Apple designed a thinner keyboard but it went wrong: it became its worst headache

Manzana he was wrong with his keyboard “butterfly”first introduced in the 12-inch MacBook laptop in 2015 and later used in the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air.

The butterfly keyboard is often presented as the low point of Apple’s preference for emphasize form over function, Since it was designed specifically shaped to allow for slimmer laptops.

But in doing so, Apple reduced key travel to a scant 1mmwhich many found unpleasant under their fingers, and the keyboard was significantly louder to type compared to previous MacBook models or other laptops.

But those were just the tip of the iceberg for butterfly keyboard. Once this keyboard appeared in the macbook pro redesigned in 2016, it didn’t take long for the owners to to complain of the stuck keys that they were not working at all or what they wrote two letters at once.

In typical Apple fashion, the company’s initial response was to deny the problem and instructed owners to use compressed air to remove any dust or debris that could be causing the keys to stick.

Those who took their computers to a technical servicethey often met expensive repair bills and long wait times, since the only way to “fix” the keyboard was replace it completely.

The 2018 model of the MacBook Air was one of those affected by the problem.

apple released four generations of butterfly keyboardeach slightly modified to try to improve reliability, and in 2018 introduced an extended warranty program that provided four years of repair coverage from the date of purchase.

In late 2019, Apple released a new 16-inch MacBook Pro which went back to the scissor switch design which has longer key travel, less noise and better reliability.

The crumbs the heat, the enemies of Apple’s butterfly keyboard

Apple’s butterfly keyboards were highly controversial and singled out as one of the worst design decisions from the company due to its tendency to fail due to small particles such as crumbs or heat issues.

All butterfly keyboards in the models MacBook Pro, MacBook, and MacBook Air introduced between 2016 and 2019 (and 2015 in the case of the MacBook) have butterfly keys that could fail.

In 2019, Apple began phasing out the butterfly keyboard and as of May 2020, it is no longer used on the new MacBook Air and MacBook Pro models.

However, older machines will continue to experience problems as they cannot be upgraded with the new scissor switch mechanisms. .

What was the problem with Apple’s butterfly keyboard?

Butterfly keys use a butterfly mechanism which is different from the scissor mechanism used in traditional keyboards.

It is called a butterfly mechanism because the components below the key resemble the wings of a butterflywith a hinge in the center instead of overlapping like a pair of scissors.

Apple switched to a butterfly mechanism to make a slimmer keyboardwhich is possible because each key moves less when pressed, so less space is needed.

The keyboard provides satisfactory amount of travel and stability when each key is pressed, but unfortunately, the thin butterfly mechanism can get clogged with crumbs, dust, and other particles.

This results in keys not being pressed correctlykeys that jump or repeat letters.

Keyboard failure is a problem on Apple laptops because replacing the keyboard requires remove the entire upper computer assemblywhich is not a cheap repair.

The MacBook Pro series was the most affected by the problem.

The MacBook Pro series was the most affected by the problem.

Which Mac computers were affected by the butterfly keyboard?

All MacBook models have the potential to experience keyboard issues because the MacBook 2015 it was the first machine to have a butterfly keyboard.

All 15-inch MacBook Pro models and 2016, 2017 and 2018 are vulnerable to failure despite some generational changes that Apple made on the keyboard with different models.

Apple’s 2018 MacBook Air uses the same butterfly keyboard that’s on the MacBook Pro, which was also the subject of some glitch complaints on Apple forums. Reddit and Mac Rumors.

According to Apple, only a “small percentage” of Mac users have experienced problems with the butterfly keyboard.

However, anecdotal claims and great visibility of the problem gave rise to the public perception that most butterfly keyboards fail.

This is not true, as some people have keyboards that work fine, but any Mac with a butterfly keyboard has the potential to experience problems.

What did Apple do about the butterfly keyboard problem?

In June 2018, Apple released a keyboard repair program for MacBook and MacBook Pro models equipped with butterfly keyboards.

