MacBook butterfly keyboard - like or dislike?

Trying out a MacBook with the “old”/current butterfly keyboard (I know the new Pros have an updated keyboard)… I find it to be a little stiff to compress the keys when designing type and moving nodes. Just got it, so I’m wondering if anyone else is using it and has gotten used to it and likes it?

(I typically will use a bluetooth “standard” Apple keyboard and mouse to go with it while designing, but when I need to be mobile this is what I may use.)

It’s probably just the matter of getting used to it. I actually like it when it works properly. The problem is when it gets dusty (and it does no matter what), then it doesn’t click properly and that sucks. So keep it clean.

Also, my keyboard scratches the screen when closed and little pressure added (aka carrying in a backpack). So my screen is kind of starry night when turned off, and that bothers me a bit especially when designing type.


Appreciate the feedback with your experience. I had not considered the scratching part.

Visit a fabric store and get a yard of very thin felt or very thick cotton fabric; cut it to size and use it to protect the screen when closed. It should compress enough to not damage the hinges or anything.

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Good tip, thanks George.

Has this been an issue with others as well?

The butterfly keyboard made me crazy. The keys are too close together, they are prone to failure due to dust, the arrow keys are not usable because you cannot feel where your finger is, and I constantly accidentally triggered the Esc key when I was typing the key for the figure one. I eventually gave up and went back to my old MacBook Air.


As far as I know, Apple replaces screens for free in cases like that, since it shouldn’t happen to an [expensive] portable device. So just contact them if you carry it a lot and it gets bad.

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Thanks, yeah, would hope they’d cover that if needed.

Thanks for the feedback… yeah, I’m torn. The computer seems good, but I do have some hesitancy because of the keyboard. I just got it, so haven’t had much time with it, but I do notice so far how it can be hard to tell exactly where my fingers are and differentiate the keys.

I want a new MacBook Pro but the 16" is too big and I refuse to buy the 13" until they get rid of those awful keyboards. Hopefully now that Jony is gone Apple will start making laptops that are better instead of thinner.


Using the butterfly keyboard makes me finger-ache every 30 min. Best advise: buy a mechanical keyboard and all your problems would be solved (I’m serious)

Get a 60% plastic-built keyboard if you are looking for portability. (40% can work too!)

What’s worse than giving me finger-ache is the arrow key configuration. It’s just different to all other keyboards you’ve already got used to. You would probably use arrow a lot for type designs.

After getter two new top cases for my 15" MBP, I kind of got used to the keys. Two things that I still don’t like: It is quote loud. And the full size arrow keys.

I have the 2017 15" and while I don’t hate the keyboard, I noticed that I make more typos than ever before. And I do hate the arrow keys, my muscle memory just quits on those, I can never find them blindly. I’ve given up and use an old external Apple keyboard (with inverted T arrow keys) when I use it on the desk — much better workflow. Only problem is, it has no backlight.
I’ve tried the 16" a few times, the keyboard is much better.

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I like the MB Air because of the size and portability (and so far the power has been sufficient in early tests)… and while I like the 16" (and the keyboard) from what I’ve tried, it does feel a bit big (and perhaps too much unused power?) at times. Not to mention cost savings.

I’m still using an iMac some and have the MB on a stand with external (larger) monitor, keyboard and mouse most of the time and for most of my work. So I’m still feeling torn. Really hoping I get used to the keyboard when I can’t/don’t have the peripherals hooked up.

Apple will update all the other MacBooks with the new keyboard on some point. There are rumours that there will be a 14" model. Maybe they go 12" MacBook 14"+16" MacBook Pro and 13" Air?

But the release of the 14" seems to be delayed due to the virus in China.


Will be interesting to see when those come out and what they do end up doing… I have debated whether I should take the MBA back and just hold out until a new release with an updated keyboard. But hard to tell when that would be (last/current update of the MBA was July 2019).

Just after I posted, this came out:


Nice, will have to watch to see if that pans out. Thanks for the post Georg! I got the MBA for $200 off, but it may be worth returning (have 2 weeks) and waiting to see if/when the new Airs come out.

I second a mechanical keyboard @liechtenauer . I use the Apple Standard Keyboard M0116 with orange alps switches together with an ADB to USB adapter. Typing is so much better!


@mekkablue Rainer, have you found the Air to be powerful enough for your work?

Are you running anything more intensive on it than Glyphs?

I’d need to have Indd, Ai, Ps cloud apps on there as well. I have read some reports that 8 GB models from even years past have been sufficient for some designers. I’m trying one right now, and early workflow tests have been fairly positive. Curious your experience. Thanks.