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Giving Up on the Current MacBook Pro Keyboard (theoutline.com)
274 points by tomduncalf 8 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 200 comments

The keyboard/trackpad combination of the last decade of Macbooks (Air/Pro) were basically perfect. I like the OS, and I've never found a PC laptop to come remotely close to the sweet ergonomics of those Macbooks.

And then I got a 2017 Macbook Pro at my new job. Never mind that the keys are reported to stick (mine haven't yet), it just feels terrible. Virtually zero throw in the switch. And a personal pet peeve, they made the same mistake Microsoft did with their ergo keyboard for 1 sad iteration (before they fixed it in later models) - they changed the arrow keys from the standard upside-down T layout to a diamond layout. Those designers at Apple wanted symmetry so they made it happen. Too bad it kills the ergonomics.

But the trackpad is where it really goes downhill. It's physically huge for no good reason. Worse (and the reason I'm seriously looking to see if I can swap it for an older model), it routinely (like 20% of the time) mistakes 1- and 2-finger clicks for each other. I never know which it's going to do. I never experienced this at all with any of my older Macbook Pros and Macbook Airs. Good luck giving a presentation - you're awkwardly fumbling with context menus when you don't want them, etc... audience will think you've never used a computer before. And yes, I've disabled all the stupid gesture stuff because it was even worse before I did so.

The "only 2 USB C ports and a headphone jack" is the icing on the cake. I could live with it if it were the only issue, but it just annoys me that I need to bring a docking station with me to stay plugged in while presenting and using any usb peripheral. What's the benefit here - maybe 1/2 mm thinner?

100% seconded on everything you said. Same issues with me. Same thinking. Same complaining.

I wish they will fix at least the keyboard issues in the 2018 models. Damn Apple.

I've seen this sentiment echoed over and over on here. I'm always wondering why people continue to order Macs. It's very rare that I see positive comments about the touchbar. The reason can't be because macos is better, since there are tons of complaints on here about that too. The hardware is definitely not the best anymore. So why are people still buying them?

It's a UNIXy system, that actually works with the hardware. Closing the lid mostly. In 20 years I haven't seen a single Win/Linux laptop that worked (on decently specced HW).

Oh sure, tons of "I have a perfectly working linux on x" but drilling down it always boils down to fiddling, updating, manually correcting some value somewhere, tweaking.. etc.

I switched to a mac some 8 years ago on the desktop and 6 years ago as my daily driver laptop. I would love to break out of the apple ecosystem for something more free but I just have not been convinced it exists yet.

With all the complaints about macos, rightfully so, quality seems to be degrading somehwat, the HW/SW combination is still unbeaten in my book. I run Fusion on it, with a Windows Server VM and Linux VM w shared homedir so I can run whatever tools best fit for the job. Only real gripe is memory limit of 16GB. Oh and the touchbar. Fuck the touchbar. Could have been nice as an addition above the Fn key row.

Now let's hope my keyboard holds out ;)

  > It's a UNIXy system, that actually works with the hardware.
It is, or used to be. I haven't been very happy about Apple's direction in recent years, and when my old 2011 Macbook Pro dies, I'm not sure what I'm going to replace it with.

You'd think there'd be a big market for an "it just works" Linux-based laptop.

>Oh sure, tons of "I have a perfectly working linux on x" but drilling down it always boils down to fiddling, updating, manually correcting some value somewhere, tweaking.. etc.

I've had great experiences running Ubuntu derivatives on Dell Latitude E-series, as long as they don't have Nvidia graphics. I'm sure plenty of Thinkpad owners will tell you the same.

Never a problem with any of the Thinkpads I've had, mostly Debian. With the macs? Dead batteries because of bad firmware, dead chargers because of horrible cables, 19hs upgrading the OS (each try), finally, dead motherboard. Not falling for it again.

I have a yoga 900 and Ubuntu works perfectly out of the box. I didn't check to make sure it would work before buying it, but have been dual-booting almost since day one.

I have a Dell Inspiron 17r 7720 and a Macbook made in the same year. Spec for spec they are very comparable machines, but if I had to choose I would pick the Dell every time. I've used Ubuntu on it for years with zero "fiddling" required. Windows 10 is on a physical SSD, but with one command it's configured to run on a VM in Ubuntu. Many people have gotten Mac OS to run natively on the Dell, but I decided to spend hundreds on a Macbook instead because to the enormous amount of "fiddling" it would have taken.

TL;DR: I've had the opposite experience as you.

Sounds good, a quick scan of the reviews show lots of praise. Wondering about battery life though, and I would still need to see it for myself before I'm convinced.

I am optimistic though, seriously think that when my current macbook is up for replacement there will be a handful of capable machines with proper (HW) linux support.

For me however, lacking that positive first hand experience is what makes me keep ordering macs.. for now.

> The reason can't be because macos is better, since there are tons of complaints on here about that too.

That ... doesn't follow. It's OS X that I buy Macs for. I have a very small number of complaints about it, but many more about every other OS I've ever used. Like mutt: it sucks less.

Also: I loved my previous Mac devices. I don't love my recent MacBook Pro. But the next Mac I buy in a few years time, they'll probably have fixed it up by then. Switching to a whole new ecosystem for the interim strikes me as crazy.

> Like mutt: it sucks less.

that depends entirely on what your daily activities are.

If you're a web developer and are somewhat competent, you'd be best served with fedora or ubuntu. You're able to fully customize your system, use tiling window managers such as i3wm and can actually use the same daemons as the production system will be using.

If you're a designer that uses the Adobe Suite, there is little difference between osx and windows. both work most of the time and have their own faults and upsites. if you're already in the apple ecosphere, there is little reason to change to windows - as there isn't really anything better there. Nor is there a reason to switch to mac from windows...

If you're a gamer, there really isn't anything but windows -- even today. Its gotten better with Steam, but the performance hit for non-windows systems is brutal.

If you're just an average user that only wants to use facebook, webmail and browse the internet, you'd be best served with a chromebook/chromebox. That literally just works with no manual configuration necessary anywhere. Its just that there is very little you can do on it. (The Android integration is still beta, so that doesn't count)

this list is obviously not exhaustive. I'm just trying to make a point with some examples.

Who really wants to fully customise their system? I'm not interested in spending time and effort customising my OS, I'd rather use that time to do work or use my laptop for entertainment. I'd rather it works proficiently out of the box and I mostly get that from osx/macos, with a few minor customisations I've built up over time.

I'm sure being able to fully customise your system is appealing to some, the rest of us just want to get stuff done.

Ps. Web developer since 1994.

> Who really wants to fully customise their system?


I want audio and auto-suspend and battery management to just work, to be able to buy peripheries that I know will work.

Also, without wanting to hit the snark too much:

>> If you're a web developer and are somewhat competent, you ... can actually use the same daemons as the production system will be using.

When you become _very_ competent, you'll be running all of those in VMs or Docker or whatever.

