- The tech YouTuber Dave Lee suggested that anyone interested in buying a MacBook Pro should “hold off” until Apple fixes the issues some are experiencing on their more recent Apple laptops with butterfly-mechanism keyboards.
- Apple has publicly apologized for the issues but hasn’t indicated that it’s making any sweeping changes.
- For the repair, Apple would most likely replace the faulty keyboard with the same version that came with your laptop – and the replacement keyboard could become faulty too.
- If you buy a Mac laptop with a butterfly keyboard now, you risk getting a faulty keyboard.
Dave Lee, the tech YouTuber from the Dave2D channel, has the best advice if you’re planning on buying a new MacBook Pro – but it means waiting before you buy anything.
In a video last week, Lee talked about the issues with Apple’s butterfly-mechanism keyboards – featured on the 2015-17 MacBook, the 2018 MacBook Air, and any MacBook Pro released between 2016 and 2018, in both the 13- and 15-inch models – including keys that don’t register or that register as double strokes.
“My advice is this: If you’re thinking of buying a MacBook Pro right now, I would hold off,” Lee said.
That’s dire advice for anyone looking to get a new MacBook Pro anytime soon. But Lee is kind of right.
- Hollis Johnson/Business Insider
The problem with buying a new MacBook Pro right now
While Lee said that Apple had done well to at least address the issue, going so far as to apologize to users having problems, he spelled out his rationale for not buying a new Mac laptop right now:
“The biggest problem is that they are not actually fixing this problem. They’re not reengineering a keyboard and putting a new, problem-free keyboard in here. They’re using the exact same keyboard that your laptop shipped with. They’re not even putting the membraned version [the latest generation] in the older ones.”
That is to say: If you experience issues with the butterfly-mechanism keyboard in your Mac laptop, there’s no guarantee that a replacement will stop them from happening again, resulting in another trip to the Apple Store for a repair. That’s exactly what happened with me and my 2016 MacBook Pro, which took me two trips to the Apple Store to get the keyboard replaced.
If you want to get a new MacBook Pro right now, you’d have to gauge the risk of receiving a model with a faulty butterfly-mechanism keyboard.
It’s true that not every Mac laptop owner has experienced issues with the butterfly-mechanism keyboards. Apple said that “the vast majority of Mac notebook customers are having a positive experience with the new keyboard.”
Still, it’s a worthwhile risk to assess.
“A keyboard on a laptop should not fail with this frequency. It’s abnormal, and it’s unfortunate,” Lee said in his video.
You’re not signing yourself up for taking multiple trips to the Apple Store and going several days without your laptop if you buy a new Mac laptop right now. But the risk is there.
“I’ve seen a lot of reports on Reddit of people just going through their second, third, fourth repair process,” Lee said.
The Apple butterfly-keyboard problem is very real
Lee said that of his four Mac laptops with butterfly-mechanism keyboards, two had exhibited issues.
I have twice taken my 2016 MacBook Pro to have its keyboard replaced by Apple, and I wrote an article almost a year ago to show what it’s like to work on a faulty butterfly keyboard. Last week, The Wall Street Journal published a similar piece.
And the prominent Apple blogger John Gruber even cast Apple’s butterfly-mechanism keyboards as “the worst products in Apple history.”
In June, the company initiated a keyboard-repair program where affected users could get their keyboards replaced for free. Newer Mac laptops are being added to Apple’s program as well.
With all this said, if you need a new Mac laptop, you need a new Mac laptop. I could go on to suggest some alternatives that run Windows 10, but if you want a Mac, you don’t want anything else.
But if you are curious about alternatives, I’d check out Lenovo laptops. They have the best keyboards in the business.
Check out Lee’s video: