Apple won’t give your older MacBook an improved keyboard

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Apple MacBook Pro keyboard
How’s the sound on your 2018 MacBook Pro?
Photo: Apple

Apple refreshed its MacBook Pro lineup last week, and faster Intel processors weren’t the only thing to be excited about. The update also brought a quieter keyboard that’s less prone to being ruined by dust.

Unfortunately for existing MacBook and MacBook Pro owners, Apple won’t fit its newer keyboard into older machines — not even if yours is in need of repair.

You might be perfectly happy with the MacBook you already have, but if it packs a butterfly keyboard, there is a small chance one of its keys will stop working at any time. It seems you only have to breathe heavily on some units to damage their switches.

Apple has altered its switch design for its latest models in an effort to prevent this, but it has no plans to put its newer keyboard into older machines.

Apple’s new keyboard is strictly for the new MacBook Pro

The third-generation MacBook Pro keyboard, which is also quieter than its predecessors, will not be offered to owners of 2016 and 2017 MacBook and MacBook Pro units in need of repair, according to sources for both AppleInsider and MacRumors.

Earlier machines will be repaired with the same keyboard components they originally shipped with. Apple does not offer the option to upgrade for a fee, either. Only the 2018 MacBook Pro will get the new design if a repair is required.

It’s thought that the case of the new MacBook Pro, which the keyboard is attached to, has likely changed somewhat this year, making it incompatible with earlier machines. It doesn’t make sense for Apple to replace faulty keyboards with what clearly seems to be a flawed design otherwise.

Apple will repair faulty MacBook keyboards for free

The good news is that Apple has finally acknowledged that a small number of MacBook and MacBook Pro units could exhibit keyboard issues, and it has agreed to repair them free of charge.

It’s still too early to tell whether the third-generation butterfly keyboard is completely immune to these problems. Although Apple has added a silicone membrane to each key that should keep most particles out, there are small gaps that could allow them in.

Apple hasn’t commented on whether or not the changes were made to eliminate this problem, either. It simply bills its new keyboard as “quieter” than its predecessors.