> When you become _very_ competent, you'll be running all of those in VMs or Docker or whatever.

It seems i've offended you in some way.

I did not mean to imply that all competent web developers should be using ubuntu or fedora. You can be a very efficient and great programmer without ever using any linux distribution in your life. After all, StackOverflow seems to be quite good at what it does and its run on windows iirc.

Its just that you'll occasionally run into problems. If you're inexperienced with linux distributions you'll have to google their solution, making even a trivial problem such as '$PROGRAM not found' a very painful experience. And you won't really get to utilize the usability improvements from i3wm for example.

so to summarize: you don't need to use linux to be a competent developer. You won't be able to really use linux unless you're already an experienced and competent developer which is open to find new workflows. You could install it and use it, sure, but you'D become another example of why "linux desktop doesn't work"

Customizing the stuff you said is largely a matter of preference. I rarely want to do the stuff you do, and that’s ok. Neither of us is wrong. Unless we try to say the other should switch OSes.

I just want a Unix-based laptop and I treat apple like a good community-run skin that has really good testing with a small set of hardware. That works for me.

In the rare case that I want to customize something or an developing for someone who wants customization, I’ll virtualization. I’ve been lucky enough (or maybe unfortunate since it’s fun) to not do anything related to hardware for a decade or so.

use tiling window managers such as i3wm

Been using computers daily for 33 years and have no need for this. I mean, I tried once out of curiosity, but can't see the appeal. Of course, everyone's different and "you do you!" etc :-) Like the grandparent poster, macOS is the "least worst" option for me so far.

It works great because they have a limited spectrum of hardware to support. Linux and Windows supports a much broader range of hardware combination, obviously the perfect combination and work doesn't exist for them.

Try to install OSX on different hardware combinations (once you get chameleon working) and you will find out that it sucks, maybe even harder than Windows/Linux.

> It works great because they have a limited spectrum of hardware to support


> Linux and Windows supports a much broader range of hardware combination, obviously the perfect combination and work doesn't exist for them


> Try to install OSX on different hardware combinations

Why would I do that when I can buy a Mac?

This is neither a moral stance nor a philosophical one, it's a practical one. I want a stable reliable machine to be productive on, and not to irritate me more than is strictly necessary. That's been a Mac for the last 15 years or so. One dud model in that time is not enough to get me playing with XF86config, tweaking the Registry again, or powering off my laptop when I'm done with it.

> Why would I do that when I can buy a Mac?

Maybe to contrast pumped prices for hardware found on other vendors' hardware, costing half or a third of it? (true especially for the entry level MacBooks, which have same hw of a 500€ laptops from Hp or Lenove

Every time I buy a MacBook, O check around. But interestingly, there is no 500 euro laptop from hp or Lenovo with similar hardware. Usually falls apart around the trackpad. And this isn’t counting the absolute horrible customer service I’ve had with hp and Lenovo.

And so you've gone full circle; this started with:

> It's OS X that I buy Macs for

As the grand-parent you're replying to notes, it doesn't work so well on non-Apple systems. The hardware is secondary.

Because the 2015 Macbook Pro Retina's were pretty damn good relative to basically anything else at the time but were in dire need of a refresh.

Everybody assumed that the refresh would take a winning formula and adjust it a little bit. Nobody assumed that Apple would completely screw up the keyboard, hose things with the touch bar, abuse people by only having USB-C ports, kill the MagSafe power, and still not offer modern processor and memory specs.

Everybody then assumed that when all these problems came out, Apple would own up and make it right. The fact that Apple is NOT doing that is finally pissing people off.

2015 Macbook Pro Retina w/ Integrated Graphics is the best laptop computer of all time

I agree on everything!

“It’s very rare that I see positive comments about the touchbar”

My wife likes hers.

However, people are always more vocal about things they don’t like. We expect things to work right, and when they do, it is not supposed to be a remarkable event. It’s supposed to be normal.

Crap not working right is infuriating and we let everyone know about that stuff.

That said, you can learn a lot from negative comments by seeing if the things that people complain about would bother you or not.

Negative commentary by itself doesn’t matter if what people complain about is irrelevant to you. On the contrary, if all people can find to complain about is stuff that doesn’t matter to you, you are golden.

Touchbar complaints that matter to me are primary escape key related. Otherwise it’s just meh to me. On my work keyboard the escape key is awkward so I mostly use ctrl-[. And I think my iPad “smart” keyboard doesn’t even have escape so that has reinforced it for me. I don’t really notice much anymore.

So the escape key isn’t a deal breaker for me. I mostly just don’t care about the touch bar. Don’t have one on my computer though.

However, the thin mbpr keyboards sound like thunder and that drives me nuts. The key breakage/stop working deal would suck but I can’t gauge how common that really is.

They all make abnoxious noise though. I won’t upgrade until that is fixed. I’d give up my establishment in the macOS ecosystem and go Linux with a thinkpad maybe.

There can be a fair bit of inertia involved in using an OS. Like most mac users, I complain about the direction of macOS while still preferring it to the alternatives. And I have time & money invested in software & a well-established configuration that I would rather not ditch. In the end I care about my work, for which the os is no more than a support, so I don't want to invest attention or time on a transition.

Personally, the touch bar is a bridge too far and I won't be buying another mac. But it does take something like this (which I consider pretty egregious) to push me over the edge, so I can understand why others might choose otherwise.

Because of how weird Windows users look at me when I just close the lid without turning the computer off. I've even gotten comments how "you shouldn't do that". Or when they ask why I don't plug the laptop in (this was more true a few years ago). Or why I don't use a mouse like a "normal person".

The current MBP is by far my favorite. The keyboard breaking is very annoying and the touchbar is nothing special but doesn't impede me.

Beyond that, though, 1) the cooling is the best, every previous model melted my lap, 2) I absolutely love the flexibility of USB-C, 3) I can charge whatever side suits the cable better which depends on where I am, 4) I can use powerbanks for emergency juice, 5) the screen is brighter than ever, 6) it's thinner and lighter than the previous gen, 7) the SSD is faster than the previous gen by quite a bit, 8) ditched the MagSafe proprietary power connector, I now use generic USB-3 stuff and have numerous chargers that work fine. USB-C's withdrawal tension is just right to avoid all the issues MagSafe helped with.

> The reason can't be because macos is better

It can (at least with a suitable gloss on 'better'). For practical purposes there are only 3 OSs to choose from. I had determined to ditch macs because of the new fake keyboard, but having reacquainted myself with both linux & windows to prepare for the move, I'm now back to desperately hoping Apple brings out a MB with a real keyboard this year. All operating systems are horrible. MacOS is no exception, but it's the most manageable horror. It seems to me to be a bit like democracy: it's the worst except for all the others.

Perhaps Mac users are pickier so complain more which is why they left Windows in the first place. So the Windows user base is less picky because the Mac user base is more picky.

Probably much the same reason people continue to buy Windows: the software that is not supported on other platforms (or is used company/team wide).

