It's safe to buy a new MacBook laptop now that Apple has finally addressed the 'butterfly' keyboard problems
- Apple is finally addressing the butterfly keyboard issues with its latest MacBook Pro and MacBook laptops.
- You get 4 years of coverage to repair a defective keyboard free of charge.
- That means it's safe again to recommend Apple's MacBooks and latest MacBook Pros that come with butterfly keyboards.
- It's still a hassle to take your laptop to get a defective key repaired, but at least it's free.
Apple finally acknowledged last Friday that its "butterfly" keyboard has a problem, and the company "will service eligible MacBook and MacBook Pro keyboards, free of charge," it said on a support webpage regarding the matter.
That means it's safe again to recommend Apple's MacBook laptops that come with the butterfly keyboard, which includes the 2016 and 2017 MacBook Pros, as well as the 2015-2017 MacBooks.
Before Apple's official recognition of the butterfly keyboard issues that several users were experiencing — myself included — it could be argued that it was the worst time to buy a new MacBook Pro or MacBook. If you did buy new Apple laptop that came with a butterfly keyboard, you'd have only one year of standard warranty to fix a keyboard issue if you faced one.
Those problems included keys that repeat unexpectedly, keys that don't register at all, or keys that "feel 'sticky' or do not respond in a consistent manner."
After the one-year standard warranty — and if you didn't buy AppleCare+ — you could be left with a massive repair bill to fix a mundane issue with your butterfly keyboard.
Repairs often involved replacing the entire top case of defective units, which includes the entire section where your keyboard lies, as well as the laptop's battery. For one of my own repairs on my 2016 15-inch MacBook Pro where the "G" key stopped working for a second time, Apple had to replace the entire logic board, which included the processor, RAM, graphics chip, storage, and the motherboard that all those components rest on. In that same repair, the company had to replace the top case, as well.
Out of warranty and without AppleCare+, those repairs could cost hundreds of rand, all for a single (or more) defective key. Thankfully, my laptop was still under warranty for the repair.
Indeed, it was a bad idea to buy a MacBook laptop with a butterfly keyboard before Apple finally recognised the problem with its butterfly keyboard, at least if you weren't planning on buying AppleCare+ for the extended coverage. I couldn't recommend those laptops in good conscience.
With Apple's keyboard service programme from MacBook and MacBook Pro, you can bring a unit with a defective keyboard to get repaired by Apple free of charge for four years after the first retail sale of your unit. It's not an extension of the standard one-year warranty, so it's not five years of coverage. If you were charged for a repair, you can get in touch with Apple to get a refund.
It's a hassle to take your unit to an Apple store or send it to Apple for a repair, as you shouldn't really have to in the first place. But at least it's free and it's better than the standard one-year warranty or buying AppleCare+ specifically for the fear that your butterfly keyboard will start acting up.
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