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DrMacintosh

2016 MacBook Pro Keyboards failing 2x more than older models

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Posted · Original PosterOP
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Apple launched its new butterfly key-switch keyboard with the MacBook, with some usability complaints starting nearly immediately, but it wasn't until its adoption in the MacBook Pro in 2016 that reliability concerns started popping up —and AppleInsider has the hard data on failure rates.

Quote

Not including any Touch Bar failures, the 2016 MacBook Pro keyboard is failing twice as often in the first year of use as the 2014 or 2015 MacBook Pro models, and the 2017 is better, but not by a lot.

There were rumors that the 2017 Macs had a slightly different keyboard design but I have never tested one out before and was never compelled to care about the 2017 model as they were just almost unnoticeable refreshes. It would appear though that those machines also addressed an issue that Apple knew about internally......bad keyboards. 

 

Quote

Given that Mac sales are up only slightly year over year, we'll also assume for the sake of discussion and mathematics that there has been no appreciable increase in Mac sales. 

 

Given that the keyboard mechanisms are the same in the 13- and 15-inch MacBook Pro models, we've combined the two models in this look. However, given that the numbers break down to about 45 percent 15-inch MacBook Pro and 45 percent 13-inch MacBook Pro across the whole dataset and model years, there is no real need to break them our separately.

We're also subtracting warranty-voiding accidents, like impacts, or water spills.

Just some background on how they conducted their testing. 

 

Quote

The keyboard data


All data has been collected from assorted Apple Genius Bars in the U.S. that we have been working with for several years, as well as Apple-authorized third-party repair shops.

The 2014 MacBook Pro model year saw 2120 service events in the first year, with 118 related to keyboard issues necessitating an upper case replacement —5.6 percent of all MacBook Pros serviced in the first year. The 2015 has 1904 service tickets, with 114 relating to the keyboard, making 6.0 percent. 

The two numbers are very similar, which is to be expected. The keyboards were essentially unchanged since the 2012 Retina MacBook Pro, and should have failure rates similar to each other.

Apple released the new keyboard with the MacBook, and moved the design to the 2016 MacBook Pro. In the first year of the 2016 MacBook Pro, our data gathered 1402 warranty events, with 165 related to only the keyboard and not including the Touch Bar —11.8 percent.

So essentially this is where the "twice as much" comes from. While 12% is high in the context of consumer electronics, it is not as bad as many of claimed it to be on platforms such as Reddit.

 

12% is, imo, not acceptable from a company like Apple and I am hoping for free/cheap keyboard replacements for the life of the machine or some sort of recall program. Building machines with a spotty keyboard when I played $1,250 (Thanks Presidents Day sale) for this machine is not cool. 

 

Quote

We don't have a full year of data for the 2017 MacBook Pro yet. But, since release in June 2017, our data set has 1161 captured service events with 94 related to keyboard issues also not including any Touch Bar issues —8.1 percent. 

2017 machines seem to be a lot better at the moment but data is still not complete as stated. 

 

With the significant improvement if enough people complain we might be able to get a "Keyboard Replacement Program" for the 2016 MacBook Pros.

 

Quote

Clearly, the increase in number of keyboard events in a decreasing population of first-year service demands is notable. While first-year service calls have gone down with the introduction of the new models, at the same time the incidence of keyboard repairs has gone up, notably.

Apple has a second-generation MacBook Pro keyboard. It is in the 2017 MacBook Pro, and repaired 2016 models. The repair percentages on those are up from the 2014 and 2015 keyboards as well, but not nearly as much as the 2016.

 

Quote

Time for action


We don't know for sure how many GPU failures in the 2011 through 2013 MacBook Pro line caused Apple to act, nor do we know what triggered the display coating repair extension program.

But, the near-doubled failure rate of the keyboard in the first year on the 2016 MacBook Pro is a ticking time bomb for users, and it doesn't matter why.

I agree, I love my 2016 MacBook Pro. High Sierra 10.13.4 has some issues but that is software, but the 2016 Macs themselves have minor problems. 

 

2016 MacBooks creek sometimes, the 13" models can have their batteries fail (there is a free replacement program which may or may not replace your keyboard as well since they remove the entire top assembly), and now it is confirmed that the keyboards in them are prone to failure. 