> I like the OS, and I've never found a PC laptop to come remotely close to the sweet ergonomics of those Macbooks.

So, an interesting takedown[1] of Apple engineering was posted on /r/videos yesterday. I can't speak to the veracity, but there's some interesting claims there that if true would make me think twice before buying an Apple Laptop (specifically because of very long-standing issues and warranty shenanigans). There's a segment on the keyboard towards the second half as well.

1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AUaJ8pDlxi8

my dream laptop: a retina mbair with magsafe, 2x normal usb3, a single usb-c, and 32gb of ram.

are you listening, apple?

And beefy gpu with integrated graphics switching on battery.

And the old keyboard, and no extra GPU for thermal and battery reasons.

I second you on the keyboard issues but I haven’t had any issues with the trackpad. Actually, for me it is nice that is large and it has always been precise.

I have had no problems with the current Macbook Pro keyboard. Am I in the minority? I also love the feel of it. I really like the low travel and the Touchbar helps a bunch with my RSI. I don't use the Trackpad at all unless I really need to. I also use Emacs which gives you an idea of how much I use the keyboard.

It looks like people are voting you down, which seems a little snippy--your experiences are just as valid as the experiences of people who want to throw their laptop through the wall.

I have a non-touchbar MBP with the new keyboard (and I've had it for about a year at this point), have a 15" touchbar MBP for work at my new job, and had a 13" touchbar MBP at the job I had in 2017, and none of them have had any problems. However, I usually keep the work laptops closed and use external keyboards, and I find for personal travel I tend to use my iPad with the Magic Keyboard more than the laptop. (I also have an iMac for work that requires heavy lifting.)

This is definitionally a man-bites-dog situation. "Keyboard works fine" doesn't make news; "keyboard stops working because someone at neighboring desk ate a cookie" does. I suspect that you and I are not in the minority, and that the new keyboard works fine for most people. But even if that's true, the failure rate is anecdotally orders of magnitude higher than Apple's previous keyboard design, and that makes it a problem that needs to be addressed. Like much of Apple's recent design choices, they have become too willing to compromise function to achieve form. (I know some would say they've done that for decades, but I think they mostly hit the right balance until the last 3–4 years.)

Either Apple did no durability testing, or Apple did durability testing, uncovered reliability problems, and decided to launch with this keyboard anyway.

My guess is option 2. Neither option is encouraging.

The extent to which Genius Bar staff are aware of the problem, and whether or not they’ve received specific instructions about it, is something we can only guess at.

I had very few problems (the keyboard sometimes stuck but quickly fixed) until my spacebar went suddenly this weekend. Seems to be a case of when, not if, which won’t be good for resale value of this generation. It’s a nice laptop in many ways though.

I also love it. At least I did until last week when my Command key stopped working. Blowing and shaking got something dislodged I guess, because it started working again. Unfortunately whatever it was got stuck under the space bar. :(

Apple has an article on how to clean these keyboards: https://support.apple.com/en-ca/HT205662

I've personally found that the steps work pretty well, and also if you have a vacuum with a brushed attachment on a lower setting may help if compressed air doesn't do it.

You could also bring it in to the apple store and they could attempt to clean it for you!

The keys on the new MBPs are removable with a small amount of effort; I've done it a few times to remove a piece of dust that has lodged itself where it shouldn't without damaging the keyboard at all.

From the comments here, you'd think that no one knew they could remove the keys!

from the comments I've been seeing, people are well aware you can remove the keys

the problem is that they're (really) easy to break, and hard to replace.

I've only had problems when I eat food and use my laptop. Some crumbs get under a key and then prevents it from traveling. Usually i get some canned air and try to blow it out. I could see it being a bigger problem for other in places that are extra dusty

I don't know why you're getting downvoted. I said this in another post somewhere too but I love the new MBP keyboards. I've had my current machine since launch with no issues whatsoever and I'm a web and software dev so I pretty much type all day long. The low travel is amazing and I love both the trackpad and the touch bar. I have no issues with the machine so I'm keeping my fingers crossed. :-P

returned my mbp 2016 for a number of reasons, and... was mixed on keyboard and trackpad.

keyboard - generally liked the feel more than the previous 2015 model, but... it was louder. noticeably louder, even if I tried to type lighter. Definitely created some friction in situations where none existed before. And... MBP2016 trackpad size - just was too large for my liking. I knew of no one demanding a larger trackpad, but know of many people (myself included) who had some issues with the larger trackpad (stray palm issues, etc). The few people I know who liked or wanted a larger trackpad used an external one, which had the bonus (for them) of being movable.

I only notice I don't like the keyboard when I switch to using an external one, and notice how much more I like the external one...

Well that depends, how long have you had it for? Most keyboard issues surface after about a year.

Had mine for almost a year. There was a couple times the shift key had to press really hard, but just hitting it really hard rapidly usually realigned it.

The back of my Macbook screen does make intermittent popping sounds though.

My personal theory is that the people who experience this problem are people who produce or invite an above-average amount of particulate into their work space (whether it's cigarette ash, bread crumbs, skin flakes/dandruff, cat hair or whatever) and into their laptops. Clearly this problem exists, but at the same time, the majority of owners aren't affected.

I used to work with a guy who smoked at his desk (back when indoor smoking was less of a faux pas), and his mechanical keyboards were full of ash.

My personal theory is that this counts as a normal working environment, and a keyboard that can’t survive most of these isn’t fit for purpose.

It’s not as if we’re demanding a keyboard that works at the bottom of the ocean or can handle ingress by lunar dust.

A ThinkPad could probably handle the lunar dust :)

One of the old ones from ~2000 probably could. The new ones, not so much.

Not saying that you are wrong, but I have a couple of questions: do you touch type? which types of keyboards did you use in the past? Laptop, desktop, chiclets? Mechanical?

I think this may have to do with the kinds of keyboards people are used to. Some prefer lighter keys, some prefer a lot of key travel, some like clicky keys, etc.

This is why Cherry makes so many kinds of switches...

> do you touch type?

Whenever I profess my love for the new keyboard here, someone always asks me if I touch type.

Yes. The new MBP keyboards actually kick ass for touch typing, and I'm just as shocked when someone doesn't think that, as you are (I'm guessing) when you find out that I touch type.

I have used and loved Model M and Thinkpad keyboards, among others. Now I can't use anything else because the new MBP keyboards are so much better, in my opinion.

At home at my Desktop I type in an IBM model M. I used to have a Corsair k70 which I played FPSes and Warframe. I have a Apple Bluetooth keyboard that is a chicklet. I also have a Chicklet keyboard on a Toshiba satellite . I also used the chicklet keyboards on a MacBook Pro 2011 and a MacBook Air 2012.

On my k70 I had red Cherry MX switches . When I was in kindergarten I used Apple II keyboards.

For mobile devices I used an Motorola droid and a Treo. Also a blackberry .

