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The MacBook keyboard fiasco is way worse than Apple thinks (signalvnoise.com)
337 points by marvindanig 75 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 318 comments

This was previously discussed at: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19547352

Personally this is around the 15th MacBook keyboard discussion I’ve started reading. I’m not sure why I keep coming back. I wonder if the ghost of Steve Jobs experiences schadenfreude.

maybe you could merge the discussions from that thread to this one because this one got more traction

This issue (and to be fair, the removal of the escape key (I'm a vim user)) have absolutely kept me from upgrading.

I have a 2018 macbook (from work). I love how fast it is, and the touchID built in. Almost everything else is a regression:

- No USB ports

- No magsafe connector

- Useless touchbar (for me anyway). Actually worse than useless as it disrupts my previous workflows.

- Terrible keyboard even when working to spec.

It's a shame. I still have my 2009 MBP and mid-2013 rMBP and had already budgeted ~$3000 every 4-5 years for a brand new machine. As my 2013 is starting to show it's age I really have no idea what I'd get, but there's no fucking way I give Apple $3000 for a computer I know I don't like.

Wish Lenovo could match up with form factor and screen quality.

> Despite the many improvements, Apple is actually dropping the price on its flagship 15" MacBook Pro by $400

I choked on my beer

I think I understand why they got rid of old magsafe (it was very thick and was probably a limiting factor in how slim the computers are) but I can't believe they didn't create a new one. That was one of the greatest usability features of any piece of hardware, ever.

To me, MBPs long ago reached the point where additional thinness provided no utility, or at least, was greatly outweighed by the utility of having more or better ports.

Yes. I continue to hope they make a slightly thicker Macbook with a battery that lasts twice as much (~20-24 hours). I'd buy it in an instant, since it would mean I don't have to carry the charger with me everywhere I go.

I still hope they'll put the pro back into Macbook Pro - larger form factor, bigger battery, bigger screen, more key travel for heavy typing, etc.

Isn't the limiting factor the max battery size that is allowed to be brought on an airplane? Nobody wants a laptop that can't come on the plane with them.

100 watt-hour limit on batteries, you must ask for permission to fly with anything larger and if it isn't installed in a device / it's a spare it must be in checked baggage.

The 13" MBP has a 54Whr battery, the 15" an 83Whr battery.




U.S. DOT: Spares, max 2, are forbidden in checked baggage.

Lines 7-8: https://www.phmsa.dot.gov/safe-travel/batteries

In your FAA document, page 2, line 3.

Note that, generally, batteries must be in carry-on baggage, not checked.

I believe the battery capacity is limited by restrictions on the size of batteries that you are allowed to take on flights.

I love USB-C, you know you can use both the 19W and 29W charger on both the 13” and 15” MacBook?

Carrying a charger in your backpack is worse than having a laptop that weighs 500g more?

The weight is likely a wash. Its 2 different items so more opportunities for one being lost/broken. It’s easy to forget the charger. A charger is only useful if you have a place to charge. And finally, a charger means a cable sticking to an outlet, potentially out in public, which isn’t just more annoying than simply having the laptop, but increases the risk of damage.

I’m finding it hard to see a scenario where I would prefer a charger over a little additional weight on the laptop itself.

Yeah the 2014ish Retina MBPs are thin enough and the latest ones don't even feel any thinner.

Having both near me, the 2018 feels much thinner/lighter than the 2014.

But guess what? It doesn't really matter. I'd still pick the 2014 chassis if it was specced the same as the 2018.

I much prefer the new chassis simply because it's noticeably less of a pain to carry around while retaining the same performance.

I do hope the next chassis will fix the keyboard and maybe even add back the sd-card reader, not to mention introduce top spec non-touchbar models.

The silliest part is that the newest MBPs are plenty thick enough to accommodate the magsafe connector, but Apple likes to play games by making just the edge thin and hiding the other half of the machine's thickness in a big bulge underneath.

If they just extended the bulge a centimeter out to the edges it wouldn't look as slim but it would easily be able to fit magsafe, USB-A, HDMI, and maybe even RJ45.

I'm hoping this is what happens in the next redesign which should be coming soon. The iPad Pro already went for a flat edge design, so hopefully that gets carried over to the MBP.

More than that, I hate that they got rid of the charge indicator on the cable, which they easily could have kept even with USB-C charging. The old-old MacBooks with the 5 dot battery indicator were awesome, I hate having to pick up my laptop, open it, wait for the screen to turn on and then wait for the OS to update the power indicator in the status bar. That used to be visible from across the room with the old cable.

The reason the keyboard is defective is because they made it thinner and moved to a new design because the old key mechanism wouldn't fit.

Let's add a few millimeters back and give us MagSafe and the old keyboard.

The white insulation around the cable tended to wear out extremely quickly, especially with any kind of heat. It discolored, then started to come apart, especially at spots where Apple did not provide appropriate strain relief.

I think between 2013 and 2018 I went through three replacement MagSafe 2 adapters at $75 a pop.

The MagSafe idea I miss. Their implementation? No.

I find the original Apple cables generally very short lived these days. I bought a USB-C to Lightning cable to charge my phone when the Touch Bar MBP came out, and it's already come apart (< 2.5 years). Similar with the USB-C power cable. I mean, it's just $19 + $35 to replace them, but still.

I wonder whether it's related to the push to be more environmentally friendly.

I'm thinking this is probably related to them going PVC and Phtalate free. While the avoidance generally could be seen as laudable from a environmental perspective, it might have been counter productive in this particular instance, especially since the cable itself can't be replaced without replacing the entire charger.

It really has to be a nightmare trying to optimize cables for environmental friendliness, especially in an environment where the looks are so important. I don't know about all the options as I'm not in the business, especially for white cables there simply doesn't seem to be many, or even any reasonable option.

Notably, the newer generation of chargers seems to have replaceable cables. Maybe that's the least bad?

Did you mean to ask whether Apple are making their cables fall apart more easily in an effort to make the more environmentally friendly?

That's an interesting take. I don't think it holds up because their charge cables have been falling apart before the charger reaches end of life for at least as long as I've been using MacBooks, so 13 years.

Had a 2015 MBP. Loved it. But had to part ways with it half a year ago.

I bought a 2018 15' MBP last week. I wanted the 2018 model for the 6 core CPU, so did not have a choice regarding the TouchBar.

Here are some of the issues I've experienced since the purchase:

1. I keep on hitting escape multiple times because I don't know if I've touched it or not. More often than not, I will press it one time too many or not trigger it at all. I don't look down at the keyboard when I type.

2. I switched the TouchBar to show function keys (f1, f2, etc) by default. I plugged in an external monitor and was prompted if I want to extend the screen or mirror it. After selecting one of the options, there is NO WAY to change your external display settings using any keyboard shortcuts.

3. Every time I want to change volume or brightness, I have to look down at the TouchBar. It gets annoying, it is unnecessary, and again I have to look at the damn TouchBar to be sure how much I've lowered/increased the volume/brightness.

4. I use vim. It is a nuance.

I bought this to do development work, mainly because I highly value the trackpad and OSX user experience. But to be honest, I am contemplating returning it within the 14 day window because how fucking annoying the TouchBar is. Knowing that without this gimmick, the device would have more battery, more space to accommodate a proper keyboard mechanism, just makes me wonder how much out of touch with the users must the designer or product manager at Apple be? Not to mention that without it, MBP would probably cost around $150-$200 less.

The TouchBar is utter garbage. Why slap it on a $2,000+ "pro" machine? It makes the MBP line up an expensive gimmick toy for rich kids. Total cashgrab and disdain towards their customer segment who rely on these machines for actual work.

I won't go into details about the butterfly keyboard and magsafe. While those decisions are unpopular, they aren't as debilitating as the TouchBar.

I remember Steve Jobs talking about the downfall of Xerox being caused by marketing people taking over control of sales and product development. Now Apple is following the same footsteps. They're abandoning good and sound designs which got them to where they are now.

Sorry, but I had to rant. The TouchBar is utter garbage.

Given the reports from Twitter, WSJ, etc. that the 2018 keyboard isn't much better than the 2016 and 2017, in your shoes, I would return the MBP.

I was ready for an upgrade from my 2013 MBP, so I went with a Dell XPS 15. Really no complaints about it, although it is heavy/large for lugging around to a quick coffee shop jaunt. I picked up a refurb Surface Pro i5 for those, which I am just now getting around to setting up.

The XPS 15 trackpad is slightly worse than my 2013 MacBook's, but I use it mainly as a desktop replacement (it literally replaced a Skylake i7 Hackintosh I was using as my desktop.) Everything else works well.