 

Given the irreparable nature of the 2016 MacBook Pros keyboard, the only way I can see Apple making this right it to launch a program like the ones I described earlier. 

 

I will be holding off any MacBook Pro recommendations until Apple releases a statement on this issue

 

Source: https://appleinsider.com/articles/18/04/30/2016-macbook-pro-butterfly-keyboards-failing-twice-as-frequently-as-older-models

 

 


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Just another shady moneygrab from Crapple. Not surprised in the slightest.


Please, take everything I say with a grain of salt. I'm not a professional, just a moderately knowledgeable nerd. 

 

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Posted · Original PosterOP
Just now, bellabichon said:

Just another shady moneygrab from Crapple. Not surprised in the slightest.

I mean every product is a money grab from every company that has ever made a product. That is kinda the job of a corporation. 

 


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The butterfly keyboards are just trash. It's sad that the new magic keyboard has gone to this horrible tech as well >:(.

 

 


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They are also riveted into the chassis so not easily replaced.

i remember watching the ifixit tear down video.


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Posted · Original PosterOP
2 minutes ago, Apextier said:

The butterfly keyboards are just trash. It's sad that the new magic keyboard has gone to this horrible tech as well >:(.

 

 

I'm actually a big fan of the new Keyboard design. I like the feel and I like that they have a nice click and feel a little more "mechanical" than the old scissor switches. I also like the noises that the keys make when you type. 

 

For reference I use a G610 Orion with Cherry MX Browns with my PC. 


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Posted · Original PosterOP
Just now, Maticks said:

They are also riveted into the chassis so not easily replaced.

i remember watching the ifixit tear down video.

Not easy to replace from the perspective of a 3rd party repair shop. The way Apple does it is to just swap out the entire top chassis. 


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Louis Rossmann did a great clip on this last month.. it covered this issue off completely. 

 

 


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Posted · Original PosterOP
Just now, Maticks said:

 

Louis Rossmann did a great article on this last month.. it covered this issue off completely. 

 

While I like Louis, he does not have any real data, AppleInsider definitively proves that the keyboards are failing in the 2016 Machines. 


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we certainly have a few 2016 and 2017 macbook pro's that keys just stopped working. its not something seen in our office since 2011 when we started buying macbook pro's for the office.


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20 minutes ago, DrMacintosh said:

I mean every product is a money grab from every company that has ever made a product. That is kinda the job of a corporation. 

 

Not necessarily but most of time, yes.


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14 minutes ago, DrMacintosh said:

While I like Louis, he does not have any real data, AppleInsider definitively proves that the keyboards are failing in the 2016 Machines. 

I've never gotten the point of the butterfly switch. It's louder than the original switch, while being more prone to failing and Windows ultrabook competitors having the usually switches. I'd scream "APPLE TAKE MY MONEY" if it had a larger battery and a normal keyboard.

Edited by JDE
finished statement after accidentally posting

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Posted · Original PosterOP
6 minutes ago, JDE said:

It's louder than the original switch

With so many people into mechanical switches I don't understand how people can think the butterfly switch is "too loud." 

 

6 minutes ago, JDE said:

while being more prone to failing

It's not like that was the intention when they were making them. 

 

The point was to make a new switch that was significantly lower profile allowing for thinner machines. 

 

6 minutes ago, JDE said:

I'd scream "APPLE TAKE MY MONEY" if it had a larger battery

For what size? I have a 2016 without a TouchBar and this thing gets all day battery life. 


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2 minutes ago, DrMacintosh said:

With so many people into mechanical switches I don't understand how people can think the butterfly switch is "too loud." 

It doesn't have a good "tac tile to loudness" ratio.

 

It's loud for a laptop keyboard. Imagine 30 people in a cramped room typing on those.

3 minutes ago, DrMacintosh said:

The point was to make a new switch that was significantly lower profile allowing for thinner machines. 

Well, the Zenbook is thinner than the MBP 2016. It has a traditional switch.

4 minutes ago, DrMacintosh said:

For what size? I have a 2016 without a TouchBar and this thing gets all day battery life. 

Like many tabs open with a video in the background all day battery life?

 

That's what I demand if I'm spending money on a laptop. That's why I'm considering the Mi Notebook Pro at this point.


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Posted · Original PosterOP
11 minutes ago, JDE said:

 

It's loud for a laptop keyboard. Imagine 30 people in a cramped room typing on those

Sounds good to me xD

11 minutes ago, JDE said:

Well, the Zenbook is thinner than the MBP 2016. It has a traditional switch.

And that costs the Zenbook in internal valume that could have been used for a number of other things. 

 

Also we are talking about a laptop this thick

78D5FA61-C122-453F-9FE0-AAE58222125C.thumb.jpeg.7df7ee59785fbe3832e086c7c5f339bd.jpeg

I think we can agree that being slightly thinner might not be a good thing. 

 

11 minutes ago, JDE said:

Like many tabs open with a video in the background all day battery life?

With Safari yes. I’ve got YouTube, FaceBook, Reddit, LTT Forums, Google Drive (for my student account), my school district log in page, and Google Classroom all pinned. I run maybe 4 active tabs in addition to those at any given time. 

 

Also these things charge stupid fast with the USB-C power bricks. Like really stupid fast. 


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33 minutes ago, DrMacintosh said:

I'm actually a big fan of the new Keyboard design. I like the feel and I like that they have a nice click and feel a little more "mechanical" than the old scissor switches. I also like the noises that the keys make when you type. 

 

For reference I use a G610 Orion with Cherry MX Browns with my PC. 

Honestly the new MBP 13" has my favorite keyboard possibly ever. Took no time at all to match and sadly exceed my WPM on either my Strafe or E4310, and I don't get fatigued or just randomly start sucking ass on them. Only problem I see is during college when I'm hammering away and bafooning the shit out of the switches.

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That's not a lot more keyboard failures compared to other years...

It's just the fact that there are less warranty events compared to other years that makes it seem like a big increase.

 

"oh wow double the percent" Well yeah, but the total number of services is not the same.

2100 services for the 2014 model and 1400 for the 2016?

That's a 33% decrease in problems.

 

Maybe people should read the numbers instead of simply hating on apple as usual.

The 33% decrease in issues is pretty amazing, and that is assuming that "there has been no appreciable increase in Mac sales" which is almost certainly not true.

I've seen hundreds of people buy new macbooks when the new model was released, people really like the space gray, touchbar, and slimmer design.

Much more than any previous macbook pro release for a while.

 

Instead of news topics about how much more reliable they are, it's just nitpicking numbers.

165 keyboard issues compared to 114 is not a lot, not even 50% increase. And 165 issues is very little considering the fact that there are millions of units being sold.


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30 minutes ago, DrMacintosh said:

I like that they have a nice click and feel a little more "mechanical" than the old scissor switches. I also like the noises that the keys make when you type.

They sound alot like membranes that have raised treble, are about as loud as membranes, and have no mechanical feel at all. It literally feels like typing on an on screen keyboard.

44 minutes ago, Apextier said:

The butterfly keyboards are just trash. It's sad that the new magic keyboard has gone to this horrible tech as well >:(.

 

 

I wouldn't call them trash. They're moderately better than cheap membrane products. Good enough for casual facebook cuck or a digital artist at least.


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Posted · Original PosterOP
8 minutes ago, Drak3 said:

They sound alot like membranes that have raised treble, are about as loud as membranes, and have no mechanical feel at all. It literally feels like typing on an on screen keyboard.

I type on an iPhone and a 2016 MacBook Pro everyday and could not disagree more. Not really sure where you are getting that impression but it's wrong. 

 

8 minutes ago, Drak3 said:

Good enough for casual facebook cuck or a digital artist at least.

I love how you like to categorize people who buy Macs as all being basic users when really a lot of people buy Macs because they work better for them. 

 

Like me for example, that PC in my description is for gaming and home use. My Mac is for portable productivity, aka Video Editing, editing photos, working on papers, making basic 3D models in Blender, coding, gaming, and browsing the web. A heck of a lot more than "a casual facebook c*ck" as you so eloquently put it. 

 

But clearly everyone who buys a Mac knows nothing about computers or just hates getting a the best price/performance.

/s

 

It couldn't possibly be that Apple makes the best built laptops out there and offers software that is arguably better for many users like myself. 


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1 minute ago, DrMacintosh said:

I type on an iPhone and a 2016 MacBook Pro everyday and could not disagree more. Not really sure where you are getting that impression but it's wrong.