EDIT: Sorry forgot to mention I touch type (I am touch typing on a IBM model M right now).

And now my heuristics got completely overwhelmed and I cannot fanthom why someone who types in an IBM Model M would like the Macbook Pro keyboard :)

Although we have both used the apple bluetooth keyboard and Airs, so that may have contributed for the higher tolerance of the new Macbook Pro keyboard.

Right now I'm typing using a Logitech K750 solar keyboard, which feels very similar to Apple's bluetooth keyboard (although I feel that the keys need slightly more pressure to activate). It is dead silent which is great to use around coworkers.

At home I want to get a Kinesis Freestyle Edge for the ergonomics, and I'm debating if Cherry MX Browns or Blues would be better.

Oh forgot to mention I have used all of the ergonomic keyboards by Microsoft.

I touch type, and I don't understand how important some people find keyboard switches.

Yes, there are some keyboards I don't like. But they are pretty rare and almost everything else I'm fine on.

I have a 2014 MPB I like, a MS Wireless Keyboard 700 I use as my daily keyboard, a Logitech K260, and various Dell, HP and Acer keyboards. All are fine for me.

I have one and am a bit indifferent to it. Personally I slightly prefer the older version but it isn't a big deal. I also am kind of indifferent to the touch bar. It looks neat but is not that useful except in one or two apps.

Overall I think Apple reached and then slightly overshot the point of no more returns on "thin and light."

Kills my RSI, but bright spot, I bought a keyboard which helps it a great deal, so... thanks?

My experience:

Joined a startup, raring to go, and they needed to get me a top-end MacBook Pro (16GB instead of 8GB as I recall). Apple stores in SF refused to stock the top-end, pointing me to their build-to-order options at the store. +5 days minimum.

Went with a mail-order house and next day aired in a top-end MacBook Pro laptop (which they had plenty of in every color). Shift key was DOA. Took it in to the Apple store. They had the gall to tell me that since I didn't buy it directly from Apple, they wouldn't (not couldn't, wouldn't) repair it in store, but would send it to their warranty center in Houston (right after Harvey). Got it back fixed, but so many days wasted.

Apple gets so many really difficult things right. Simple-seeming things like basic customer service and proactive quality control escape them.

Apple doesn't repair anyone's laptop on site, they're all shipped to repair centers.

And if they don't stock your configuration in store, there's no way to just hand you a new one either.

I'm not saying your experience was any less shitty than it was, but there's nothing else they could have done than what they did.

If the startup was serious about uptime they’d be part of the partner program and be given a loaner on devices

And the cost of keeping a spare or two in-house is negligible compared to the lost productivity.

And since that is the configuration everyone gets, they should have had it in possession already.

I’ve had a ton of laptop repairs done in-store. Many years ago, but still. Maybe they just don’t do them anymore?

They do plenty of laptop repairs in-store, just not this one.

Unlike the earlier chiclet design they don't pop the keycaps off, they literally replace the top case.

If you're out of warranty this is a $500 repair.

It's hard to overstate how incredibly out of line this (and Apple's larger pattern of unserviceable hardware) is with the company's professed dedication to sustainability. They can convert all of their facilities worldwide to renewable energy, but they can't fix a single key on a keyboard without sending the entire keyboard, aluminum housing, and lithium-ion battery to the landfill (or at best an energy-intensive recycling process)?

>It's hard to overstate how incredibly out of line this (and Apple's larger pattern of unserviceable hardware) is with the company's professed dedication to sustainability.

You're shocked that a corporation lies?

And replacing the top case means removing every other component, putting them all back in, and then testing it to make sure you didn't cause any new problems!

And remember when rebuilding the laptop, 1 or 2 left-over screws from the rebuild is ok .... More than that, not ok. -- Apple Genius friend

I've had two repairs on my MacBook Pro done in an Apple store within the last year. They had to order the part, i dropped it off when it came in, and usually got it back within a day or two.

This is false, they repaired my Macbook Pro in the store when the enter key started failing.

Probably because they keep cans of air in the back room.

The new one? I was told they would have to send my 1 month old, purchased from an Apple Store late 2016 MBP in for a flakey 'R' key to have the top case replaced. I asked if they could pop off the keycap and clean it and they said that they do not do that on the butterfly design.

No, mine is the late 2013 Macbook Pro Retina. The parent poster said "Apple doesn't repair anyone's laptop on site".

I read "anyone" in this context to mean Apple is not discriminating against people who purchased from 3rd parties.

This is in response to the GP's comment "They had the gall to tell me that since I didn't buy it directly from Apple, they wouldn't (not couldn't, wouldn't) repair it in store" - which isn't the case, this is the policy for the butterfly models.

Replacing the key and butterfly mechanism doesn’t always work :(

I swapped my keys around for Dvorak. I moved almost every key, and they all still work. But, I can see their hesitation. It’s really easy to mess up.

I think what he meant it is doesn't always fix the problem for problematic keys.

For me, it has always fixed problems of keys that stopped working, but it doesn't seem to necessarily fix keys that double press. I assume that is related to an issue of the membrane itself or something under it.

Depends on the country / store tbh. Canadian Apple Stores don't send any Macs out to repair centres. US stores generally do, but I think they still have the latitude to do some repairs in store.

They do screen and battery replacements while you wait (or go get dinner elsewhere in the mall)

This can’t be right. I had a MBP screen and battery replaced in under two hours, on site at my nearest Apple Store, in the last six months.

If they have the parts onsite, they do

Tell us that story, please.

Your startup should have ordered the laptop in advance of your start date. My company standardizes on the 16gb model. They never have them in store, we have to order them online, about a week or so before we need them.

Your situation sucks but this might make you laugh: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FdS3tjEIqUA

> Apple gets so many really difficult things right. Simple-seeming things like

iTunes. shudder

They really only get a few things right. But at least they get a few things right.

They keyboard is bad. It may not be atrocious and I've seen some desktop keyboards with much larger key travel which are even more unpleasant. But good it is not. Which is surprising, because Apple created the best chiclet-style keyboards in the past. The older mabooks and the airs are completely acceptable. The Apple "magic" keyboard is actually pleasant to type on and I bought a third party keyboard which mimics it, although cheaper and 'solar' powered.

They made bad compromises. People who actually needed a macbook pro were not asking for a slimmer package. People focusing on size and weight might.

Case in point: I bought a Macbook (not pro, but with second gen butterfly switches) for my wife, she doesn't seem to mind, even when typing essays. She is not a touch typist however.

I'm typing this in a Macbook Pro at work, but using a bluetooth keyboard, so it is a non issue. At home, same deal, except I'm planning to upgrade to a mechanical keyboard.

If I am on the go, then I'll have to use the integrated keyboard. But this is rare for me. If you only use it on the go occasionally, then the keyboard may not be a deal breaker.

Still, my Dell Chromebook has a MUCH better keyboard, and it only cost me a couple hundred bucks. This is seriously wrong.

