MacBook Pro 2018: A Quieter Keyboard May Not Be Enough

As someone who has been living with a 2016 13-inch MacBook Pro keyboard for a couple of years, I was very intrigued to try the new keyboards on the 2018 MacBook Pros.

Spoiler alert: they're not very different.

While this third-generation keyboard offers the same butterfly mechanism as before, Apple worked to provide a quieter typing experience. That’s nice, but noise was at the bottom of the list of issues I was hoping Apple would address.

You’re still getting just 0.7mm of travel, compared to 1.3mm for the MacBook Pros of old. In fact, Apple just discontinued the 2015 15-inch MacBook Pro and its much cushier keyboard.

MORE: The 5 Biggest Changes in the New MacBook Pro

I want to be clear here. The new MacBook Pro keyboards aren’t bad; they’re just still flat and an acquired taste.

A good portion of the time, I have no problem typing quickly on my MacBook Pro, but there are too many instances where I either type a letter twice or the space bar doesn’t kick in.

Full disclosure: I carry my MacBook Pro in a backpack that’s been to the beach several times, and I’m sure at least some particles of sand have made their way under the keys. This can result in “stuck keys” and other issues.

Apple has instituted a replacement program for those whose MacBook Pro keyboards have failed on them, which could be in response to a class-action lawsuit filed against the company, but overall Apple insists that it’s just a small number of systems affected.

Apple isn’t making any claims about improved durability in its 2018 MacBook Pro keyboards. So, the failure rates should be the same as before. 

For my part, I make typos every day when messaging my colleagues in our Stride app. Will the new MacBook Pro help with this problem? We’ll have to wait and see.

Here’s the bottom line. If you were waiting to upgrade to a new MacBook in the hope that Apple had overhauled its keyboards, the new MacBook Pros probably won’t make you happy.

But I will be putting the 13-inch MacBook Pro through its paces over the course of several days to see if I make less errors. Because typos speak much louder than keyboard noise.

Mark Spoonauer
Responsible for the editorial vision for, Mark Spoonauer has been Editor in Chief of LAPTOP since 2003 and has covered technology for nearly 15 years. Mark speaks at key tech industry events and makes regular media appearances on CNBC, Fox and CNN. Mark was previously reviews editor at Mobile Computing, and his work has appeared in Wired, Popular Science and Inc.