I have WSL set up on Windows 10, which is really, really neat. It's a full Ubuntu instance in a window, without the overhead of a standard virtual machine. I had an entire LAMP development set up on it in under an hour (and most of that time was just waiting for it to run updates.)

I mainly use the Adobe suite, a web browser, and now that I'm writing software again, a LAMP stack. The XPS 15 is a perfect fit for this. I did turn automatic updates off when I first got the computer, so it prompts me to run the "seasonal" updates, not unlike macOS. Everything else was super easy to get used to.

I agree it’s garbage, but wanted to add what kind of helped me. I removed all of the default buttons/siri until there were only the volume and brightness, then I put some space between the two. That helped enough to work 60-70% of the time without looking.

Get a used or refurb'd mbp without touchbar - what do you really need 6 cores for

also fyi you can map caps lock to esc so that resolves your esc issue at the least

I'm holding onto my 2015 for dear life but it's still going very strong, i imagine i can keep using it a few more years at least

> what do you really need 6 cores for

People kept saying the same thing about wanting 32GB memory in a laptop. Look what happened.

szggzs27's workflow could be vastly different than yours, and in no way invalidates either, but assuming that there's no need for a 6 core in a laptop is profoundly judgmental and ignorant.

I got a refurbished machine. The thing is, I wanted the 8th gen cpu with 6 cores, and for me it wasn't worth dropping slightly less on a 2015/2016/2017 MBP with old hardware.

Well maintained 2015 MBP on ebay are too expensive for the kind of hardware that they have. In my opinion, at least.

>> Wish Lenovo could match up with form factor and screen quality.

The Carbon X1 has a nice 2560x1440 HDR screen and similar form factor.

Then they also have the X1 Extreme and P1 if you want 64GB of memory or a 15" version. And the T480S which hyou can still upgrade yourself, but isn't quite as slim.

One of the selling points of macs is the fact that they run macOS. Comparing other computer models purely on hardware specs doesn’t account for this.

I used to agree with you on this, but frankly at this point unless you specifically need to write iOS software or run some particular audio/video stuff (I've got a Mac in my audio stack for Logic Pro still, but I use DaVinci Resolve for video editing and don't have much call for Photoshop anymore) a modern desktop Linux can do pretty much everything that a developer's likely to deeply care about.

I went from MacOS to Fedora and haven't really looked back. I have old Macs as boxes for Logic Pro, for iOS builds, and for the occasional Photoshop work, but I don't find myself needing to carry them with me anymore.

For me, and I suspect for a lot of folks, desktop Linux is probably good enough (and, for me, enjoyable in a way that MacOS used to be but isn't anymore) to be very productive and Lenovo's hardware is fantastic.

> a modern desktop Linux can do pretty much everything that a developer's likely to deeply care about.

Except work reliably without me having to waste time fiddling around with drivers and settings.

A few weeks ago, I installed Ubuntu 18.04, the latest LTS version, on my desktop. So, this isn't some nerdy Arch or Gentoo setup, it is basically the most mainstream GNU/Linux-based OS you could possibly imagine. I couldn't even log in because the Nouveau driver would crash every time I tried. (Maybe they've never tested it on a 4K display? Or with my specific card? Who knows.)

Also, Ctrl+Alt+FN to go to a TTY did not work, so I couldn't even fix it by installing the proprietary Nvidia drivers from there.

I was able to log in by changing to a non-default desktop environment, or maybe login/display manager? I don't remember the details. Anyway, it "worked", with slideshow-tier FPS, until I installed the proprietary drivers and everything was fine.

This isn't a fluke -- it is consistent with almost 15 years of experiences trying to use GNU/Linux on the desktop.

Something like this has simply never happened to me when using an Apple product.

I've been running Ubuntu on all of my desktops and laptops for many, many years. Prior to that, I ran Redhat, and prior to that, Slackware.

For desktop especially, I've had close to zero problems over most of that time, and especially recently, though I admit that I've always used the proprietary Nvidia drivers.

My desktops have always been generic, build your own affairs, with relatively slower/older graphics cards up until the past five years, where I've been getting one generation back from the high end Nvidia cards.

There's no question that the hardware integration for OSX is better. But, for desktop at least, in my experience, Linux has been pretty close for quite a while, though I know my experience has been better than what others have reported.

You might have actually had an easier time on a nerdy arch or Gentoo setup. The Nouveau driver is heroically reverse-engineered by volunteers, and distros that ship with more recent versions of the Linux kernel might include additional features or bugfixes your hardware may need. This is specially relevant if you happen to be using a recently-released video card.

These days having to fiddle with drivers on Linux is a rarer and rarer occasion. I haven't had to worry about this ever since I ditched my NVIDIA card a couple of years ago.

What kind of hardware did you use?

You need to do some research when buying hardware that is compatible with Linux -- this is why everyone in this thread recommends Lenovo X1. It's more expensive than other laptops, but it is really compatible Linux hardware.

Also it takes some time to get driver support into Linux kernel, so for average hardware that doesn't specifically supports Linux, I'd expect about 6 months to a year after hardware release; also for a jump in video quality -- it takes Xorg some time to get proper video support, though I saw Lenovo Yoga machines working with 4K just fine a few years ago. (Disclaimer Lenovo Yoga is not as well supported in linux as Lenovo X1 carbon)

Nvidia is notoriously hostile to linux, which made it a no-go for me and I'm sticking to either AMD or Intel for my video cards, where everything works flawlessly.

I believe the point the parent is making that Apple hardware is now bad enough that having Linux on well supported hardware, would require less fiddling and would provide better user experience.

> I believe the point the parent is making that Apple hardware is now bad enough that having Linux on well supported hardware, would require less fiddling and would provide better user experience.

Exactly. Business-class machines will generally do you just fine.

My experience: most of the Lenovo T, X, and P laptops, modulo some of the tablet/Yoga features, work out of the box. I had a HP Spectre x360 13" before a Lenovo (took it back for other reasons, didn't like the keyboard) in early 2018 and it worked out of the box--and with a 4K display besides. I've used Dell's XPS 13 and XPS 15, and they worked out of the box, too.

I realized last week that I at this point can safely assume that stuff is gonna just work with my machines. I plugged in a Lenovo Thunderbolt 3 dock with two monitors, headphones, Ethernet, and a bunch of USB devices and I didn't even stop to think first whether or not that it'd break. It didn't. It is predictably acceptable, today, in 2019.

It's emphatically not perfect. I have complaints. But the showstoppers are gone, if you buy mainstream gear.

Dell Latitude and Xiaomi laptops work well too.

> What kind of hardware did you use?

NVidia 1070 Ti

> You need to do some research when buying hardware that is compatible with Linux

This backs up my point -- I don't have to waste time researching anything with macOS.

> Nvidia is notoriously hostile to linux

That may be true, but as a user, I don't care why macOS works better, or whether it's fair. I just care that it does.

> I'm sticking to either AMD or Intel for my video cards, where everything works flawlessly.

Not an option if you need CUDA support.

> I believe the point the parent is making that Apple hardware is now bad enough that having Linux on well supported hardware, would require less fiddling

Researching what hardware is supported counts as fiddling.

You wouldn’t have to research anything either if you bought a System76 or Dell Developer laptop which come with Linux preinstalled. Everything would work out of the box.

You are comparing apples and oranges by complaining that Linux didn’t work on a laptop where it didn’t come preinstalled, whereas OSX worked on one where it did. If you tried to install OSX on the laptop you installed Linux on instead it would almost certainly fail, and if itnworked it would be because of orders of magnitude more research needed to build a hackintosh.

In a comparison with Windows Linux might fail the “install on a random laptop and have it working” test, but certainly not against OSX.

What Mac do you have that supports a 1070Ti at standard throughput?

Thinkpads generally do better with Linux than your average PC or laptop. It's partly self-reinforcing - they have that reputation historically, so people buy them to run Linux on them, and thus problems get reported and fixed faster.

I used to agree with you on this, and was a Mac OS hater for years.

But even now, desktop Linux is constantly broken. I just recently spent an hour getting wifi drivers to work again, and switched back because I remembered just how frustrating it is to have everything feel like it’s “third world” computing.

What're you running on?

I ask because, in the context of this thread, everything works on the Lenovo laptops that have been mentioned. I've got two (a work and a home one, one with a discrete GPU and one without) and I dropped Fedora on them and it just worked. I keep my Macs for stuff I can't do (as mentioned elsewhere, Logic Pro and the occasional iOS build), but I've been running FC28 and then FC29 as a baseline OS for a year now with no trouble. Probably my only complaint is that the IR camera is higher in the load list than the visible-light camera so I have to remember to select the correct one for teleconferences, but if that's the biggest issue I've got with it...man, that's a pretty good place, for me.

