MacBook Pro woes continue with fresh complaints about keyboard

Apple’s latest MacBook Pro has not had things easy since its release last fall, getting hit by a barrage of complaints about battery life, and now some new gremlins have emerged in the form of multiple reported problems with the keyboard.

The most recent MacBook Pro models use a new ‘butterfly’ switch keyboard – a redesigned and (supposedly) improved version from the original incarnation introduced in the 12-inch MacBook – allowing for a thinner design (and a slimmer overall laptop).

However, as we noted in our review, the lack of travel on the keys doesn’t make for a particularly satisfying typing experience, but beyond this, some users are now complaining of serious flaws with their MacBook Pro’s keyboard (affecting all models).

There are a range of issues at play here, as highlighted by MacRumors and on Apple’s support site. They include keys which simply aren’t working, and keys with a different ‘feel’ to the rest of the keyboard – making for a less than pleasant non-uniform typing experience – not to mention keys which make a differently pitched, louder clicking sound when pressed.

There are also reports of other technical hitches such as a key being pressed once, but registering twice.

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Retro recollections

As one user on the Apple forums put it: “My new MacBook Pro 15 is 15 calendar days old and the cursor keys on the keyboard are failing. Very disappointing. That happened last on my Commodore 64 in 1984 with the Restore key.”

Tim Cook will doubtless be pleased with that particular parallel. Still, it could have been worse, they could have drawn a comparison with the ZX Spectrum’s awful rubber keys (yes, we went there…).

Ahem – at any rate, it would seem that some MacBook Pro keyboard issues may be heat-related, specifically the louder clicking keys which are apparently only noisier when the laptop has been in use for a while and is warm.

It’s also possible dust is an issue, getting inside the keyboard and interfering with the butterfly switch mechanism (which might explain why some non-functioning keys can apparently start working again of their own accord, as the dust works free).

If you’re having keyboard issues with your MacBook Pro, however, it’s probably best not to start attacking it with your vacuum cleaner. Rather, the best course of action is to contact Apple and get things sorted via the official route.

Those who have had their laptop’s keyboard problem dealt with have said that Apple is, generally speaking, fully replacing any dodgy MacBooks with Touch Bar, but sending non-Touch Bar notebooks away for repairs.

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Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).