Not only is the 16-inch MacBook Pro's keyboard likely more reliable, but it's quieter, too

16-inch MacBook Pro display
16-inch MacBook Pro display (Image credit: Rene Ritchie / iMore)

What you need to know

  • The 16-inch MacBook Pro's keyboard is super quiet.
  • It's much quieter than the MacBook Air's butterfly keyboard.
  • It's only beaten by the whisper quiet Pixelbook Go.

Apple released the new 16-inch MacBook Pro to great applause after it confirmed that it has a new keyboard. That keyboard does away with the troublesome butterfly switches of previous machines and brings back the scissor switches that are so popular in the Magic Keyboard. That should aid reliability, but apparently it also makes the keyboard super quiet, too.

That's according to a new round of tests carried out by The Wall Street Journal (via 9to5Mac), with the new MacBook Pro only beaten by Google's Pixelbook Go.

In order to get the results Joanna Stern found an anechoic chamger at Cooper Union, an college in New York City. The theory is that because the room absorbs all sonic reflections it's possible to record just the sound coming from the keyboard in question. And with that in mind the tests began.

The loudest typing experience came from a typewriter, which won't be a huge surprise to anyone. At 60.2dB it it was louder than the MacBook Air which uses the old butterfly keyboard and came in at 41.9dB which is still fairly loud. The new 16-inch MacBook Pro keyboard produced a result of 30.3dB while the whisper quiet Pixebook Go was the winner at 30.1dB. But only just.

You can check Joanna's full video out for the lowdown on exactly what the tests entailed.

While it's true that most people are more concerned about whether their keyboard will last longer than six months than they are how much noise it makes, this is surely good news for those who were bothered by the clackity clack of that butterfly mechanism.

But really, we just want the thing to be less likely to be taken out by a bread crumb. Fingers crossed on that score.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.