Apple apologizes to people having problems with the MacBook's controversial keyboard

  • Apple has apologized to users who are having issues with their keyboard on the latest generation of Apple laptops.
  • Users report that Apple's keyboard design is unreliable and sometimes keystrokes do not register.
  • Apple will repair affected models released in 2017 or before for free, but the 2018 laptops are not eligible for an out-of-warranty repair.
The keys on the keyboard take some getting adjusted to.
Todd Haselton | CNBC
The keys on the keyboard take some getting adjusted to.

Apple has apologized to its users about keyboard issues affecting its latest generation of MacBook laptops, although it said in its statement that "the vast majority of Mac notebook customers are having a positive experience with the new keyboard."

The admission is the latest sign of issues with Apple's keyboard design, which has been widely criticized, and it indicates that the newest Mac laptop models are affected by the same problems as previous versions.

"We are aware that a small number of users are having issues with their third generation butterfly keyboard and for that we are sorry," an Apple representative said in a statement. "The vast majority of Mac notebook customers are having a positive experience with the new keyboard. We recommend that any customer experiencing any issue contact AppleCare."

In 2015, Apple unveiled a new keyboard design now called the "butterfly keyboard." The design was thinner than competing keyboards, enabling Apple to make progressively thinner laptops.

But users soon started reporting a major issue with Apple's butterfly keyboards: Sometimes, after being exposed to dirt or dust, certain keys would not register. Other people reported that certain keys would register twice.

The Wall Street Journal, which first reported Apple's statement, published a story on Wednesday giving readers the option to remove all e's or r's from the post, simulating what it said it was like to read output from a malfunctioning keyboard.

"I consider these keyboards the worst products in Apple history," influential Apple blogger John Gruber wrote on Wednesday.

Apple keyboards released in 2018 included a new part inside each key designed to keep dust and other particles out, although Apple never confirmed that the design change was related to previously reported keyboard issues. 2018 laptops, including the MacBook, MacBook Pro and MacBook Air are not eligible for a free keyboard repair under Apple's current policy.

Apple declined to comment if it planned to expand its keyboard service program to 2018 models.