Prominent Apple blogger calls the MacBook's butterfly keyboards the 'worst products in Apple history'

Macbook Air Keyboard

Hollis Johnson/Business Insider

  • Apple blogger John Gruber called Apple's butterfly keyboard on its later Mac laptops "the worst product in Apple history" on Wednesday in his Daring Fireball blog.
  • Gruber's post was in reaction to a new piece from The Wall Street Journal that was written with the latest version of Apple's butterfly keyboard, which has so many typos as a result of the faulty keyboard that the piece is almost illegible.
  • Apple issued its first-ever apology to MacBook owners facing keyboard issues on Wednesday.

Apple blogger John Gruber called Apple's butterfly keyboard "the worst product in Apple history" on Wednesday in his Daring Fireball blog.

"MacBooks should have the best keyboards in the industry; instead they're the worst. They're doing lasting harm to the reputation of the MacBook brand," Gruber said in his blog post.Advertisement

Gruber's comments were made in reaction to an article in The Wall Street Journal that was written with a malfunctioning third-generation butterfly keyboard on a 2018 MacBook Air and published without correcting the typos that resulted.

Spoiler alert: The piece is almost illegible because of all the typos, which highlights how bad Apple's butterfly keyboard can be.

Macbook Air

Hollis Johnson/Business Insider


I wrote a similar piece almost a year ago with my refurbished 2016 MacBook Pro that came with a second-generation butterfly keyboard that refused to type the letter "G" unless I pressed very hard on the "G" key. Indeed, the letter "G" is missing in almost every word, which can make the piece hard to read.

In fact, I wrote that piece on a replacement butterfly keyboard - a repair performed by Apple under warranty - after the original faulty keyboard on my MacBook Pro showed similar problems, like keystrokes that refused to register, or when they did, registered as double strokes. After a second repair, I haven't experience any far.For people who rely on computers and keyboards for a living, Apple's keyboard can be a problem. The problem was being linked to dust and debris, and the company initially suggested that people clean out their keyboards with compressed air.Advertisement

When cleaning didn't work, the company addressed the problem in June 2018 with a free keyboard repair program. And the issue was supposedly addressed on a hardware level with the third-generation butterfly keyboards - the same generation that was used to write The Wall Street Journal article - with a thin film that was seemingly designed to prevent dust and debris from affecting keys. Apple made no mention as to the film's purpose to prevent dust and debris from accumulating under the keys, but it's showed up in past Apple patents.

MacBook Air keyboard


On Wednesday, Apple published its first-ever apology to MacBook users who are experiencing problems with their keyboards. The company told Business Insider that people who are still having keyboard issues should get in contact with Apple Support, the company's customer service hotline.Advertisement

Indeed, Apple's butterfly keyboard isn't the company's most popular innovation. It was designed to allow for the ultra-slim design on Apple's Mac laptops, which are beautifully thin. But it's clearly come at a price.

Macbook Air

Hollis Johnson/Business Insider

Some Mac users have complained that Apple's butterfly keyboard is uncomfortable to type on, as the keys have very little "travel" - the distance it takes to press a key. I can attest that it's not as comfortable as a regular keyboard, but it's not a deal breaker, in my opinion.

Others have complained that the butterfly keyboard is also loud. I can attest that the butterfly keyboard is much louder than previous non-butterfly Mac laptop keyboards, or most other laptop keyboards. Advertisement

With all this said, not every Mac user with a butterfly keyboard experiences issues like missing or phantom double key strokes. Apple said "The vast majority of Mac notebook customers are having a positive experience with the new keyboard" in its apology on Wednesday.

My colleague Ben Gilbert who bought a 2018 MacBook Air when it was released in November hasn't experienced any issues with his butterfly keyboard. Furthermore, Ben actually likes the shallow travel on his MacBook Air's keyboard, as he says it lets him type faster. As for the loud typing noise, Ben says "I don't find it loud. I find it clicky."