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Apple will begin prioritizing MacBook and MacBook Pro keyboard repairs at its brick-and-mortar locations, which could lead to much quicker service for impacted users.
That’s according to an internal memo, titled “How to support Mac customers with keyboard-related repairs in store,” that was shared with Apple Store and Genius Bar employees last week. The memo was obtained by MacRumors this week.
The memo advises Genius Bar technicians that keyboard-related repairs should be carried out “in store,” rather than shipped to an off-site Apple repair center. Apple says keyboard-related repairs should also be “prioritized” to allow for a “next-day turnaround time.”
Additionally, Apple says that it has begun shipping additional service parts and resources to Apple Stores to support the increased volume of repairs.
The internal document doesn’t cite any particular reason for the change, but it seems fairly obvious why Apple is implementing the quicker turnaround.
Since it first debuted in 2016, many users have reported problems with Apple’s butterfly keyboard mechanism.
While it allows for an overall thinner form factor, the butterfly keyboard seems prone to “sticky key” or other inconsistent typing behavior.
Some have attributed the problems to dust, although others theorize that long-term heat damage could also be a culprit.
While there isn’t any hard data that can point toward a specific failure rate, butterfly keyboard problems do appear widespread enough to be a major concern for Apple and its users. After several years of complaints, Apple instituted a worldwide service program that offered free keyboards repairs for various butterfly-equipped MacBook and MacBook Pro devices.
While the repair program doesn’t apply to the 2018 MacBook Pro or 2018 MacBook Air, Apple admitted that those devices may also be impacted. So it’s likely that a repair program will be launched for them sometime in the future. In the meantime, most of those devices should still be covered under warranty or AppleCare+.
With all of that context, it seems like the quicker turnaround is a way for Apple to alleviate frustration among its MacBook users who are impacted by keyboard issues.
Previously, repairing a butterfly keyboard often meant that the device would be shipped off to an off-site Apple repair center. That typically involved a three- to five-day turnaround time, which is obviously a long time for a professional user to be without their daily driver. Sometimes, keyboard repairs could take longer than that.
A next-day repair turnaround would obviously be more convenient for users who rely on their Mac notebooks for work or productivity. That is, of course, if Genius Bar technicians can actually make that admittedly ambitious timeframe.
If your Mac is impacted by keyboard issues, we recommend contacting Apple for support. As mentioned earlier, it’s likely that almost all butterfly keyboard-equipped devices will be covered under the free repair program or a device warranty, so repairs should be free.