Moving from a 2017 MBP to a Galaxy S8, Surface Pro 4, Acer Asprire, Note 10.1 2014, Corsair K70 Lux w/ blues, K95 Platinum w/ browns, and Logitech K830.

 

Butterfly switches feel damn near identical to typing on an on screen. That's how Apple built them.

4 minutes ago, DrMacintosh said:

clearly everyone who buys a Mac knows nothing about computers

No, exclusively you.

 

Djdwosk, MrChow, Tipers, and Rorz all know a fair bit about computers.

 

4 minutes ago, DrMacintosh said:

I love how you like to categorize people who buy Macs as all being basic users when really a lot of people buy Macs because they work better for them.

No, I categorize Apple's overrated switch type according to its characteristics.

 

Also, when did I say digital artists are basic users?

 


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11 minutes ago, Drak3 said:

They sound alot like membranes that have raised treble, are about as loud as membranes, and have no mechanical feel at all. It literally feels like typing on an on screen keyboard.

I wouldn't call them trash. They're moderately better than cheap membrane products. Good enough for casual facebook cuck or a digital artist at least.

I mean fair point. There not "trash" but I like typing on the the older scissor keys much more.

 

I have the following MBP's so I do type on them quite a bit.

2015 MacBook Pro 15"

2016 MacBook Pro 15"

2017 MacBook Pro 15"


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Posted · Original PosterOP
8 minutes ago, Drak3 said:

No, exclusively you.

 

Djdwosk, MrChow, Tipers, and Rorz all know a fair bit about computers.

Lmao. 

 

Ok then. You clearly don’t read anything I post and have followed nothing of my time here on the forums. 

 

But thats cool. Not everyone has to know me. 

 

I happen to know most of those people btw. 

@djdwosk97 @mrchow19910319 @themctipers

 

I’m just reporting the news and you have to make it personal. 


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Posted · Original PosterOP
13 minutes ago, Drak3 said:

Moving from a 2017 MBP to a Galaxy S8, Surface Pro 4, Acer Asprire, Note 10.1 2014, Corsair K70 Lux w/ blues, K95 Platinum w/ browns, and Logitech K830.

 

Butterfly switches feel damn near identical to typing on an on screen. That's how Apple built them.

And as stated, I use a G610 Orion with MX browns everyday, my MacBook Pro, and my iPhone. 

 

There are 0 similarities between the Mac and a touchscreen device and the G610 has far more in common with the Mac than the Mac does with touchscreen typing. 


Laptop: 2016 13" nTB MacBook Pro Core i5 | Phone: iPhone 8 Plus 64GB | Wearables: Apple Watch Sport Series 2 | CPU: R5 2600 | Mobo: ASRock B450M Pro4 | RAM: 16GB 2666 | GPU: Sapphire Nitro+ RX 580 4GB | Case: Apple PowerMac G5 | OS: Win 10 | Storage: 480GB PNY SSD & 2TB WD Green HDD | PSU: Corsair CX600M | Display: Dell UZ2215H 21.5" 1080p, ViewSonic VX2450wm-LED 23.6" 1080p, Samsung SyncMaster 940BX 19" 1024p | Cooling: Wraith Prism | Keyboard: G610 Orion Cherry MX Brown | Mouse: G303 | Audio: Audio Technica ATH-M50X & Blue Snowball
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4 minutes ago, DrMacintosh said:

And as stated, I use a G610 Orion with MX browns everyday, my MacBook Pro, and my iPhone. 

 

There are 0 similarities between the Mac and a touchscreen device and the G610 has far more in common with the Mac than the Mac does with touchscreen typing. 

There is 1:
I wouldn't type on either for extended periods of time, so basically what I do all the time.

butterfly works great for short bursts of typing, like.. any other short travel key, but with longer sessions of typing, like a longer than 3 message conversation, I would much rather type on anything else


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138 is a good number.

 

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That's kinda pathetic. Any run-of-the-mill keyboard used in sub $500 laptops just works...for many many years, unless you spill liquid on the keys. 

 

I am not just bashing on Apple for the sake of bashing on Apple. I gotta say that my MSI GE62 is a flaming toaster with poor build quality and it was brand new 1.5 years ago. But Apple has more to prove than a random PC gaming brand. Apple has to step up their game if they want to continue selling laptops, because they're not selling computers on specs (unlike most laptops which are expected to be mediocre at best, especially MSI). 

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