MacBook keyboard problems: Now Apple aims for one-day fix for keyboard repairs

Apple plans to fix MacBook keyboard issues in store rather than off-site to cut return times down to one day.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

Apple has escalated its response to complaints about stuck and non-responsive keys on the butterfly-switch keyboard featured in the MacBook and MacBook Pro. 

According to an Apple Store staff memo obtained by MacRumors, the company is implementing a new procedure for repairing MacBook keyboard problems that should cut the time customers need to wait from five days to one day – a move that could help reduce the persistent noise around the laptop's keyboard design. 

The memo starts with an instruction on 'How to support Mac customers with keyboard-related repairs in store', telling Apple Store technicians that keyboard repairs are a top priority and should be fixed within one day. 

Apple is also stocking up on keyboard components to help employees handle the extra workload.   

SEE: Top 20 Apple keyboard shortcuts for business users (free PDF)

"Most keyboard-related repairs will be required to be completed in store until further notice. Additional service parts have been shipped to stores to support the increased volume," Apple said.  

"These repairs should be prioritized to provide next-day turnaround time. When completing the repair, have the appropriate service guide open and carefully follow all repair steps."

The MacBook and MacBook Pro keyboard issues related to its butterfly-switch design have turned into a publicity headache for Apple. The company in March finally apologized to MacBook customers for its persistent keyboard problems, which occur when flecks of dust get stuck under the keys and create an obstacle when typing. 

The dust-jammed keys aren't totally unresponsive but often require a harder press, which can break the rhythm of work and negatively impacts productivity. That's a big problem for anyone who earns money by typing and it didn't occur on Apple's legacy scissor-design keyboard.           

Apple's apology followed a blistering assessment of Apple's new keyboard design by Joanna Stern of the Wall Street Journal who experienced difficulties with with the E and R keys. 

Apple said only a "small number of users are having issues with their third-generation butterfly keyboard", which was its third attempt at resolving an issue caused by its efforts to create thinner laptops. 

The butterfly mechanism replaced the scissor design and created less key travel, or the distance between a key being pressed and that press being recognized. In turn, that change allowed for a slimmer laptop design. 

In any case, the new process for keyboard repairs aims to cut the return time from three-to-five days down to one day. Apple plans to achieve this goal by fixing keyboards at Apple stores rather than by sending them for off-site repairs. 

Apple does have a keyboard service program for MacBook devices made between 2015 and 2017. However, it has not extended it to 2018-made MacBook and MacBook laptops, even though they suffer similar but less severe problems thanks to a silicon layer that protects the key travel from dust, but still leaves it more prone to specks of dirt than the older design. 

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