I think the next one is 3 - 5 hour drive away. Which is an improvement, when I got my first iPhone, I would have had to drive 600KM, pass through 5 countries and take a 4 hour ferry journey to get to the nearest Apple Store.

        There is the option of paying for Apple Care, which will give you the same swap-out service that all the other manufacturers provide for free.

  9. DontFeedTheTrolls

    "Last month, Apple vowed to speed up repairs, which it reiterated again this week, promising to reduce the week-long wait to days"

    Yes, returned to you in seven days.

  10. TVU

    Apple reckons mystery new material will debug butterfly keyboard woes

    ^ How about a much better and more resilient keyboard design in the first place?

  11. BGatez

    Apple continues to be a bad world citizen

    Apple leading the "thin and bee-yoo-tiful" BS charge continues it's march to maximize early obsolescence for maximum profits. Facing the imminent failure of the BT Airpod v1 batteries, they released v2. The improvement? Same battery with a serviceability rating of 0, zippo, zed, nada, out of 10. So cheaply made of glued together bits that most recyclers won't accept them because it's so difficult just to get the battery out (which MUST be done due to fire hazard while recycling). Way to go you great big multi- billion $ pal.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A small number of users...

    I'm waiting for Apple to issue their "small number of users excuse"...

    "It has come to our attention that A SMALL NUMBER OF USERS have experienced problems with the 2019 butterfly keyboards. Apple engineers have identified that in A SMALL NUMBER OF CASES the keyboard does not behave as expected. In most cases cleaning the keyboard with Apples recommended approach will normally resolve the issue. But in the VERY VERY VERY VERY VERY SMALL NUMBER OF CASES that it doesn't, we recommend you book a Genius Bar appointment for assistance.

  13. TTY


    I can't quite see how a material change can fix a design flaw. Maybe nylon is cheaper?!

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