2015-2019 MacBook & MacBook Pro – Keyboard issues

Applies to:

  • 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)
  • MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2018, Four Thunderbolt 3 Ports)
  • MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2018)
  • MacBook Air (Retina, 13-inch, 2018)
  • MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2019, Four Thunderbolt 3 Ports)
  • MacBook Pro (15-­inch, 2019)

Component affected:

  • Keyboard

Symptoms:

  • Letters or characters repeat unexpectedly
  • Letters or characters do not appear
  • Key(s) feel “sticky” or do not respond in a consistent manner

Apple Repair program:
Started: June 22, 2018
Updated: May 21, 2019
Ended: Program still active
Archived URL: https://web.archive.org/web/20190513022327/https://www.apple.com/support/keyboard-service-program-for-macbook-and-macbook-pro/
Current URL: https://www.apple.com/support/keyboard-service-program-for-mac-notebooks/

UPDATE: On May 21st, 2019, Apple added the following models to be part of this repair program:

The program covers eligible MacBook, MacBook Pro and now also MacBook Air models for 4 years after the first retail sale of the unit.

The Problem:
Dust and debris* can enter the new butterfly mechanism and cause it to jam up or register false key strokes. Apple introduced a ‘new’ butterfly keyboard in 2016 where a thin membrane is placed under each key. This did not fix the issues and they persist until this day (May 2019 at the time of writing). The program does not cover the 2018 MacBook Pro but as it has the exact same keyboard as it’s predecessors, this too will have the same issues at some point.
* This incredibly detailed teardown shows that dust and debris may NOT be the cause for these keyboards to fail. Worth a read!

Repair Program Issues:
Your ‘fixed’ keyboard is identical to the one you handed over. And therefore will experience the same issues down the road. Even if this happens several times and Apple offers you a bran new upgraded Mac, this too will have the same keyboard and thus will have the same issues down the road.

The fix:
Use your Mac in a clean room while wearing a hazmat suit. This may make the keyboard last if dust is indeed responsable. Apart from that, no fix available.

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