Online Petition Calls for Apple to Redesign and Replace 2016 MacBook Keyboard

Play piano on your MacBook Pro Touch Bar with Touch Bar Piano

The 2016 and later MacBook Pro keyboard has been a point of contention—and failure—for some users, and now a petition is demanding Apple recall the laptop and install a better keyboard.

Play piano on your MacBook Pro Touch Bar with Touch Bar Piano
An online petition is calling for Apple to replace defective MacBook keyboards

Matthew Taylor set up a petition on this week saying,

Apple, it’s time: recall every MacBook Pro released since Late 2016, and replace the keyboards on all of them with new, redesigned keyboards that just work.

His petition echos complaints from other MacBook and MacBook Pro owners dealing with keyboards that stop working properly. Typically, a few keys stop responding and while sometimes a shot with compressed air brings them back to life, the more common fix is to replace the entire keyboard.

Replacing the keyboard is a pretty involved process where you take your laptop in to the Genius Bar at your local Apple store. From there, it’s shipped off to a repair facility where the entire top case gets replaced. The whole process usually takes about three days.

In some cases, the replaced keyboards eventually fail, too. I’m all too familiar with the issue because my Touch Bar MacBook Pro keyboard was replaced when a few keys stopped working. My laptop will be heading back to the Genius Bar soon because the problem has returned.

Plea for a Better MacBook Keyboard

Taylor wants Apple to make a less fragile keyboard and install that on user’s laptops instead replacing the defective components with the same design. His request makes sense considering the replacement keyboards Apple is using have a tendency to fail, too.

His online petition already has over 1,000 signatures, but that doesn’t mean Apple is going to take note. In fact, Apple is likely to continue handling keyboard failures exactly as it has been: Check keyboards at the Genius Bar when users bring their laptops in, then send the computer out for servicing.

Despite the signatures, his petition probably isn’t raising awareness for the problem. People with failing keyboards know they have a problem, and Apple follows product issues very closely. Apple knows exactly how many keyboards have been replaced and why they failed.

Apple has most likely determined the problem isn’t widespread enough to warrant anything beyond to dealing with individual issues, which means the company will continue handling each incident as a one-off repair. The upside is that Apple is probably using the data it collects from failed keyboards to improve the design. That won’t result in improved keyboards in laptops Apple has already sold, but future models—and their buyers—will reap the rewards of current owner frustration.

3 thoughts on “Online Petition Calls for Apple to Redesign and Replace 2016 MacBook Keyboard

  • I really don’t like the touchbar’s position (especially the inexplicable dead spot on the left) or the lack of a real ESC key.

    The key travel is also poor, and even the paint has already worn off several keys!

    However, the thing I can’t absolutely stand about the MacBook Pro is its horrible, awful, no-good, demon-possessed trackpad!!! Basically the palm rejection doesn’t work the way it used to on older trackpads, causing the cursor to jump around randomly as you type due to phantom clicks. This has been a widely reported issue since 2016, and it really is enough to drive one mad!!

    I have read speculation on the web that it’s a software issue related to synchronizing multiple processors in the extra-large trackpad. I’ve also read that newer versions of macOS are supposed to fix the palm rejection issues, and I just installed High Sierra (waited a while due to APFS compatibility issues) so perhaps things will get better – I certainly hope so!!

    As much as I like the beautiful screen, form factor, etc. of the current MBP, the 2012 model has a vastly superior keyboard as well a trackpad that actually works properly!!!

  • You can thank Obama for these awful keyboards. No just kidding. But while they’re at it, they should also fix the touchbar which I constantly hit by accident, launching apps, reloading pages, and triggering Siri. Ugh.

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