Apple MacBook & MacBook Pro Keyboard Service Program: What you need to know

2016 No-Touchbar MacBook Pro
2016 No-Touchbar MacBook Pro (Image credit: Rene Ritchie / iMore)

Apple has just announced a service program for MacBook and MacBook Pro customers who have experienced issues with their keyboards and are no longer covered under AppleCare. An Apple spokesperson provided me with the following statement:

Today we launched a keyboard service program for our customers that covers a small percentage of keyboards in certain MacBook and MacBook Pro models which may exhibit one or more of the following behaviors: letters or characters that repeat unexpectedly or don't appear when pressed or keys that feel "sticky" or aren't responding in a consistent manner."Apple or an Apple Authorized Service Provider will examine the customer's device to verify eligibility and then perform the service free of charge. Service may involve the replacement of one or more keys or the whole keyboard. For more details on the program customers can visit: ."

The program covers eligible MacBook and MacBook Pro models for up to 4 years after the original retail purchase of the device. Eligible models are:

  • 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)

It's my understanding that when Apple states a small percentage of customers, the company really means a small percentage of customers. I don't want to speculate as to whether negative social sentiment provoked a response sooner than what the raw numbers would otherwise have mandated, but I wouldn't be shocked if that were the case — Apple wants to keep current customers happy so they remain future customers as well.

But, this does feel like one of those things where Apple measured a hundred times then decided it was in everyone's best interests to simply cut to the chase and launch the program.

Previously, a sampling of Apple Retail and Authorized Service Centers showed that while overall reliability for the new MacBook Pro was much higher, keyboard reliability was flat if not slightly down for the 2016 model, but higher again for the 2017 model.

Whether or not more recent versions are less prone to issues, or if Apple makes changes in future versions to make them even less prone to issues, we'll have to wait and see.

If you're taking your MacBook or MacBook Pro in for repair, make sure you backup your Mac first and fully.

If you've already paid for a repair at Apple or at an authorized service provider and would now be covered by this program, you can contact Apple and apply for a refund.

Apple Keyboard Service Program for MacBook and MacBook Pro

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Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.