There is definitely janky hardware out there. Would never say otherwise. But most of the time, business hardware from the big manufacturers, especially ones that will sell you a Linux laptop, will set-and-forget.

I have considered getting a Linux laptop replacement. I run Linux on multiple desktops for various reasons. I pretty much only buy desktops to run Linux, I don’t have a desktop Mac.

I have a Mac laptop because: 1) the battery life is outstanding, this is OS and hardware, 2) it just works from the standpoint of roaming between networks and connecting periferals (all be it through limited port options), 3) the experience is generally one of it just works with zero thought.

Now I won’t lie, I’ve considered Lenovo, it’s definitely on my list of what I would choose to replace my Mac laptop with, but I have plenty of experience with Windows, don’t like it. I have plenty of experience with Linux, don’t want to deal with issues when I’m disconnected and remote. So while Apple has hit a stumbling block here, for me it’s still the best experience that I’ve had using a computer.

I mean, that's totally fair. All I'm saying is that, for me and with well-supported hardware, "just works with zero thought" is where Fedora's pretty much gotten. :)

This is not my experience with a TP Carbon X1 6th gen + Fedora 29. I have no issues... You really have to choose your hardware wisely. I have found the Thinkpads the best with Dell XPS series following.

I was playing around with different versions and at one point uninstalled 2 and 3 in an attempt to fix something funky I was seeing. Apparently that was a bad idea, as removing Python also removed the Ubuntu desktop, so when I rebooted I was greeted with the command line and had to reinstall the Ubuntu desktop to get things back up and running.

Maybe to some people that makes sense, but to me that's the equivalent of uninstalling a version of .NET in Windows and then being greeted with a command line version of Windows on your next reboot.

The desktop requires Python. To uninstall a package you must uninstall its dependencies.

It's been a long time since I used apt, but you were almost certainly warned.

Consider using ASDF for userland Python version management in the future on both MacOS and Linux.

I understand the mechanics, but from a usability perspective it makes no sense that you can uninstall the interface of the OS you are using just by uninstalling a language dependency.

"The interface of the OS"--what interface? I promise you I'm not being pedantic. The OS doesn't/can't know what "the interface" is for you. Yours, to that box, is Xorg. My interface to all but two of my Linux boxes is SSH/zsh. Somebody else's might be SSH/bash. Changing the package management tools such that I have to do something nonstandard within my configuration management tools on the off chance that you fire a footgun is pretty lame, yeah? (Ditto the reverse. If I uninstall zsh, I expect something to break next time I try to SSH in.)

Choices imply the ability to make a bad one. And it's a fairly recoverable one in your case, so I gotta say the criticism feels weak.

"The interface of the OS"--what interface? I promise you I'm not being pedantic.

Sure you are.

No, I'm not. I'm telling you that there are many interfaces and that expecting generalized tools to understand your specific use case out-of-the-box is unreasonable.

The rule with Linux and drivers is and has always been: "check hardware compatibility beforehand". There are many many Linux compatible laptops that will work out of the box with no fiddling around.

It's a shame that hardware manufacturers with closed, low quality, drivers taint the image of an excellent OS for power users. However, being power users and all, the extra step of using only good hardware is not too much to ask.

As others have said, this is much agreed with... however, the hardware problem is so profound as to create a lens by which the OS isn't a required element of work.

My life is basically 3 browsers and Adobe CC and a code editor and a bunch of cloud file stores. I also connect to a pile of cloud Linux VMs in AWS and GCP, but I can use any decent terminal app for that. (Biggest problem for me is, access to my Photos on Windows, for personal life stuff.. but I can keep the old MacBook around for that).

I know a few people who need new hardware now and would consider buying a Windows laptop now for a year until the news is that Apple has fixed their stuff. And who's to say it's that much of an issue that people won't stick with Windows even then?

I'll also add: the new iMac Pros are nice, but the issues they've had with the Mac Pros make me wonder if they can even get a new notebook hardware line "right".

I like having Messages on my desktop, but I also sit at my desktop with an iPad and an iPhone. When my MacBook Air dies, I'll need a machine I don't hate.

Turns out, I probably hate Windows less than I hate new Apple laptop hardware.

And Lenovo laptops run Linux great. In fact, Linux runs on most laptops from all brands, just got to do a tiny bit of research to avoid the few laptops that do have parts that don't work.

I've got an AMD Ryzen powered Acer with Ubuntu, it runs better than when it had Windows on it.

I had to start using windows at work and with WSL it's not as bad as I expected. It took me about two weeks to get over the icky feeling and learning curve, but I've since then switched my daily driver at home to a windows PC because of the insanely great (hah) performance to price ratio. You might want to give it a try.

I mean, if one of your requirements for a laptop is that "It has to run macOS." then worrying about touchbars/keyboards/etc is mostly pointless since you have to buy whatever Apple is offering.

Absolutely. But the fact that I'm even considering switching OS's indicates the seriousness of the problem.

Is this really a selling point after the recent security issues?

FWIW, I wouldn't buy a T480s. The delta between it and the T480 isn't big and the T480 has a removable battery (and an internal battery so you can swap it without powering down or being on AC). I've had my T480 running on battery for north of 40 hours by swapping out batteries and I've also done some upgrades on it myself (2242 SSD where the WWAN card otherwise would go, more memory, etc.).

The T490...is a regression, more in line with the T480s, and it makes me sad.

The 1920x1080 non-touchscreen version T480s screen has a somewhat bad color reproduction. If you compare side by side with some of the older T4xs's, the colors a notably less vibrant. Not that one needs the most vibrant colors for coding and editing text. It's still usable, just a bit worse than you'd expect for its class.

How is the T490 a regression? I've decided to get a T490, and willing to wait out it becoming available with full options in my country. But if it's a regression, I might as well get a T480.

No second battery. The T490 is basically an improvement on the T480s, not the T480 (which makes having a T490s kinda weird). Lenovo has these weird cycles of gutting their own products before they put them back, so it'll eventually come back, but for now...ick.

I am literally buying an extra T480 to put away until I need it.

It's reported to use a thinner chassis. I haven't seen any specs but they may have done away with the removable second battery and poissibly the second RAM sslot

> Wish Lenovo could match up with form factor and screen quality.

Lenovo X1 Carbon? That's what I bought instead of a MacBook Pro 13, and I absolutely love it.

No Magsafe connector, but two Thunderbolt 3 ports, USB-C charging (even via low-end chargers, like a Nintendo Switch adapter), two full-size USB ports, HDMI out, the best laptop keyboard I've ever used, a 4K HDR screen, etc.

Yes, it's slightly thicker than a MacBook. But it uses that space to be such a better computer.

How is the trackpad? Been eyeballing the Extreme but I'm wary of the performance of the trackpad in comparison to the MBP.

My X1 Carbon (6th gen) touchpad isn’t as good as my (former) 2017 MBP.

But I am so much happier with everything else that I am willing to put up with it.

The main difference is that some of the pad click actions I found frustrating and unintuitive, but I now use the buttons which work fine.

TP Carbon X1 has the best non-Mac trackpad I have used. But honestly I don't think any trackpad is as good as the mac. It is however better than most PC trackpads

This would be my question as well. The track pad is the killer macos/mbp feature imo.

I don't mind any of those problems and I map my escape to caps lock.

I moved from Linux to a Mac for work a while ago, and I can't stand how terrible the dock and window system is.

* Alt-tab is useless. It has no way to choose a particular window without raising all the windows of the same application in the current workplace.

* What's worse, it will move workflows if there's no window open in this one.

* There's no way to say "open this application" to the dock without right clicking. Clicking an icon is a bet on whether it will open a new window, raise all the windows of the application over whatever you are doing, or move workspaces for no particular reason.

The whole system seems to be done for a one-window-per-application workflow which doesn't exist in 2019. My usual workspace has a Vim window, a terminal, and several Firefox windows open; it's impossible to move comfortably between windows without using Mission Control each time. Windows 95 had better window navigation than MacOS Mojave.

> Windows 95 had better window navigation than MacOS Mojave.

it is crazy how bad windows management is on Mac. Every Mac users that I know have installed some softwares (like spectacle) to help with this. Some people must make a lot of money selling software that solve these issues.

What's crazy is that it is still not built in.

Snapping windows on the sides is something that have existed for a really long time on other systems.

> Snapping windows on the sides is something that have existed for a really long time on other systems.

You can do a side-by-side split of two windows by long-pressing the full-screen button, but it would be nice to have something with a little more versatility out of the box. I used to use a program that let me snap windows to the sides Windows-style, but it got in the way of other gestures and I almost always just want two windows side-by-side anyway so I just use the built-in functionality now.