The OP is not making a case that the keyboard feels bad, he's saying it's questionably fragile design - as a tool, it is unreliable.

I can concur, have had sometimes flakey keys going on 1.5 years now. I'm fairly adept at removing the keycaps but have several that trigger double-presses from time to time. It's frustrating.

Here's the direct link to Casey Johnston's article:


In an office of 20+ developers on Macs, over half have had to get their keyboards replaced, and a few more just live with broken keys. This keyboard is truly awful.

After 10 years on the Mac, I'll be switching to ThinkPad / Linux / Hackintosh if the next MBP doesn't fix the keyboard issue.

I spent 8 years writing Linux software on a Mac, with various configurations including SSH, VMWare and Docker development environments.

For a while I was happy about this state of affairs, but over time I became increasingly dissatisfied.

Late last year I started a new job and essentially demanded that I be allowed to choose my own hardware. I ended up getting a high-spec X1 Carbon and running a Fedora variant on it.

It works very, very well. And the keyboard is great. I won't be going back to a mac any time soon.

Have you run into any issues with Wayland? I've been running Mint for the past few years, but the lack of fractional DPI scaling is frustrating so I've been considering switching to Fedora.

I'm using Gnome with Wayland and I haven't had any issues. However, I'm not using fractional scaling either.

+ And 32GB of RAM.

Big /r/apple thread about MBP keyboard issues:


The subreddit is mostly rabid diehard Apple fans, so the amount of discussion there on this is telling.

I'm on my 7 year old MacBook Air and I've never had keyboard issues. Looks like I'll be waiting for the 2018 MBP to upgrade.

I have a 4 year old macbook air, and if they just upgrade the screen, I will definitely buy one more today.

Adding my gripe to the cacophony: I upgraded my 2012 MacBook Pro to the 2017 model because I wanted a bigger SSD and one more monitor than the old machine supported.

Much of the time it's fine because I have it docked, giving me access to a regular external keyboard. But when I travel or use my treadmill desk, forcing me to use the built-in keyboard...ugh. The key travel distance provides poor tactile feedback, making it feel like I haven't pressed hard enough. And my typo rate goes through the roof. I didn't have those problems with my 2012. And Apple's decision to go with only USB-C is a constant source of inconvenience; I wrongly expected it would pass over time. All this, and no noticeable performance improvement.

I still have the 2012, I haven't had time to prep it to sell. I'm seriously considering finding other ways to deal with its limitations so I can ditch this awful 2017 instead. What an expensive mistake.

I moved to a Surface (and absolutely love it!) after going through 2 12" Retina Macbooks and being fed up with having to take the laptop to Apple as they're the only ones able to safely remove the keys and put them back on.

It was a nuisance when a laptop designed for portability cant be carried around easily. I found when its vertical/in a backpack it lets dust move around and settle under the keys. Every time I carry it around previously unlocked keys end up 'sticky' & it constantly needs cleaning.

With the Surface and WSL (Windows Subsystem for Linux) its quite refreshing with Windows 10. On occasion I do still use the mac for Xcode but that's about it. Not to mention the alcantara keyboard is an absolute pleasure to use.

I'm on this model and have now had to replace four keys from the QWERTY row (E, R, T, and O).

The issue is that the pinchers at the top of the key no longer hold after a while, so the keys fall off. I do like having four E keys, though. (Rather than try to guess which key would fail next I just bought a bunch of E keys).

When I took it to an Apple store they told me they couldn't just replace the keys and wanted to do a whole top case, leaving me without my computer for a week. I think they guessed (correctly) that if you have one key come up that the rest will follow. My "I" key is feeling loose and will probably go in the next week or two.

The "S" and "Command" keys kept falling off on my '16 MBP. Replaced them at $12/piece a few days ago from an online store.

My issue appears to have been the brackets on the keys themselves perhaps broke or wore down over time due to how impressively fast and heroically accurate I type.

Apple Stores CAN get the keycaps for these models. I think they default to replacing the top case because replacing the keycaps themselves don't always resolve the issue, but if you ask nicely at the apple store they may be willing to give you a few extra key caps if you're willing to install them yourself!

They can technically just replace the key caps, but it's possible it won't resolve the issue, or the top case may suffer more significant damage during the replacement and they don't want you to unexpectedly be without your computer for a week because the key cap repair failed. You could ask them to try it though.

I'm still using/programming and typing on my 2010 17 inches MacBook Pro.

The keyboard still works perfectly whereas my acquaintances that have bought newer models have had the keys falling, failing, discolour and whatnot.

That and the ineffable mate screen and screen size.

I've changed the memory, the hard drive and the battery to keep going and it's still going, albeit with more fan noise.

I'm really afraid/don't want to switch to a new/lesser MacBook Pro.

I'm in exactly the same situation. I just wish it had coffee lake, 32gb of ddr4 and a modern gpu - e.g. an upgrade. Who cares if it's marginally thinner and lighter?

With Ubuntu 18.04, Linux is more usable than ever... already runs my desktop and I'll be switching my laptop to Linux as well unless Apple releases something more suitable for power users this summer.

My beloved matte-screen 2011 17-incher failed unrepairably a couple of months ago. I decided to get a new 2017 15-inch model rather than take my chances getting another 17-inch one off of eBay. I had read lots of complaints about the keyboard, so I was prepared to possibly hate it, but it's okay, though not quite as good as the old one. The Touch Bar and larger trackpad seem like gimmicks to me. Well, the Touch Bar has its moments of usefulness, but against that, I hit it accidentally too often, and it's sensitive to the slightest touch.

Overall, I'm not unhappy, really. It is faster than my old one was, and much lighter, and has better battery life as long as I'm not doing anything CPU-intensive. Would I have been happier with the older 15-inch model they're still selling? In retrospect, I don't think I would have been any less happy, and I would have saved some money.

Literally today, my wife took her Macbook (bought last year) to the Genius bar to get the Enter key fixed - you had to press really hard to get it to take. The repair person just cleaned off the underside of the key. They said they didn't even see any debris. I think there is a real design flaw here.

The new MacBook Pro (2016 to current) is a mess on multiple levels, the entire thing should be scrapped and redesigned.

The 2015 model and before remains the best Mac laptop, it's too bad they couldn't just update that to have 32GB RAM and a modern CPU. The keyboard is already great, it already has many ports that are widely used, it has a hardware escape key and function keys, it does not have an annoying touch bar, it's an upgrade in every possible way compared to the newer mess for what a "pro" user actually cares about.

I have a loaded late-2013; it feels weird that I can have basically any laptop in the world that I want, but there's such marginal improvement in 2015 vs. 2013, and actual regression from 2015 to 2018, that my mac is almost 5 years old.

(I have a 64GB RAM Acer for workstation use, though.)

This. I bought a 2015 from the Apple refurb store rather than a new 2016 model for just the reasons you cite.

Likewise. Don't regret the decision.

I absolutely hate that keyboard. It just does not feel right and I can't write more than a few paragraphs without getting very frustrated.

