Apple’s third-generation butterfly switch keyboard will only be used on the 2018 MacBook Pro, and it will keep repairing defective 2016 and 2017 laptops using problematic older components.
Apple refreshed its MacBook Pro lineup last week, and faster Intel processors weren’t the only thing to be excited about —the update also brought a quieter keyboard that’s less prone to being ruined by dust. Unfortunately for older MacBook Pro owners, Apple won’t fit its newer keyboard into older machines — not even if it is in need of repair.
A new report from MacRumors explains that Apple launched a service program for older butterfly-based MacBooks last month. The program enables users to receive a free repair for their model in the cases of keys not responding, feeling sticky or not working as expected. The program will cover the laptop for four years after the first sale of the retail unit, but they’ll have to stick with their older butterfly mechanism even after repair.
“When asked if Apple Stores and Apple Authorized Service Providers will be permitted to replace second-generation keyboards on 2016 and 2017 MacBook Pro models with the new third-generation keyboards, if necessary, Apple said, no, the third-generation keyboards are exclusive to the 2018 MacBook Pro,” reads the report.
Although Apple described the new MacBook Pro’s keyboard solely as “quieter” than its predecessors, a teardown by iFixit revealed that each key now has a silicone membrane hidden inside. The membranes make the keys quieter but can also prevent dust and other particles from damaging key mechanisms.
The hardware update comes just months ahead of macOS Mojave, another major change to the Mac platform coming later this year, which will bring a dark mode and other changes when it launches in the fall.