Largely agree, window management on OSX is odd to me. However, you are looking for alt-~ (tilde), which will switch windows of the same application. That was a game changer. Still honestly don't see a reason to have those separated.

The problem is that there is no combined shortcut for both.

Let's say I'm focused on my terminal, and I want to focus on the Firefox window that's besides me. The shortcut is Alt-tab Alt-~, but after doing the first key:

1. All Firefox windows in the current workspace go to the top of my screen

2. If there were no Firefox windows in the current workspace, OSX helpfully moves to the next one.

3. Even after that happens, I need to cycle among all Firefox windows. There's no way to Alt-tab repeatedly between pairs of windows of different applications.

You're looking for Cmd-Tab, then up/down arrow once you've selected the desired app. This will display a window selector.

Once you pick the a window, it will be foregrounded. Everything else will stay the same.

Although I see your point - you can't quickly change between App A and a specific window of App B.

I find it much quicker to navigate to the app you want first, then the window you want, than through all open windows (as on Windows).

Think about it, if you have N apps open with M windows each, then on macOS you need at most N+M key presses to reach your desired window, while on Windows you may need up to NM key presses.

I almost never want to move to an arbitrary window. Most of the time I have 2 or 3 windows which I cycle between.

23 years ago, Windows allowed me to do this in 1 or 2 clicks without looking. Now it's either a lot of clicks and observation or making a mess of my workspace.

Use CMD ~ to move between the windows of the current app.

I’ve also mapped a four finger down gesture to open App exposé.

> Wish Lenovo could match up with form factor and screen quality.

I'd encourage you to check out the Dell XPS series. My XPS 15 with a 4k display seems higher quality than the macbook display. It looks really good. It also has USB A and USB C ports, and even comes with an escape key! And Linux support is top notch.

I love my XPS 13 "Sputnik" laptop. I might go for the 15" version when my mid-2014 Macbook finally dies. It would be nice to have official Linux support on the 15" model but as a practical matter, I've never heard of any serious issues running Linux on that model. I have no interest in the current Macbook line, too many regressions, and I'm very sad about that.

I would also prefer to buy an "official" Linux version, just to vote with my wallet. But the only issue I ever saw with my XPS 15 on Fedora was related to udev and external displays with the Dell USB C dock. Every time I connected and disconnected, the display IDs would iterate higher, which threw off my sway config. Relatively minor issue, and recent updates seem to have fixed it.

I rolled my eyes when I saw the new airs released with a tactile keyboard with touch ID. Like this is the keyboard I want. Why are you preventing your pro consumers from owning the best keyboard you produce?

Also it seems like an admission of defeat on the touchbar. I don't see how adoption would ever happen if the only people with access to this hardware spent 2K+ on their device.

Yeah, it's sad to me that the MacBook Air is basically the pro laptop I would want... but with too slow a processor and not enough thermal capacity (compared to the Pro). I have lived with the non-TB 2016 13" Pro for a few years now, but I would upgrade to a newer Pro in a heartbeat if they just dropped the TouchBar. Bonus points if they keep Touch ID, which was awesome the week I tried it out.

I just picked one up a little while ago. The keyboard is easily the best in the 2016+ range, but the 10W thermal capacity is really a disappointment. It's barely faster than the "MacBook" and often dips down into the 3-4W range on CPU when loaded. I see DRAM often taking up 3W on its own.

Too bad it's so anemic.

Yeah it's a shame they watered down the Air's capabilities. I got a 2012 13" air as a second laptop to travel with, and it quickly replaced my pro as a daily driver since it was powerful enough, and so comfortable to use.

I wonder how the Air would compare to an iPad pro in benchmarks.

It might just be me, but my USB-C ports were also physically failing. And since this is also the power port, charging up was becoming trickier

Apple replaced them during my update too

I’ve not heard about anyone else having this problem with loose USB-C sockets

I have had this problem occur with both my MBPros, turned out to be a tiny amount of. lint. that made its. way into. the ports. Now. I use. usb-c port covers to keep it in check.

I. of course have. keyboard. issues. as well – in case the random periods. and multiple spaces thing did not. make it obvious.

Figured this would. be a good time to. not correct the. issues. Along with the space bar my left command key doesn't always register, its shit.

Thanks for pointing this out. Seems to have instantly fixed my issues!!

Kind of funny how every random period happens at the end of a word and never during it.

When you hit the spacebar twice, the OS inserts a period. That's what you're seeing with the parent comment.

A bunch of us at my office have problems with the USB-C sockets.

We have external monitors/kb/mouse through OWC Thunderbolt 3 Docks and we have a lot of trouble with the connectors on the Macbook making everything unreliable.

The whole thing is a little crazy since the OWC dock is as expensive as an iPad or a cheap windows machine.

I used a pair of pliers to squeeze the usb-c male plug a little to keep it from falling out.

-> (===) <- squeeze the rounded ends in just a tiny bit.

(Edited to add: the goal is to bow outwards the straight sides of the plug just enough to provide grip without preventing it from being inserted into the socket)

I’m going to have to try this, thanks for the diagram. Heavier usb hubs etc fall out too easily currently.

Not sure if it's loose USB-C ports, but it seems like the adapters are very flaky. Some work well with one machine, but others take 10+ reconnects to make it detect a monitor plugged into the HDMI port

I have seen a progressive failure with my USB-C and the Plugable TBT3 doc. I never had a problem with it for the first year but now I am having to reboot the laptop regularly because it no longer talks to the display port and plugging/unplugging stops working after a while.

Also, what is up with macbookpro's Bluetooth? Everyone at my office has the 13" and no one can use Bluetooth consistantly. Lost connections, no connections, etc.

98% of the things I plug in are the power cable and my thunderbolt dock.

The power cable was the wobbliest, but is now quite firm again

I've noticed that when I have mine on my lap (I tend to sit cross-legged) it seems to put pressure on the USB-C cable/port. I never had any problems using a MacBook on my lap with the MagSafe power adapter because it would just fall off if the laptop leaned on it with too much pressure.

I think the USB-C port would be better in the back of the laptop instead of on the side where it gets in the way & becomes loose if you use it anywhere other than a flat surface.

Mine are physically failing right now as well. Soon I imagine I'll have to tape the cables in place to keep them from wiggling out.

I had the same thing with my 2016. The USB-C sockets lose their 'grip' over time.

I used the removal of a real escape key to finally remap caps lock to escape, which I really should have done over a decade ago.

Caps Lock should be remapped to Control, as the Sun God intended.

I have a required MBPro for work. I actually like the keyboard, although mine isn't broken yet. I don't like the change to the arrow keys though, I keep fumbling with them.

The touchbar is dumb and should just go. No physical escape key is such a braindead move it makes me lose respect for Apple.

Magsafe I'm kind of mixed on. Magsafe was awesome, but it also got super hot -- so hot that I'd have to change how I was sitting on the bed or couch. Haven't had that problem with the USB one.

The lack of ports is dumb too. My previous macbook was plenty light -- I don't need a thinner/lighter laptop. But thank god they left in the audio jack.

The ginormous trackpad is another braindead move. Do all Apple designers have tiny hands?

The touchbar as a pro feature always seemed a little odd to me. Aren't pro users the ones that are going to learn all of the keyboard commands? If anybody is going to make heavy use of function keys, it's pro users, right?

It feels like consumers are the users that would like to look down from the screen to see a small second touchscreen.

> I don't like the change to the arrow keys though, I keep fumbling with them.

They should fire whoever designed the arrow key layout. The up and down keys(the ones used most often) are super tiny. I regularly find myself wanting to hit up and accidentally hitting down or left.

  the removal of the escape key (I'm a vim user)
To overcome this keyboard limitation in vim, Control-[ maps to ESC for programs which respect ASCII codes (Terminal and MacVim are two examples). In combination with swapping Caps Lock and Control (via System Preferences), I have found the need for an explicit ESC key greatly mitigated.


Vim worked out of the box for me on my macbook. I guess someone fixed it?

The built-in vim (/usr/bin/vim) as well as all ones which I've custom built all respect/use the ASCII control character values instead of requiring platform-specific keyboard scan codes. Of course, YMMV and all that ;-).

That's a lot of parens you've got there. You should try emacs. :)

LOL. I do like my lisps.

When I first started using touchbar macbooks for dev work I literally was accedently hitting the escape "key" on the touchbar all the time. It was super annoying and I had to re-train my pinky not to hover over the touchbar.

The macbook touchbar is a disgrace and I have NEVER seen anybody use it to improve on their workflow.

