Apple Admits MacBook Keyboard Fail, Offering Repairs and Refunds


In a post made on its Support section today, Apple admitted issues with its MacBook and MacBook Pro keyboards that users have reported for years. To ameliorate the frustration -- which has led to class-action lawsuits -- Apple will service affected keys and keyboards, free of charge, and possibly refund those who paid for previous repair.

Here's the official statement from an Apple spokesperson:

"Today we launched a keyboard service program for our customers that covers a small percentage of keyboards in certain MacBook and MacBook Pro models which may exhibit one or more of the following behaviors: letters or characters that repeat unexpectedly or don’t appear when pressed or keys that feel “sticky” or aren’t responding in a consistent manner. Apple or an Apple Authorized Service Provider will examine the customer’s device to verify eligibility and then perform the service free of charge. Service may involve the replacement of one or more keys or the whole keyboard."

What To Do

Apple instructs those affected to reach out in one of three ways: making an appointment at their local Apple retail store, mailing their unit into the company's repair center or finding a third-party authorized Apple service provider.

If you've been having trouble with typing on your MacBook, first check to see if your MacBook is one of the models Apple is referring to, by clicking the Apple logo in the top left corner and selecting About This Mac. The company lists these, and only these, MacBooks, as the affected models: 

  • 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)

As always, Apple is telling users to back up their data before they come in for service. Expect to possibly go without your MacBook for an unknown period of time, as Apple notes "service turn-around time may vary depending upon the type of service and availability of replacement parts."

Unfortunately, your service may cost you if other damage "impairs the service" and requires other repair(s).

Near the bottom of the announcement, Apple advises those who previously paid to have their keyboards repaired to contact the company to receive a refund.

MORE: Why I'm Ditching My MacBook Pro for the MateBook X Pro

Many blame the Butterfly-style switches inside of the keys of MacBooks for the 'sticky' behavior Apple references. The design of these switches reportedly causes keys to stop working correctly if a mere speck of dust gets inside. 

Data collected shows a failure rate of 11.8 percent for 2016 MacBook Pro keyboards with 165 issues out of 1402 samples.

This story originally appeared on Laptop Mag.

Henry T. Casey
Managing Editor (Entertainment, Streaming)

Henry is a managing editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past seven years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.