Apple Launches Free Repair Program for Faulty MacBook Keyboards

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Following an onslaught of customer complaints, culminating in massive online petitions and class-action lawsuits, Apple has finally acknowledged that “a small percentage” of 2015-2016 MacBook and 2016-2017 MacBook Pro keyboards are susceptible to becoming stuck or breaking. The company is now promising to repair those keyboards for free, according to an official support document published to its website.

“Apple or an Apple authorized service provider will service eligible MacBook and MacBook Pro keyboards, free of charge” the company said. “The type of service will be determined after the keyboard is examined and may involve the replacement of one or more keys or the whole keyboard.”

What’s the Issue?

As noted in our previous coverage, the issue appears to stem from a new keyboard design which Apple introduced back in 2015 that utilizes a “V” shaped Butterfly mechanism as opposed to the traditional “X” shaped Scissor-switch mechanism employed in all other MacBook Pro models, including the mid-2015 MacBook Pro and earlier.

While the new design is intended to render Apple’s laptop keyboards 40 percent thinner while reducing the amount of key travel for improved typing comfort, many users who lodged complaints about the issue note that, as a result, the keys can occasionally feel “sticky,” that letters or characters can fail to appear when the key is pressed, or that keys can even repeat unexpectedly.

Moreover, due to this new Butterly design, dust and debris particles have proven to further complicate matters by easily getting stuck in the small crevices surrounding each key — ultimately leading to the affected key’s inoperability, according to multiple user complaints.

Which MacBook Models Qualify?

Models eligible to partake of Apple’s new repair program include the 2015, 2016, and 2017 12-inch MacBooks, as well as the 2016 and 2017 MacBook Pros with or without OLED Touch Bar.

  • MacBook (Retina, 12-­inch, Early 2015)
  • MacBook (Retina, 12­-inch, Early 2016)
  • MacBook (Retina, 12-­inch, 2017)
  • MacBook Pro (13­-inch, 2016, Two Thunderbolt 3 Ports)
  • MacBook Pro (13-­inch, 2017, Two Thunderbolt 3 Ports)
  • MacBook Pro (13-­inch, 2016, Four Thunderbolt 3 Ports)
  • MacBook Pro (13-­inch, 2017, Four Thunderbolt 3 Ports)
  • MacBook Pro (15-­inch, 2016)
  • MacBook Pro (15-­inch, 2017)

How Do I Get My MacBook Repaired?

Service requests can be initiated by bringing an affected MacBook or MacBook Pro model into an Apple retail store or Apple Authorized Service Provider to receive repairs free of charge, with the type of service to be determined only after the keyboard has been examined in person, MacRumors reports.

The company is reportedly extending the repair offer to eligible customers for up to four-years from the original date of purchase, making this one of Apple’s longest-lasting product repair programs in recent years. 

Apple further noted that customers who’ve already paid out-of-pocket to repair their eligible MacBook or MacBook Pro keyboards may be eligible for a refund, which The Guardian notes could amount to upwards of $500 or more depending on the severity of the damage incurred.

This is Apple’s second major worldwide repair program launched within the last 12-months, following he company’s admission back in December 2017 to intentionally slowing down older iPhone models with aging batteries — resulting in a wide-ranging battery replacement program for affected devices.

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