I initially found the touch bar to be a bit gimmicky on the 2016 MacBook Pro. It was a little buggy and worked inconsistently.

But fast forward several years later to the 2018 model, and I've come to really appreciate it.

Even as a heavy user of keyboard shortcuts, I rarely, if ever, use function keys.

The only regular usage that comes to mind is editing markup in the Chrome dev tools (F2 shortcut). And I rarely used the Escape key. After remapping caps lock to control, and then using control+[ for escape, you're free to use Vim, Emacs, etc. without getting carpal tunnel. I cannot fathom people actually hitting escape on a regular basis when using Vim; that seems like ergonomic egregiousness :-).

In some ways, I find the touch bar to be _more_ efficient than dedicated function keys. Changing the brightness and volume, for example, require only a single motion--tap and move the slider to the desired setting (no need to tap first, and then slide). So instead of repeatedly tapping a dedicated key, you can immediately dial-in the desired setting.

Also, I've found when watching videos or music, having a large slider on the touch bar to adjust the video position is pretty nice. Very easy to jump around.

And context-sensitive shortcuts are generally well-designed. Some things I've found useful on the touch bar include screenshots--a visual representation of the various options are shown on the screen (current window/full-screen/or region), along with options for where to save the screenshot.

Other useful features include tab-preview and switching in Safari, word suggestions as you're typing, and type to Siri (e.g. once enabled, you can tap the Siri icon and say "remind me to do X in Y hours"). Not to mention other useful tidbits like emojis when using iMessage.

I can see how people might dismiss the touch bar without having explored its capabilities--but there's no denying the innovation behind context-sensitive dynamic keys. Overall, I'm a big fan.

On Linux (specifically gnome), the situation is a bit different as function keys tend to be more prevalent.

I've accidentally clicked siri approaching 1000 times

A vim user who doesn't use caps lock

To be real though I don't like the touch bar either.

I map caps lock to control OS-wide.

And I'm trying to train myself to use jj instead of ESC.

But still. I miss my ESC / hardware volume / hardware brightness buttons etc.

I also map caps lock to control OS-wide on both macOS (Preferences > Keyboard > Modifier Keys) and on Linux (using gnome-tweak-tool).

Instead of using jj or escape in Vim/Spacemacs, I just use control+[.

With caps lock mapped as control, it's a single fast motion--left pinky to caps lock, and right pinky to [. I've been using this setup for years. It's one of the first things I setup on a new computer/OS.

Mapping caps lock to control also has other benefits. You can quickly zip around the terminal using control+a/e/k/y/d/r etc. As an added bonus, the same keyboard shortcuts work equally well on both macOS and Linux [1].

[1] https://www.ostechnix.com/list-useful-bash-keyboard-shortcut...

On my 2016 MBP, I also map CapsLock -> Control and Left_Control to ESC. It's goofy having ESC down there but I need a physical key as I do not look at the keyboard while typing in vim - there is no haptic feedback from the glass surface.

I am 50/50 VIM / EMacs so the it's important for my control key to be on the home row.

I'm not sure why keyboards even have caps lock. It's rude in chat right :-) I started with Sun keyboards where control was on the home row. I guess if one spends hours typing long capitalized acronyms daily, then it makes sense.

It's personal preference in the end. I certainly wont buy another MBP - my 2016 has had 4 trips to the Apple store since I bought it for key replacements.

As I mentioned in another comment, you can use Control-[ to produce ESC in programs which respect ASCII control character values. So this will work with vim and emacs, but likely would not work to simulate depressing a cancel button in a GUI.

Personally, I prefer the Control-[ combo as it allows me to slide my left pinky slightly from the home row and right pinky 45 degrees up and right to produces an ESC. Over the years it has made having to hunt for a physical ESC key quite irritating for the few programs which require it :-).


Give Karabiner a shot - it can map caps lock to ESC on press and CTRL on hold.

I do this on every machine I use. I wrote a blog post with detailed instructions: https://www.dannyguo.com/blog/remap-caps-lock-to-escape-and-...

I never understood why people would want to press the same key twice to get to normal mode. Here's what I use:

  " j + k = normal mode
  inoremap jk <esc>
  inoremap kj <esc>
And yes, it does happen that I want to enter jk or kj and it exits the insert mode. Usually when pasting something and not more often than about once a month. `:set paste!` to the rescue.

I also recommend jk or kj over jj. Much faster and less strenuous.

And it has the added benefit that, if you type it when already in normal mode, it's effectively a no-op (as opposed to jj, which will move the cursor two lines down).

Try Ctrl+[

With caps lock remapped to Ctrl its easy to reach from the home keys and requires no Vim configuration.

I'm a Vim user whose caps lock key is mapped to ctrl.

I agree with everything except for a missing MagSafe. I don’t miss it at all, I prefer to have extra type c port to connect extra screens and if you accidentally pull type c cable from a MacBook it pretty much does the same as MagSafe, it disconnects without moving the laptop (I tripped on my cable multiple times and it got disconnected every time).

In the same boat over here. I have ~$3K budgeted and ready for a new laptop but I am holding on to my 2013 MBP because of the current generation's keyboard.

I have my fingers crossed that they will redesign the MBP and fix the keyboard before my 2013 dies. Hope springs eternal.

In exactly the same position. What a computer the 2013 is. Way ahead of its time and I think only cost me £1500. Best laptop in existence right now, hope it lives that little bit longer.

I had similar thoughts about the touchbar, but then i discovered you can change the touchbar to always show the old function bar buttons (brightness, volume, etc) or to show F keys instead of allowing whatever program you're using to control the touchbar.

I did that when I was using a MacBook at my old job and it helped but the problem was that it was too easy to accidentally push the buttons on the touchbar by mistake.

I've had to all but disable mine on any newer MacBook I use, too. It's become part of my first-day setup routine. Otherwise getting a finger near one of the "buttons" on the touchbar triggers it. So, away go any "buttons" near where my fingers might ever go, and away goes the per-app settings which override it, leaving me with [esc] [scrn light down] [scrn light up] on the left side, biiiiig gap, then three volume control buttons way on the right.

My personal machine's still a 2014. Keyboard's much better (almost as good as the design that came before it), I don't miss the larger touchpad at all when I'm on mine with its smaller one, and I do not want to pay extra money for a touchbar that I basically have to disable first thing to have a usable machine. Oh and I have to disable force-touch because otherwise I can't reliably click-n-drag files. So all the new fancy stuff I turn off because I can't use the machine with them on.

Getting rid of the long cable for the charging brick while raising prices is a slap in the face, too. Oh and all my stuff's still USB-A. Friggin' Apple. I hate that they can mess up so badly and still be far enough ahead of the competition that it's hard to switch.

Yeah, annoyingly I used to lightly rest my fingers on the brightness/escape function keys, so now every once in a while I won't pay attention and the screen is now either full blast or off >:-[

I'll take real buttons and the $100 the Touchbar costs back.

Thanks, I didn't know that. I've changed to the standard "Expanded Control Strip" and it is much better. I found the constantly updating touchbar visually distracting.

you can't rest your fingers on the "keys" before pressing them

you can't feel what "key" you will be pressing

you get no feedback when you press a "key"

for the last one, there is an app which makes the touchpad vibrate... which really isn't the same feeling though

so yeah... that touchbar is a useless POS...

Same, still using my early 2015 rMBP, and to be fair it is working great. As long as I use it I will never have to worry about the keyboard flaking out, plus it has magsafe.

Prior to this laptop I would upgrade every two years.

I have the same, but the proprietary SSD interface and soldered RAM mean I can no longer upgrade so have to move on. I'm looking at either the Lenovo E490 or T490 (learning towards the E). For half the price (in the UK) of a current-gen MBP with an i5, 512GB SSD and 8 GB DDR3, I can get a base model Lenovo E490 with i7 and upgrade to 1TB SSD and 24GB DDR4. There's just no competition.

How fast is the SSD on that machine?

The Mac or the Lenovo?

I'm not sure about the Macbook's bundled SSD.

For the Lenovo, I'm incorporating the cost of upgrading to a 1TB Samsung 970 Evo Plus NVMe SSD (which has a stated sequential read/write speed of 3500/3300 MB/s).

And because the Lenovo is not using a proprietary connector (as my current Macbook is) and does not have soldered RAM (as my current Macbook does), I can upgrade both of those components down the line too.

Same story. Yet, should I buy a new laptop, it’d be a very difficult decision... considering a Linux machine too.

I went with a System76 laptop for precisely this reason.

How do you like it? Been looking at those.

I have almost the same feelings about my 2018 MBP. I have been very happy with a 2018 Dell XPS 15. The build quality is absolutely in line with Apple standards (though obviously a different style).

In particular I am a stickler for the mac touchpad quality and, while Dell doesn't quite match it, it's well within the tolerable range for me.

The 4K screen and touch sensitivity are nice bonuses — I didn't think I'd ever use the touch but I have come to using it a lot in casual interactions, e.g. during meetings.

You left out serviceable hard drive. If some component on the MB fails and the laptop won't boot, data recovery is almost impossible.

True, but not a regression as my 2013 is also not serviceable.

That generation does have a proprietary removable drive. You can get a replacement from OWC (and an external enclosure to put your original drive in). I recently replaced a failed drive in a 2013 MBPr.

What do you mean? The 2013 MBP SSD is user serviceable, I just pulled one out yesterday. You can even upgrade it to a 3rd-party nvme ssd, there are kits all over Ebay.

Can "backtick" key be configured to act as "esc" by default, with acting as backtick with "fn"? Most "60%" keyboards don't have separate keys for esc and backtick/tilde either, and "F" keys are not too important (except for some games).

> Wish Lenovo could match up with form factor and screen quality.

Come on over to the Linux side of the house! Between system76, ZaReason, Purism & Dell, there are some great options for a developer laptop.

And you get to customise a system which works for you, which I consider a plus.

> the removal of the escape key (I'm a vim user))

As am I. It finally made me move ESC to Caps Lock and it's actually way better IMO.

Agree with all of your other points though.

100% agree here, moving the ESC key to Caps Lock saved my marriage and made me a better father.

They should just make touch bar be a touchable dock and be done with it. At least the thing will be somewhat useful by recovering some screen space.

>I still have my 2009 MBP and mid-2013 rMBP and had already budgeted ~$3000 every 4-5 years for a brand new machine

Hey me too. I wonder how many of us there are?

Thinkpad Carbon X1 6th gen or (7th?) - this is the mac replacement (great hardware) that runs Linux perfectly.

Dell XPS with Ubuntu has been getting stellar reviews

  imap jj <ESC>

> No USB ports

What MacBook doesn't have any standard USB ports?

C'mon, dude. You know what is meant by "USB"--that it is, effectively, "not USB-C".

USB C is just as much standard USB as USB A is.

I would tend to disagree, in a way. On a USB-C port there is USB, there might be display port and there might be thunderbolt. But only if I have the correct cable (sure, then it is a TB3 cable, not a USB-C cable). But explain that to the average Joe? Everything I connect to a USB-A port kind of works, if I add the driver.

Not everything I connect to a USB-C port works.

> USB C is just as much standard USB as USB A is.

Not in the sense of "if you buy a device, this is probably the connector it has". The fact that it's defined by USB-IF or whoever doesn't mean that USB-C devices are common or inexpensive.

Most people call USB-A "USB." So if someone says "there's no USB port here," they mean "there's no USB-A port here."

Buy a Dell XPS

I had a MBP in 2017, and then—unsurprisingly—the keyboard began to have issues. I didn't even bother asking Apple for a fix; I knew the new keyboard would have issues as well.

Instead, I got myself a reliable upper-tier ThinkPad for 2/3rds the price of a MBP (and superior hardware), installed GNU/Linux on it, and now I'm living happily ever after.

I don't know if I could go back to a MBP after this, honestly. The ThinkPad is spill-proof, sturdy, has an _excellent_ keyboard, and is pretty much the anti-MBP in every way. And it's been a dream.

This keyboard issue _is_ way worse than Apple thinks. It caused longtime customers (myself included) to entertain the thought of leaving the Apple ecosystem. And speaking for myself, I haven't looked back.

The touch pad is what keeps me on my macbook. Has any other manufacturer managed to create something comparable?

Researched this for many hours last year before upgrading to the 2018 MBP and the answer is...no.

I was super worried about the upgrade after all the complaining about this latest gen hardware. To be honest, the 2018 is still the best machine I've ever had. My theory is that most people posturing here as if they're going to switch to a ThinkPad or other windows machine don't remember how much using windows and non-apple hardware sucks. I remember quite vividly as I recently switched from a Thinkpad to the Apple ecosystem just a few years ago.

Now if you have the time to fool around with Linux, more power to you, but now that I have kids I've realized spending countless hours fiddling around with drivers and trying to find alternative software was never a good use of my time.

My anecdotal experience: Touch Bar mostly useless but also harmless, the 3rd gen keyboard isn't as bad as people say, USB-C is awesome (buying a replacement USB-C cable for my old external HDD actually gave me better speeds even though the new cable is longer), and I don't miss MagSafe now that I can plug into either side of the machine. Oh, and the audio quality is now good enough for watching movies in bed with the wife w/o an external speaker.

Depends on how you define "comparable". I don't think any can match it on precision and sensitivity, but the spectrum is very broad. Thinkpad X1 has a good one - still not as good as MBP, but way better than average.

I would also add that, at least with the most recent MBP model, there's one significant downside with its touchpad, and that's its size. On a work laptop that's used for coding, I'd much rather that space go towards full-sized arrow keys, or having dedicated Home/End/PgUp/PgDown keys that don't need Fn. Thinkpads give you that.

I recently did the same, but for different reasons:

- I wanted first-class docker support, was tired of the wonkiness of OSX + Docker. Seriously, native Docker is better than any feature OSX can offer me.

- OSX lacking a package manager and the dissonance between where OSX installed libraries vs our servers was bugging me

- This is dumb but: I run everything in Linux in production. It is nice to be able to ship binaries from my workstation and have them Just Work instead of having to cross compile everything

- My work was letting me upgrade my laptop, and I noticed I was paying literally 50% of the price for a LOT more computer with the Galgo Pro compared to a MacBook Pro.

I have honestly enjoyed using my System67 Galgo Pro WAY MORE than I ever enjoyed the MacBook. Obviously, if I was a video editor or graphic designer, I would probably go with Windows or OSX.

I just replaced my old 2011 MBP with a ThinkPad. I couldn't justify the inflated Apple cost for a poor hardware experience.

Which ThinkPad did you get?

I’m considering the same. What ThinkPad/Linux and does everything work?

I used to be a huge Think Pad fan, and wouldn’t mind going back that way

I really like the Thinkpads, but they don't run OS X

That's not entirely true... but it's not exactly kosher.


When you DO a decide to give it to Apple for a week to fix the problem, do NOT rely on TimeMachine as a backup

Mine came back with a new Logic Board, with new SSD, and would not recognize my TM backups at all. (I have 2 separate TM disks)

I decided to rebuild from scratch, and pull down most files from Dropbox, but my Github code will get reloaded as needed, and apps installed when I miss them

Who has time for another 2 days of downtime trying to work through why the TimeMachine backup was “empty” (it still takes 3TB of disk space)?

Not really happy with Apple at the moment

Something's amiss here. You can use TimeMachine to transfer data from an old computer to a new one. I've done this a few times, and clearly the new one doesn't have any piece of hardware in common with the old one.

The last time I did this it was to migrate from a 2015 to 2018 (don't ask - I would have kept the 2015 if it wasn't for my need for 32 GB).

If you use the migration assistant, you should be able to pull a TM backup that was done on computer A into computer B.

There is something else going on in your setup.

I was surprised too! I could find nothing about this online that actually helped in any way

Migration during install, migration after install, migration from Recovery system - none of them found anything, and they would hang forever looking for data

Was your original backup encrypted?

Did you log into your iCloud account before restoring? (I don't remember if that's a step that happens prior to restoring in the new Mac setup flow)

There could be some credential that needs to be provided in order to find/decrypt a TM Backup. If that key was not available, perhaps the OS/UI doesn't even show you the backup as a restore candidate.

I've had success in the past by just mounting the drive and exploring it like a regular drive of data instead of using the Time Machine application. Time Machine creates a bunch of folders (one for each backup event), but just use the one named "Latest".

I've read that some people discourage using this technique due to some permissions stuff, but I've never once had problems restoring data from a Time Machine backup using this method, and I've been doing it since 2012.

Mine are all remote, and are sparsebundle file systems, which I’ve not yet found a way to read in a reasonable way

You can flash a sparsebundle to a local disk, then browse it like a normal filestystem.

I will try that with a backup of my backup to see if I can get my data back up

One TimeMachine server or disk can be used by multiple computers. TM distinguish between them using computer name (System Preferences -> Sharing -> Computer Name.) If your computer came back with a different computer name then TM would show you no backups for this machine.

They matched

I even ran a chmod to remove all old access control data in case it was some internal user id mismatch

Still not visible

So what is the solution? Change the computer name back to the old one? How can you check that, i.e. figure out what TM backups are there for what computer names?

