Though it might not be a permanent fix to the keyboard problem on the latest MacBook models, Apple has heard the cries from owners of its laptops. As a result of the company’s transition to the new butterfly key switches, MacBook and MacBook Pro owners have reported keyboard issues such as sticky and unresponsive keys. As a solution, Apple will now offer free keyboard repairs or replacements for affected laptops, even if they’re out of warranty.
“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 said in a statement to 9to5 Mac.
The repair process can be initiated through Apple or an Apple Authorized Service Provider, and Apple will cover eligible devices for a period of up to four years from the date of purchase. If you’re not near an Apple retail store, you can also mail in your laptop for service. Owners who have previously paid for a keyboard repair will get a refund covering the cost of service.
According to Apple’s support document, the repairs cover the 12-inch Retina MacBook from as early as 2015, the 13-inch MacBook Pro from as early as 2016, and the 15-inch MacBook Pro from as early as 2016. It’s unclear at this time if Apple has implemented any design updates as part of this repair program to prevent similar keyboard problems from surfacing in the future. In the past, an Apple Insider study found that the failure rates for the keyboard were twice as high for MacBook models utilizing the new butterfly switches compared to older models. Additionally, the new butterfly switch keyboards were more likely to require a secondary repair. And because of the complexity of the keyboard design, the repair cost could exceed $ 700 for out of warranty service.
Because of the high failure rates with the new keyboard design, there have been several class-action lawsuits filed against Apple. One of those lawsuits also alleges that Apple doesn’t have a permanent fix for the problem even after Apple repairs the keyboard. Apple may be working on a solution behind the scenes. A recently published patent reveals Apple is experimenting with a crumb-resistant keyboard. MacBook fans are hopeful that Apple will address the keyboard issue when the company announces a hardware refresh for the laptop that will bring newer Intel processors under the hood.