Macbook Pro: Does Apple have a problem with defective keyboards due to dust getting stuck?

Macbook Pro: Does Apple have a problem with defective keyboards due to dust getting stuck?
Macbook Pro: Does Apple have a problem with defective keyboards due to dust getting stuck?
Since 2015, Apple has one by one changed the keyboards on its Mac-products to the new Butterfly-design, a precess accompanied with much interest but also criticism. The new design helped Apple in their pursuit for thinner and thinner products, but now it seems that the new design has a reliability problem: Some users experience problems with dust and dirt getting stuck beneath keys.
Benjamin Herzig,

Keyboards are one of the PC-components that have changed very little for decades. In the last years, the outer design has changed: Chiclet-keys have replaced the Classical beveled keys. But the key-mechanism used in Notebooks is still the same: Scissor switch. This design allows a thinner construction compared with regular desktop keyboards.

In 2015, Apple released a new keyboard-mechanism design. Scissor switch keys still require a certain thickness and the new system that Apple released, the original 12" Macbook, didn´t have the thickness. Thus the Butterfly-key-mechanism was developed. This new key-design is an evolution of Scissor Switch and it allows a much thinner construction. One year later, Apple released new Macbook Pro models with an improved version of the Butterfly-switches, like the Macbook Pro 13 and Macbook Pro 15.

Preferences in keyboards and typing-feel is always subjective, though there is no doubt that the new Macbook-keyboard has a strange feel compared with other keyboards – either you love it or hate it and you have to get used to it. Below is a Notebookcheck video demonstrating the new keyboard in action, with a comparison to the old Macbook-keyboard and a regular desktop keyboard.

But the short travel and the delicate mechanism seems to have another disadvantage: Apparently, the keys are very sensitive towards dirt and dust, the keys tend to get stuck.

One example comes from the journalist Casey Johnston of In her article titled "The new Macbook keyboard is ruining my life - it is so bad", she reports that she had to bring her Macbook Pro three times to the Apples store already. Every time a key was stuck. It seems she isn´t the only one: Apple has a tutorial on his support-site, which describes how affected customers can try to solve the problem by using compressed air. And there are plenty reports of this problem in the Apple support forums.

With scissor switch, the user can carefully remove the key-cap if a similar problem happens. The new Butterfly-keys are so delicate however that they will most certainly break when you try to remove a key. Due to tighter gaps, dirt is less likely to get under the keys. However, if the dirt is in there, its very difficult to remove.

This ties in with another problem: The keyboards are not replaceable without removing the entire top-case, which apparently is a 700 $ replacement.


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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2017 10 > Macbook Pro: Does Apple have a problem with defective keyboards due to dust getting stuck?
Benjamin Herzig, 2017-10-18 (Update: 2017-10-18)
Benjamin Herzig
Benjamin Herzig - Editor
In 2010 I started to get more and more involved with technology, especially notebooks have been my passion ever since. Of course I came across the detailed tests of Notebookcheck very quickly. With time I learned more and more about notebooks and started writing small reviews about notebooks in forums and blog pages. To earn some extra money during my studies I turned my hobby into my profession and joined the team of Notebookcheck in 2016. My personal interest is especially in business notebooks.