It’s taken far too long by most estimations but Apple has finally admitted that there is a problem with the low-profile butterfly mechanism that it uses in the current MacBook and MacBook Pro lines.
This has been an issue since the 2015 MacBook and 2016 MacBook Pro, and has shown no sign of improving, and now Apple has thankfully started to offer free repairs for those who have machines which are experiencing sticky or stuck keys. However, as always, there are questions to be answered.
While we now know that Apple Stores and Apple Authorized Service Providers will offer free repairs, it seems that there have been a ton of questions surrounding the specifics at play here.
The folks over at MacRumors have been able to collate some additional bits of information and having shared them earlier, have been able to pre-empt many of the questions that we had. The information has come courtesy of sources the publication has been able to speak with and we think they have been able to cover most based.
Some highlights include:
- Apple distributed an internal document on Friday with more information about the service program. It notes that keyboards damaged due to attempted repair by a customer are still eligible for free service under the program. If your MacBook or MacBook Pro has physical top case damage unrelated to the keyboard, it also remains eligible.
- In some cases, the Apple Store may be able to offer on-site service, but expect to wait for at least a few hours.
- It’s still not entirely clear if the replacement keyboards have been slightly revised to address the issues that prompted the service program in the first place. Apple has been fairly communicative with me about this program, but has so far skipped right over this question when asked.
- We do know that Apple has been replacing 2016 MacBook Pro keyboards with the 2017 version, which has slightly different markings on the Control and Option keys, but a Genius we spoke with believes the 2016 and 2017 keyboards are functionally equivalent.
While that may initially offer hope that Apple is replacing defective keyboards with a new design, iFixit’s Kyle Wiens believes that the keyboard has not changed in a few years, so even if a new model is in use, it’s essentially identical to the old one. That’s a real shame, but it would at least appear that keyboards can be replaced more than once under the new program, so there’s that.
- If your MacBook or MacBook Pro experiences keyboard issues after being serviced under the program, Apple says customers can bring their unit back in to be looked at again. This suggests, but doesn’t explicitly state, that the program may be used more than once.
We’ve got a better idea, Apple. Just make the thing less temperamental. You can have that one for free.
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