Uh Oh: Apple’s MacBooks Have a New Keyboard Problem

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Apple's storied troubles with its Butterfly-switch keyboards — which are haunted by reliability issues and sparked dual class-action lawsuits— appeared to be over. However, new reports of a seriously annoying space bar problem suggest otherwise


According to many user-published reports — including those collected during the last three months in this Reddit thread — the third-gen Butterfly Switch keyboards aren't exactly fixed. Rather than keys dying on users, though, the 2018 MacBook Pros and MacBook Airs suffer from a randomly-occuring issue where clicking the space bar enters two spaces. 

For  example,  those  suffering  under  this  bug  would  type  like  this.

Many had thought the membrane layer under the keys of the 3rd-gen Butterfly keys would protect against failure. I didn't experience such issues during my 2018 MacBook Air or 2018 15-inch MacBook Pro reviews, nor did it occur during my extended month-long hands on testing with the Retina Air.

I first heard about this issue when long-time macOS reviewer John Siracusa brought it up on his show, Accidental Tech Podcast, declaring he "saw double spaces appearing when [I] hit the space bar on my 2018 MacBook Air." Then, once you start to dig around, you keep finding other examples.

Siracusa also mentioned that the musicians Paul and Storm also tweeted their frustration with this issue:

David Bressler in New York tweeted on Jan. 11 that he's "sending [his] MacBook back for the fourth time because of the space bar." Tony Tsobanis, located in Bangkok, Thailand, tweeted about this, saying he brought it "into Apple" where they took "zero diagnosis" and "immediately orders replacement internals."

Twitter user @ishanagarwal24, a self-described "Tech Leaker" located in India, also feels the pain:

While it seems Apple is eager to service MacBooks facing this annoyance, handing off your laptop for days might be too much for those who rely on them. And since it doesn't seem like the first repair can fix the issue outright, users facing this issue may just have to get used to deleting half of their spaces, or running a find and replace that swaps all double spaces for single spaces.

I've reached out to Apple for comment, and will update this story if I get a response. 

Author Bio
Henry T. Casey
Henry T. Casey,
Henry is a senior writer at Laptop Mag, covering security, Apple and operating systems. Prior to joining Laptop Mag — where he's the self-described Rare Oreo Expert — he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. You can find him at your local pro wrestling events, and wondering why Apple decided to ditch its MagSafe power adapters.
Henry T. Casey, on