In May 2019, the program was expanded to cover all MacBook, MacBook Pro, and MacBook Air machines equipped with a butterfly keyboard, including the new 2019 models. The models are as follows:

  • MacBook (Retina, 12-inch, Early 2015)
  • MacBook (Retina, 12-inch, Early 2016)
  • MacBook (Retina, 12-inch, 2017)
  • MacBook Air (Retina, 13-inch, 2018)
  • 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 Pro (13-inch, 2019, four Thunderbolt 3 ports)
  • MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2019)

customers with eligible machines from 2015 to 2019 Keyboard problems can visit an Apple Retail Store or Apple Authorized Service Provider for repairs free of charge.

The repair program is a big deal, because before it started, some customers had to pay more than 500 dollars in fees to repair your MacBook and MacBook Pro models.

All MacBook, MacBook Pro, and MacBook Air models are covered for four years from the date of purchase, so 2019 machines are covered through 2023. Some machines are no longer covered by the program and do not have keyboards that Apple replaces.

Apple had to pay 50 million dollars in a trial for these keyboards.

Apple had to pay 50 million dollars in a trial for these keyboards.

What about the 2018 MacBook Pro and MacBook Air models?

Apple introduced in 2018 the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro models that use a Updated 3rd generation butterfly keyboard.

The third generation butterfly keyboard has a thin silicone barrier behind each key, which was placed as a safety measure to prevent dust from entering the keys.

There was hope after the release of the third-generation butterfly keyboard that it would reduce glitches, but as a report in The Wall Street Journal noted, the MacBook Pro-2018 still prone to keyboard issues.

Apple apologized in a statement, but did not describe specific repair options no future plans for the keyboard.

2018 machines with updated butterfly keyboards may fail less often.

However, 2018 MacBook Pro and MacBook Air owners have still reported issues, so these models should be avoided if you plan to buy an older machine.

What about the 2019 MacBook Pro models?

In May 2019, Apple introduced new MacBook Pro models with additional improvements on the 3rd generation butterfly keyboard.

The MacBook Pro-2019 have keyboards built with a new material that, according to Apple, significantly reduced keyboard crashes that users observed.

Apple did not provide specific details about the material change in the updated butterfly keyboard. According to the specialized media iFixit, Apple made membrane changes that covers the keyboard switches.

The membrane was lighter and softer to the touch and appeared to be made of polyacetylene. There were also subtle changes to the metal dome above each keyswitch, perhaps designed to alleviate durability, bounce, or other issues.

According to Apple, 2018 MacBook Pro and MacBook Air machines experiencing keyboard glitches will be able to upgrade with this new upgraded 3rd generation butterfly keyboard.

The older machines Those who don’t use the 3rd generation butterfly keyboard won’t be able to upgrade to 2019 technology, but even this newer technology is prone to crashing on occasion.

Thanks to the butterfly keyboard, Apple offered slimmer laptops.

Thanks to the butterfly keyboard, Apple offered slimmer laptops.

A costly design error

In July 2022, Apple agreed pay 50 million dollars to settle a class action lawsuit by customers who claimed they knew and concealed that the butterfly keyboards on their MacBook laptops were prone to failure.

The proposed preliminary settlement was filed in federal court in San Jose, California, and requires a judge’s approval.

Customers stated that MacBook, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro keyboards had sticky keys and that they were unresponsive, and that small amounts of dust or debris could make writing difficult.

They also said that Apple’s service program was inadequate because the Cupertino, California-based company often provided replacement keyboards with the same problems.

The settlement covers customers who purchased MacBook, MacBook Air, and most MacBook Pro models between 2015 and 2019 in seven US states: California, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, and Washington.

Clients’ attorneys await maximum payments of $395 for people who replaced multiple keyboards, $125 for people who replaced one keyboard, and $50 for people who replaced keycaps.

Customers also remain eligible for four years of free repairs keyboard after your purchases.

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