According to an internal memo obtained by MacRumors, Apple is to start prioritizing repairs to MacBook Pro and MacBook devices with faulty keyboards at its physical repair centers.
In it, Genius Bar technicians are advised to repair keyboards locally instead of sending them to off-site Apple repair centers. These repairs, according to the memo, should also get priority to ensure a “next-day turnaround time.”
The company says that it has started sending more resources and service parts to Apple Stores to help them cope with the increasing number of faulty keyboards. The memo doesn’t give a specific reason for these changes, but since Apple’s butterfly keyboard made its debut in 2016, large numbers of users have reported issues.
Although it undoubtedly allows for a thinner notebook, the butterfly keyboard seems prone to “sticky keys” and other problems. While dust might be one cause, long-term heat has also been blamed for these issues.
Although there doesn’t seem to be any reliable statistics about the exact failure rate, enough butterfly keyboards must have failed to make it a huge concern for Apple. The company even announced an international service programme to provide free keyboard repairs for the many MacBooks and MacBook Pros out there with butterfly keyboards.
Although the 2018 MacBook/MacBook Pro models are not covered by this programme, Apple has conceded that they could also be affected, so expect a repair programme for them to be announced at some stage.
For now, they are mostly still covered by the original warranty or AppleCare+.
The faster turnaround time appears to be a way for Apple to deal with building frustration among MacBook owners over keyboard issues. Until now, their MacBooks had to be sent to off-site repair centers, which meant having to cope without the device for up to five days or even longer – a disaster for people who use it for work.