That sounds like quite the oversight by the TM team.

They really need to modernize Time Machine given APFS.

Unlikely given they've stopped selling the Time Capsule. More likely is replacing it with iCloud.

I just can't understand why the largest company in the world can't offer both. :/

Apple was seemingly able to do twice as much when they were 20x smaller.

I usually read TM backups from the Terminal but I discovered here is increasing lockdown from SIP since Mojave using a new entitlement dubbed "Full Disk Access". Adding Terminal.app allows for browsing external TM drives (System Preferences → Security & Privacy → Full Disk Access), which definitely came in useful lately.


Why did they replace the SSD because of the keyboard? And did they give a warning about that?

You can't replace the keyboard, you have to replace basically the whole computer, including the motherboard with the SSD soldered to it.

That's why Apple was charging $700 for this repair before the 4-year keyboard warranty program started, and why all these computers are going to be basically worth their scrap value as soon as the keyboard warranty program ends.

That is incorrect.

You have essentially 3 discrete major components that can be replaced separately on the laptops in question.

Display - Self-explanatory.

Top Case - Keyboard, upper shell, trackpad, battery, touchbar (if applicable).

Logic board - SSD (unless a 13" non-touchbar 2016/17 - those have a removable SSD), RAM, CPU. If it has a touchbar, the touchID board gets paired with it and if replacing the Top Case the touchID gets moved over.

USB-C ports are on the board on a 2 port model, separate components on a 4 port model.


Replacing a Top Case does require disconnecting every single screw and connection and removing every other component out of the thing and swapping it into the new one. Fans, USB-C ports (4 port models), display, vent/antenna module, logic board, display, etc.

It's extremely time consuming to do, even a trained tech isn't going to get that done quickly.

That + the cost of replacing Top Cases for keyboard issues is why it was/is so much money.

Ah, I've been misinformed, thanks for correcting me. It sounds like the SSD shouldn't be affected for a keyboard replacement then. I'm honestly surprised that the cost breakdown has been $600 parts + $100 labor for this, I would have guessed higher on the labor side.

I've done repairs on older laptops before, but looking at the instructions from iFixit I don't think I'd try this one.


Those instructions are for a 12" Macbook (not a 13-15" Macbook Pro).

My commentary was only directed at the MBP's, I forget the 12" models exist with how rarely I see anyone actually using one.

Taking apart a 12" MB is a pretty unpleasant experience. The 13-15" MBP's require some non-standard screwdrivers and is very tedious, but not overly complex.

They fixed other stuff as well which needed the new board.

I appreciate the extra fixes, but was not informed of this specifically until the machine was handed back

They did confirm it was backed up when they took it though, so they assumed I could recover my data

My USB-C sockets were loose, so they replaced them too - and they’re attached to the motherboard, as is everything else

They did tell me, and it’s listed in the paperwork

"It just works"*

* As long as Steve is around. I really wonder how much longer Tim Cook is going to be at the helm? Him and Ballmer should be golfing buddies by this point.

Personal anecdote, but Apple could have made an extra $2-3000 off me in the last few years if there was a MBP with a good keyboard. My 2014 MBP still works well, but I definitely would have succumbed to the temptation of new gear if I wasn't so worried about the keyboards.

I have a 2015 MBP. First model with the haptic touchpad and the last model to have a sane keyboard. It has a physical ESC key.

I'm waiting for Apple to get over its design anorexia and fix the damn keyboard. I had a brief stint with a brand new MBP from my workplace. Keyboard broke within a few weeks.

Here's to hoping my 2015 MBP lives a long and happy life.

Exactly the same. I have a 2011 and 2015 MacBook Pro, and I would have bought a new one in 2018, if they:

A) made a non-touchbar, non-fingerprint[1] version B) brought back the 2015 keyboard

IOW, I like my 2015 notebook, but would love to have the latest and greatest SSD, processor, graphics, space gray color, etc.


1. My passphrase is > 25 chars and still takes less than 2 seconds to enter; I don't need an extra ARM processor and wasted surface area / more breakable parts for a fingerprint reader. And, I'd rather have the extra +$100 spent on something else, like better screen connection technology, battery, etc.

On the flip side, I've bought a couple of extra machines I likely wouldn't have otherwise, so it might even out :-D

I'm in exactly the same boat

Same here. I'm going to keep my 2013 Model as long as I possibly can, because I've heard too many horror stories about the newer models.

Same, I just bought a refurbished 2015 MBP instead of the new model.

same here.

Top comment there has a 5 year old Macbook he's afraid to replace. My MBP is a late 2011 model, and I'm not sure what to buy when it fails. I'm really not happy with Apple at the moment.

I'll probably get a Thinkpad and put Linux on it, but I'm not convinced any Linux is ever going to be quite as pleasant an experience as OS X used to be.

Honestly, modern Ubuntu is pretty sweet. Fire it up from a USB or CD without installing, or even in a virtual machine. Every bit as smooth as OSX.

For me, it's the built-in (or free-to-download) apps. Notes, Preview (god that is such a good piece of software), and their Office-alike programs are all great and work seamlessly across desktop and mobile. Well, not Preview—I truly might be using an iPad Pro as my main machine, with a remote Linux desktop for some things, if the iPad had Preview. Safari's the only browser that gives half a damn about battery life. Finder may kind of suck but it doesn't crash or do weird crap very often. Terminal is sufficient and snappy.

Linux's equivalents all have a fair bit more jank, to put it mildly. Even for terminals, you've gotta do some research and tuning or compromise on features to get something that's as light & responsive as Terminal.app.

I've been using Linux desktop for a decade, I've configured KDE just the way I liked it a while ago and now I just move that config between the machines.

* Libre Office is good enough

* Google docs are really good for collaboration.

* Google keep is really good for synching notes between phone and desktop.

* There are cloud-based implementation of libre office that I'm looking at to replace google services

* I really like konsole and yakuake as terminal application, and for me Terminal.app always felt ancient. https://packages.debian.org/sid/konsole https://packages.debian.org/sid/yakuake

* Okular is an amazing pdf viewer (there was a thread about it recently on HN) https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19478623

* Firefox might not be as battery optimized as safari on Mac, but I believe all Mozilla's respect for user privacy makes up for the lost battery life.

Preview's more than just a PDF viewer. It's fast (opens almost instantly, low or no UI lag under almost all circumstances), light, renders PDFs excellently and without the artifacting and lag that's common in other readers. Adding signatures in it's a breeze. You can easily, visually, assemble new PDFs from pages of others. I'm not afraid of using features because they feel fragile or slow things down. It also has all the image & photo editing features I need 99% of the time.

Similar for Pages and Numbers vs. Libreoffice or Google Docs. They're faster, lighter, and (despite having spent more time using Libreoffice/Openoffice total in my life) easier to use effectively. Another case where I don't hesitate to open them because they're quick to open, don't hesitate to close them for the same reason, and can forget they're open in the background because they're so light and don't bloat or crash when left running. Notes versus Google Keep or whatever is similar—it's a real program that opens very fast and is respectful of resources when running, not some browserware junk.

KDE seems to be the most-integrated Linux UI but I've never managed to "click" with it despite trying since 2 (maybe something in the 1 series, actually? It's been a long time). I don't like the K-suite programs—they seem really heavy to me, and always have—and all the integration stuff goes out the window if you use others, plus then you're usually mixing GTK and QT which is rarely super pleasant. The "just works" integration of the K-suite has also never really "just worked" for me—bugs and inconsistency galore.

I strongly agree with all of this, and it's the main reason why I'm hesitant about switching to Linux. Preview is easily the best simple PDF viewer I've ever seen. I don't care much about word processors, but it's certainly true that KDE (and Gnome) make Linux feel clunkier than it should. It feels like they tried to look too much like Windows and not enough like OS X. Or maybe not enough like Sun OS.

Except for the ugly fonts, the lack of good touchpad support, the wonkiness on connecting external displays, the lack of good color calibration, iffy power management, and lack of rootless/SIP, you’re spot on.

I'm going to use debian as an example (since this is what I use):

* Fonts configuration & tools -- https://wiki.debian.org/Fonts

* I've always found if the touchpad was decent enough all the gestures could be easily configured and supported

* Touchpad configuration and tools -- https://wiki.debian.org/SynapticsTouchpad

* Connecting external displays stopped being wonky 5 years ago. In modern KDE this requires connecting the display and then opening display configuration dialog in System Settings.

* For color calibration, have you tried something like ColorHug 2? https://hughski.com/colorhug2.html A friend of mine has the previous version of it and likes it a lot, but I haven't had the need to calibrate my displays.