Funny how personal this is - I literally loved the keyboard on the first click. It feels strange when I have to occasionally type on my 2014 MacBook.

Developers should just buy a ThinkPad and run Linux. A much more dependable machine and a far superior keyboard.

I still run a T61p (bedroom), T420, and T430. I keep wanting a new one but they're all plugging along just fine. On the T420 right now.

I even bust out my T42p from time to time when I want to play old 4:3 games. My X200 is my media center for my bedroom TV as well.

I've used Thinkpads since ~1995. Lenovo has screwed up here and there, but I'd say they're still 90% as good as the IBM ones (after the initial 2-3 years).

I'm using a T42p as one of my main machines, mostly due to the screen (1600x1200 at 4:3, have not found its equal yet) and the keyboard. The thing is 14 years old but it still works like new, it still runs ~2 hours on the (extended) battery. I did put an SSD in the machine (using a $1 PATA-SATA adapter which sits between the drive and the socket, I only needed to modify the drive hatch on the side of the machine to get it to fit) but for the rest it is stock standard.

Now that more and more functions are moving back into the server - did I say server, it should have been 'cloud' of course... - these older machines are actually getting more usable again as their rather anaemic processors (1.8GHz Pentium M) and limited memory capacity (2GB + 128MB VRAM) are getting to be less of an issue.

I’ll take an Apple keyboard over a Thinkpad trackpad

try the trackpoint...

IMO it's still much worse than the trackpad

I found an old Thinkpad laying around in the office once and just for shits and giggles decided to give the old Linux thing a try. Threw Ubuntu on it, hated it, tried again with Debian, now I'm a full convert. It's my main dev Machine but I've thrown a Debian VM on my PC at home for when I WFH and dual booted my MacBook I was using before with Debian.

It's just... So clean...

Better keyboard, maybe. But also a much worse touchpad, same as virtually all Windows laptops.

In what sense is the touchpad worse? Is it because it is smaller and it isn't covered in glass? I've been using touchpads ever since Cirque launched the original 'Glidepoint' - I still have the original, it still works but the RS232-interface it uses is getting rare - so I have some experience using the things. I also have an Apple 'magic touchpad' which I use with a stationary machine. What the latter has going for it is the size - which fits stationary applications but gets in the way within the confined space of a laptop - and the glass cover - which doesn't wear down like the plastic versions do. The 'clickpad' functionality can be handy but it has its drawbacks as well, especially when your fingers happen to be all the way at the top of the pad where clicking the thing takes noticeably more force than at the bottom, this due to the design where the actual switch sits at the bottom feet. Nearly all touchpads support multi-touch gestures (two-finger scroll being the one I use most).

Thinkpads are made by Lenovo, who have a very bad history. They have used the UEFI bootloader to install spyware.

The mac UI is nicer than the various Linux window managers.

Running a mac lets me do cross platform development

> The mac UI is nicer than the various Linux window managers.

Well that is entirely subjective. To me OS X is a cluttered, distracting, cold-grey mess.

Isn't that by the company that put spyware at the hardware level?

Ideapads, not thinkpads. There were never any evidence of such shenanigans showing up on the thinkpads.

Whenever i see someone complain about brand X, it is because hey picked up the cheapest model on offer at some corner store. Buy the business models...

A typical Mac user on Linux; surely you jest.

Until they have to build and test iOS apps...

Buy a used Mac Mini. They haven't been updated in like 5.5 years at this point. You can just remote into it.

Or just build a hackintosh.

Neither is a good option for an established company — in that situation your app is likely too large/complex to compile quickly on a mini and the legal grayness associated with hackintoshing makes that a no go.

At work I just use an external KB while I’m working at my desk (98% of the time), rendering the macbook’s internal KB almost entirely moot.

I agree. The Mac Mini is enticing as a build server because of its price and form factor, but goddamn does it feel slow. I suppose a Mac Pro would be a better choice but they are so much more expensive.

If anyone working even remotely for the european union, or any agency willing to take on Apple for bad practice: THIS is the real legal thing you should complain about.

Locking people out of your software store if they don't buy your hardware for their development is an absolute scandal.

I definitely prefer my 2015 MBP over the TouchBar models. The 1 thing I DO like about the new models is universal USB-C charging.

I have an Anker USB-A/USB-C charger for my phone and it charges my TouchBar MBP just fine. Beats having to buy an expensive Apple charger to have one at home and one at the office.

Other than that, the 2015 has USB-A, HDMI, better keyboard, smaller touchpad, and actual Fn keys.

no way would i give up magsafe for usb-c

USB-C has been better than MagSafe for me for 3 reasons: 1) Can charge off either side, which has solved most of the cases MagSafe helped me with 2) I can replace just the cable with a cheap third-party one instead of replacing the whole expensive Apple charger when their crap cable falls apart 3) Can extend my battery life off a regular USB power bank

I took mine in and the Apple Genius just tried to clean it to no avail. So, I have a broken "b" key and need to send it in to get it fixed. The "guy who could take the keycaps off wasn't there" despite the pre-questions Apple asks before the appointment scheduling.

I'm going to wait a bit. I was one of the people who took their iPhone 6 in and paid full price for the battery (3 times because 3 of the 4 phones we bought had the same problem). I plug it into thunderbolt 3 docks at home and work, so I guess I can hold out until Apple admits it sucks and has an actual fix. I'm under AppleCare but I just don't see the gain in sending it in to get replaced by another keyboard that will break again.

When I was at RailsConf last week I realized (during a session while I was typing) how loud the keyboard is compared to the last gen

Lots of trouble with mine as well. Key presses getting doubled or more. Especially on the "b" key. Had to replace the entire key and membrane and clean underneath the glued membrane to get it working again. (was 2 months out of warranty)

Also had the left command key just fall off. I know I rest my finger on it, but it shouldn't just fall off.

I like the low travel that some complain about, but any keyboard is useless if it doesn't work consistently.

Just FYI, some credit cards extend manufacturer warranties to two years, so may be worth looking into it. Also, which model do you have? Some non-TB 2016-2017 13" MBP are eligible for a free topcase replacement for battery issues.

It's the TB 15". I thought about seeing if I could go into an Apple store and see if I could get them to do it, but I am currently 2 hours away from the closest real one.

Thanks for commenting. I have the same problem with the "b" on my 18mo MBP.

Can you elaborate or link-to some more info on "replace the entire key and membrane"? Apple want to replace the top-case at AUD $650...

I didn't find any how to, so here is a bit of what I did:

Failed: compressed air

Failed: cleaning under the key.


Remove the key (careful, these keys really like to break the bottom u hooks)

Remove the butterfly

Peel off the glued membrane

Cleaned all with 90% alcohol.

Took a new membrane (you might be able to use old) and used E6000 glue and a toothpick to glue it back (don't get the contacts).

Replaced butterfly and key.

Not a good solution, but it worked.

