Even Apple’s new MacBook Air (2019) and 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar (2019) models are included in the tech giant’s free keyboard repair program, according to an internal staff memo obtained by 9to5Mac.
The new laptops are also listed as part of Apple’s repair program on the company’s website.
This means that all of Apple’s Butterfly keyboard-equipped MacBooks, including the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and the most recently released 4th-generation take on the key mechanism, are part of the company’s keyboard replacement program.
Apple first launched its free keyboard replacement program back in June following users experiencing issues related to the low-key travel Butterfly mechanism, with specific keys sometimes either getting stuck or becoming unresponsive. Repairs often involve either replacing multiple keys or the entire keyboard.
I recently got my MacBook Pro (2017) equipped with a 2nd-gen Butterfly keyboard repaired at an Apple Store after experiencing issues with the keyboard for months. While I can’t confirm this is the case, it feels like Apple replaced the keyboard with the softer, silicon-covered 3rd-gen keyboard. The repair took roughly two days to complete.
Apple has released multiple versions of the Butterfly keyboard over the last few years. The 3rd-generation Butterfly mechanism featured a silicon cover that resulted in softer key presses, but also likely better protected the keycaps from debris and damage.
The most recently released 4th-generation take on the Butterfly mechanism is featured in Apple’s 2019 MacBook Pro released back in May. This version of the Butterfly keyboard features stronger key caps among other minor changes, according to a recent iFixit teardown. Given that even this MacBook Pro is included in the repair program, it seems Apple’s latest key revision hasn’t solved the Butterfly keyboard’s reliability issues.
There are also rumours circulating that Apple plans to ditch the Butterfly mechanism altogether in favour of a more traditional scissor switch. Given the Air and Pro have just been refreshed, likely, this new keyboard won’t make its way into Apple’s laptops until at least 2020.
Further, Apple has officially stopped selling the 12-inch MacBook, older MacBook Air and the MacBook Pro without a Touch Bar.