* Power management -- If you choose the hardware with good linux support.

* rootless/SIP -- there is selinux, but in general linux security model is different from apple, you just pick whatever technologies you more comfortable with and want to use.

I dont know about Ubuntu, but on my Fedora 29 install most of these are not an issue:

>ugly fonts

I dont have a problem with ugly fonts. Default fonts in Gnome F29 are nice. I use it for dev/devops work, not graphic design so my stds are not exact. Could also be I don't know what a "pretty" font is ;)

>the lack of good touchpad support,

Mac touchpads have always been vastly superior to others. However, the TP Carbon X1 has a really nice touchpad/feel to me...close enough.

>the wonkiness on connecting external displays,

I don't have any wonkiness via chaining 2 external monitors via TB3/USBC - this might be a combo of better hardware in the TP?

>the lack of good color calibration,

not in graphic design so i can't comment here

>iffy power management,

Not sure what you mean here. Latest Fedora + maybe tlp is enough for me to get mac/windows type batt life. Sleeps fine/ wakes fine etc. no issues on TP Carbon X1 (or previously on T47x series)

>and lack of rootless/SIP

AFAIK this is a pretty unique feature to macos

I suspect that power management refers to low battery life. Even on laptops with fully supported hardware, you usually see noticeably lower figures compared to Windows, or to a roughly equivalent Mac.

Could be. But IME that may have been true in the past, but I dont see that in Fedora 29 with TLP and powertop enabled on my Carbon X1. I get equiv batt run times.

I think the 2015 MBP is my favourite so far.

But you should be able to find a range of models available from 2011/2013 - 2016 refurbished at a number of dealers for much cheaper than a new model—if you don't think you need the CPU upgrade, etc.

I wish these guys were available to Canada: https://www.macofalltrades.com/

Thankfully there's a guy in my neighbourhood who has been doing the same thing for a number of years (only on a much smaller scale) who I'll likely go to in order to replace my ailing 2013 MBP soon enough.

edit: You can even find replacement 2011's for not far past $1000.

I'm an early 2011 MBP that's been upgraded and had various repairs so it's good but now out of support so no mojave and it can't run many modern external monitors that I like.

I got an X220 with Hackintosh as a backup. What a lovely keyboard!

Let's add to the anecdata: all those who've now moved away from Macs after being burnt by the keyboards and all those who are waiting to replace their Macs when this butterfly nonsense goes away.

Given the current evolution of their keyboards, they're headed to go full Tron and have just a touch screen for a keyboard.


I have a 2011 MBP too. It's basically retired to desktop-only status, due to a dying keyboard (which had a good life, I'm not complaining) and a dying hinge. I don't want to risk $3000 on another Macbook that might be nothing but grief. I've had three different CPU-intensive things trapping me on the platform - programming, photo editing (Lightroom mostly), and recording/mixing music. But Lightroom and reasonable music DAW solutions are available on the iPad now, and they no longer feel like compromises. And programming? Just push the heavy lifting into the cloud.

Sometime in the near future, I'm just cutting over to an iPad for the majority of my work, I think.

CPU and graphics are sadly the only things I can't upgrade about my old MBP. It's got 1 TB SSD and 16 GB RAM now, which makes it feel a lot younger than it really is. I also don't have any problems with keyboards and hinges yet, so I'm hoping this one will still last me a long time, but I'm getting increasingly aware that I should prepare for a replacement. This can't last forever.

(I also replaced the fans because they were too noisy, but that didn't help. Closing browser tabs did help though. I still haven't replaced the battery, despite it's been telling me for years now that it needs to be replaced. I don't think there's anything else that can be replaced.)

I didn't upgrade my 2014 MBP but instead am using a Dell Latitude. Linux desktop very nice except the machine reboots whenever I close the lid. Sound works, video works (!). Zoom has an excellent conference call app.

Aside from the reboot problem, I'm happy Linux at least comes with up-to-date tools. Apple's GPLv3 phobia meant I had to continually install Brew and Continuum (Python3) to have modern tools.

I've never understood why Linux laptops have such a hard time with suspend / resume triggered by opening and closing the lid. On my ThinkPad it will resume, but there's a 50/50 chance that the wifi will come back.

Macbook sometimes has trouble remembering my head phones, and closing the lid fixes it.

The keyboard is a big issue on Thinkpads as well. I have a X1 Carbon 6th gen and I am on my 3rd keyboard already (also, display has been replaced once as well as the motherboard) - and it's 6 months old and I babysit this thing.

Commonly known as the "keyboard lottery", some units get a decent keyboard and others a crappy one. And it's still a $2k+ machine.

I haven't had any problems with my X1. But maybe i got lucky and won the "lottery". A great machine IME

Other options might be T480/T490 series - for "close" to X1 thinness the T490s (T480s) are an option. I previouly had a T470 and also had no keyboard issues

Dell XPS dev editions are nice but I prefer the TP keyboard

Yikes. First I’ve heard of that. Every time the keyboard issue comes up “get a thinkpad!” is the HN response. Why is there not a similar rage about its keyboard issues?

Sounds like Thinkpads are not as reliable as they once were. Should I look elsewhere? Is this different for other Thinkpad models?

The Dell Precision developer edition w/ Ubuntu from the factory is a great package worth considering.

I have not had this particular problem but I also got a much less expensive T480. YMMV.

I think the best bet is the Thinkpad Carbon X1. I run Fedora 29 on it and it is flawless on all functionality. You have the user desktop difference (e.g. gnome vs osx) to get used to and the obvious os x only apps that may be superior, but all in all I recommend trialing it out.

I recently switched from a Macbook Pro to a Thinkpad T470s running Arch Linux.

I switch between GNOME, KDE, and i3. I think GNOME and KDE are as pleasant, if not more so, than macOS.

Yeah Linux will never be as smooth it seems :(

Its workable but its not like ballet.

Just buy a used 2015 MBP.

> Is Apple going to accept that they’re currently alienating and undermining decades of goodwill by shipping broken computers in mass quantities?

That's exactly what they've been doing for 10 years. iPhone 6 battery-gate. 6-Plus bending in half when you sit with it in your pocket. The 2016 butterfly keyboard, the one with 58 screws holding it in. Firmware that slows your phone for seemingly no reason. Home button's that stop working and a virtual one to replace it. Screens that won't pull down anymore unless they do it by themselves. And getting them to admit a problem exists has ALWAYS been pulling teeth. Lets face it, you signed up for this. All signs for the last 10 years have pointed to a really nice OS with an overpriced, over-rated machine underneath it. Don't get me wrong, the inside of an Apple product is like electronic-poetry, but when something is poorly designed no amount of build quality will make something last.

You got taken. You should have known this was going to happen because they did it to you last year. And the year before. And the year before. Stop whining about your $3k laptop already. You could have bought 6x i7 powered Dells for the price you paid on one Apple. You asked for this.

Not keen on the coil whine and Mad WiFi. Put me off the XPS 13.

A bit off topic, but how do Macbook users perceive typing on their keyboards relative to more business-class laptops? Coming from an older Thinkpad, I genuinely have problems when I type on a friend's 2018 Macbook. There's almost no key depth.

It has no depth, but it's crisp/tactile in a way. You can feel when it actually actuates, and you can rest you fingers on the keys without actually pressing them by accident too. Much nicer compare to things like HPs with more depth but "mushier" keys that are easier to press by accident.

Coming from a Thinkpad, it's just as accurate to type on after like a week or two it took me to get fully used to it.

...now I just hope it doesn't break :|

I think a lot of it depends on your familiarity. I have a 2016 rMB with the gen-1 butterfly keyboard, and it's not very good, but comparing my rMB, a Thinkpad keyboard, and my preferred desktop keyboard (Kinesis Advantage), the difference between the laptop keyboards is only marginal, and they're both much worse than my desktop keyboard.

Similar to how I see touchscreen keyboards - they're not very good for lengthy typing, but they allow for the optimal form factor for the device.

I find myself needing more force to hit the keys, but I can still type 120+ WPM without much of an issue. I regularly go back and forth between mechanical keyboards with MX Reds on my Windows machines and the MBP without an issue. It's actually going to my workplace's Dell Precision and other lower quality rubber membrane-based keyboards where I have the most issues.

I'm a big typer, have used a long range of mechanical keyboards and can type >100words per minute. I like the new macbook air, new macbook pro and macbook pro 2015 keyboards. It doesn't have much depth but it feels nicer and is more silent. Also, I had the keyboard problem on the new macbook air, I changed it in store and haven't had a problem since.

i got used to it pretty quick and actually prefer it now

Same. The old keyboards feel like they have too much tolerance now.

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