I got the key, butterfly, and membrane from replacementlaptopkeys.com.

It looked like the contacts were getting coated/corroded and not making good contact? Perhaps heat?

I just this week purchased a 2015 refurb MacBook Pro (the last model year before the keyboard redesign) because of all the compromises one makes when choosing a Mac, an unreliable keyboard is where I draw the line.

> This keyboard has to be one of the biggest design screwups in Apple history.

I feel like this is a bit overstated. What about "Just avoid holding it in that way", or Apple Maps v1, or the Magic Mouse 2 that requires you to stop using it to charge it?

Having chronically defective keyboards on your computers is much worse than the examples you provided.

> Just avoid holding it in that way

Pretty minor defect when honestly compared with other options on the market at the time, blown out of proportion by the media.

> Apple Maps v1

Forced move for business reasons, recognized by most Apple employees as shitty but inevitable.

> Magic Mouse 2

A few minutes of downtime every month is annoying and maybe a mistake, but less critical than a non-functioning non-replaceable keyboard.

Yeah it's all arguable but seriously "minor defect"? Holding a phone has to be a mandatory design requirement wouldn't you agree? Compare this to a faulty keyboard I'd say holding a phone causing it to be useless trumps that.

Maps was bad. Real bad.

> The police department stated that the error was potentially life-threatening, as national park temperatures could rise to 114 °F (46 °C) and those traveling would be without water supplies


Just because they made updates over the last 7 years doesn't take away from the fact that the initial release was a big "design screwup".

Magic Mouse v2 yeah I get the charge time doesn't last long but it's still a stupid design. Less critical sure I agree.

Apple Maps was really bad, but that doesn't necessarily make it a mistake. IIRC, Google was demanding that Apple share a lot more user data for further use of their data in Maps, which would probably have been worse for Apple long-term (particularly given how well their privacy angle is serving them now in 2018). If they picked the better of two bad options, that's not a screwup, it's just unfortunate. The quality was understandable for the amount of time they had to produce it. There are limits on how fast you can effectively scale up to compete with Google's thousands of Maps staff.

The antenna problem may have been worse than I remember. I'd still say that at least that has cheap and easy user fixes once you become aware of the issue.

Yah seriously, I actually think the magic mouse v2 complaints are ridiculous. Apple Maps v1 WAS bad, but if you didn't like it, you could still use google maps.

The iPhone 4 antenna fault wasn't minor - I had that phone, and it was unusable without a case. If you were holding the phone, you had no signal.

I used it for a year with no case and didn’t drop a call once ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

We're probably both right. I did exaggerate slightly - what I said was true but not always - if you had a really strong signal the problem might not be noticeable, and I'd expect that the different frequency bands used in different countries made a difference as well. It was certainly a huge frustration for me - the product was not fit for purpose. Easily worked around sure, but still a big deal.

The Magic Mouse 2 charging situation is entirely by design. I'm totally serious.

Apple stated they don't want people to leave the mouse plugged in forever, hence having an unnecessary wire, so the design ended up the way it is to force wireless use.

I don't really mind, can see that point I guess. I like the MM2 to be perfectly frank, but I recognise that I'm a minority.

how dare the users use a product not like the designers intended...

Gonna love seeing the last echos of the RDF finally fade, as there will be no third coming...

I write for a living. Jumped on the new MacBok Pro without test driving it. ouldd not type with out making lots of errors. Gave it to my daughter and went with an Airbook. She bought a separate keyboard to use with the Macbook.

My 2015 MBP's keyboard AND trackpad died about six months into owning the machine. I treat my computers very carefully, and this current one rarely leaves my office.

However, Apple's Genius people told me that they wouldn't offer a warranty repair, because I had apparently damaged it. They wanted several hundred dollars to replace parts, of which needed to be ordered in and would have seen me without the machine for about a week, which wasn't really ideal. At a guess, the ribbon to the motherboard had broken. But honestly this is the first computer I've ever owned that I haven't just ripped apart and fixed myself, due to the perceived complexity of the operation to do so. (I don't need the magic smoke escaping from my primary workhorse).

So since then, I've just had my mechanical keyboard and mouse plugged in, effectively making my laptop an expensive desktop. Coworkers love mechanical keyboards @ 120words/min

If the Mac books are so bad, why does HN keep buying them? Do you guys just like writing these blog posts about how much it sucks?

Didn't we know it would be worse before it ever even hit the store? Why subject yourself to that inconvenience, especially if you're a developer. You got shit to do, don't let your tools be one of your obstacles.

I had many problems with my MBP, and it came out so long after the last model, that I completely abandoned Apple after I'd say 8 years.

I think there should've been a massive recall. I don't know why people put up with spending a fortune on a laptop and you can't even type on it...

For anyone suffering from this problem on a 13" MBP non-touchbar with an elapsed warranty: you may be eligible for a free topcase replacement (the part that houses the keyboard) as Apple has identified some models that have defective batteries (and a battery repair == new topcase == new keyboard).

Info here and serial number checker here: https://www.apple.com/ca/support/13inch-macbookpro-battery-r...

I’m on my third now and just booking to take it back with more failing keys. Useless compared to the old ones.

I always considered Apple's keyboard superior but after using Macbooks (pre-2015), Apple Wired Keyboard and Magic Trackpad II for about 3 years I got severe case of RSI, I'm basically unable to write using their keyboards, never tried post 2015 ones in Macbooks though (and they're supposedly even worse?).

My symptoms are non-existent while touch typing on cheap keyboard with Cherry MX Red switches.

Using Apple feels like hitting concrete with my fingertips.

I think they're doing something REALLY wrong here and have been for some time now...

My B and J occasionally stuff up. J sporadically doesn't work and then JJ happens. Sigh.

I admit it's a pleasure to type on this keyboard all day long though.

I was toroughly disappointed when I bought the $179 'magic keyboard' from Apple (the dark one from the mac pro), and found out the tech is the outdated keyboards, with 2.5x price tag!

No single key problem on this keyboard can overshadow its biggest problem: the useless arrow keys.

I had to have my keyboard replaced twice due to BB repeat issues. Same key both times even though they supposedly replaced the entire top of the keyboard.

I still prefer working on an external keyboard, but when it's working fine I don't mind it so much.

Have a company-provided MacBook Pro 2017 here.

Aside from being much better to develop in than Windows (iTerm2 is a dream, even compared to CygWin/ConEmu) a few things seem really shitty;

1) The keyboard. It's bad. Really bad. The space key on mine is starting to stick already and its only been a few months. I'm using a cheap Logitech wireless mouse and keyboard with the keys remapped to OS X defaults.

2) Mouse handling. I have no idea what is going on over at Apple but mouse code has been awful for as long as I can remember and the Magic Mouse we were given with these laptops are probably the most unergonomic device I've ever used. They are really terrible.

I'm using a wireless Logitech mouse which is much better, but there are crasy OS issues with sensitivity/acceleration that no matter how much configuring and tweakingf I do, never feels right.

3) The last OS X update seems to have caused a LOT of issues for people using certain models of external display adapters. I've basically lost a 1/3 of my screen space because I can only get one external monitor to work at a time since the machine updated to 10.13.4.

I had a key fail on a less than one year old touchbar MBP, corp had to swap out the whole laptop, with the old one going back to apple for repair. Ridiculous that you can't pop off the keys and fix them. 2015 was the last good year for MBP so far. My 2012 era machines are still running perfectly.

Suffering the same issue on my 3 months old mbp. Never had any keyboard issues on my previous one from 2012.

I've had this problem and when I got an even newer mac I solved with a cheap plastic keyboard cover. It has completely solved the problem, but i'm dumbfounded as to why Apple hasn't simply fixed this by preventing stuff from getting under the keys using a similar method.

I had to use a new Macbook pro for a while and didn't for one (willing) second use the keyboard. I've also used Windows and Linux laptops of various configurations and really never used the keyboards. I mean, a laptop keyboard is something you use on the airplane or at a meeting. But for real work? Never. Why do people torture themselves?

But the Mac keyboards have been broken for a while. A pointless function key where the control key belongs? No one has explained that one to me yet. So, just keep the stupid thing shut and problem solved.

The worst part: As a 2016 MBP 13" owner, I cannot rely on my keyboard. The 1 and the n key fail or trigger twice sporadically. So I always carry an USB keyboard (plus adapter of course) in order to be able to really use it when I need to. Password entries with fuzzy functioning keyboards are a mess. It's a really bad experience.

I wonder what actually changed in the new design that causes this problem? The travel is obviously shorter butsomething else is fundamentally causing the problem. Does it have a smaller surface area/pad, different pad material, different coating etc...

It is a completely different design. The old one was basically a dimpled rubber sheet with some plastic-scissor-stabilized keycaps over the top.

The new one is made of little buckling metal parts.

They mainly changed designs so that they could make the keyboard thinner – the new one is something like half the depth, or less. Since key travel is reduced, they needed a snappier mechanism to keep enough tactile feel.

The feel of the new keyboards is actually impressively okay for something with so little key travel. (Personally I would prefer something with the snap of the new keyboard and at least as much travel as the old keyboard.)

The problem is that the little metal pieces get easily slightly bent and stop snapping as much as they should, and also dust gets into the contact mechanism and stops keys from registering.

For mine, it's basically any speck of debris that get's lodged, it fails to register the press until that debris moves to another spot.

I think the tolerances for "pressed" are too small for "real world" use. Any crumb will "lock up" the key.

The old trackpads on Apple laptops (pre-force touch) suffered from the same vulnerability, but there didn't seem to be a whole lot of outcry over it.

Maybe previous versions had a better "dust keepout" or the contact pad is larger so more resistant to dust.

Previous versions were of a different design such that you could shove a small sandwich under the keys and they'd still work.

I went from a Thinkpad to the 2017 13 inch MBP w/touch bar. I'm a light typist, and I actually like the keyboard. No issues for 6 months, good actuation force. Of course, sometimes I plug in the Das just to be loud. :-)

Come on mate at least read the article - it's about a manufacturing/QA issue; not ergonomics.

I did. No issues. I like it, it works.

I sometimes travel with my magic keyboard, which fits exactly over the regular keyboard. Especially helpful when you need the F-keys or ESC, like when using your favorite IDE or VI (and you didn't learn the CapsLock trick).

Any Australians here? With our excellent consumer laws I’d love to hear stories of these being taken back.

13” TB owner here with a double-responding \. Haven’t done anything about it because 95% of the time I’m using an external Filco.

I've read that we're entitled to free warranty repair/replacement, even outside the stated warranty period, if a product could reasonably be expected to work for x years and breaks before then.

Since even cheap laptop keyboards work basically forever it seems likely to be eligible?


(Massive) Australia Tax notwithstanding, I wonder if people could buy things "via" Australia in order to be able to send them back and benefit from the country's consumer replacement laws and such.

Would be fiddly, but I wonder if it would be worth it?

I use an external keyboard, but I can empathize with people using it as you normally would. I've experienced the dead spacebar and rarely use the built in keyboard.

I guess Ive been lucky. I have avoided any keyboard issues with my rMBP w/TB. I love the keyboard. I wish it worked well for everyone else.

Loved my pre Lenovo ThinkPad kB. Replaced because I hammered the etched keycap letters out by hand. Made to replace.

I bought one of these things last year around September. I had the 12 inch 2016 MacBook before it.

tl;dr buy a keyboard cover if you have this machine, or just contend with cleaning under the key with alcohol.

I've had a fairly good experience with the keyboard on these machines. The 12 inch MacBook had a perfect keyboard. I love the low travel keyboard and they really got it right.

But then on the MacBook Pro, it seems like the butterfly mechanism was changed to make it more susceptible to foreign matter causing key malfunctions. Admittedly I eat at the computer, so this is probably my fault, but the 12 inch MacBook didn't do this.

Either way, every time oddities like double characters or non-responsive keys happened, I'd carefully pry up the key, use a q-tip soaked in 70% isopropyl alcohol and just clean out the area. You have to get a LITTLE bit of alcohol into the actual switch dome. Basically, you take the q tip with alcohol on it and dab the middle of the little dome madly for a while. Then you stick the key back on and it usually works.

I got really unhappy about how often this started happening, especially since some keys' retention clips broke after so many removal cycles, so I just bought a silicone keyboard cover (the MoKo) one off Amazon. It held the keys in place.

No more problems. That's what it took. It works great now. And the cover doesn't even make it terrible to type on, due to the low travel.

The downvotes are probably because you can't pop the keys on these newer keyboards anymore, so the alcohol method doesn't apply here.

A keyboard cover does seem necessary.

Apple support literally tells you not to use a keyboard cover, which I find kind of amusing given how prone to breakage the new keyboard is without one: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT203671

Did they change them after the 2016 touch bar models?

Does the keyboard cover leave marks on the screen?

Many laptop keyboards I have had, have had failed keys, or trouble with crumbs.

just laid my 2013 MBP to rest after full 12 oz water spill onto keyboard. Have no doubt it would have lasted much longer were it not for my fumble.

Have a new MBP with old-stool keyboard (yes I have and esc key), and it feels good so far, but oh boy will I be pissed if it shits the bed.

these things are too expensive to fail that easily. "design" is one thing but, fragiltiy not ok.

Sorry, this one is kind of a dupe of my other post https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16922476 - it disappeared off the front page so quickly that I thought I’d see if a Daring Fireball link fared better. Apparently this is just some kind of anti-spam for Apple related posts though so moderators please feel free to handle as appropriate!

We'll change the URL back to the original article (from https://daringfireball.net/linked/2018/04/25/johnston-mbp-ke...). That seems fairer, as well as in keeping with the site guidelines' call for original sources (https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html).

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