Confirmed: 2018 MacBook Pro keyboard resists dust -- to a point

Even though Apple told us differently.

Sean Hollister Senior Editor / Reviews
When his parents denied him a Super NES, he got mad. When they traded a prize Sega Genesis for a 2400 baud modem, he got even. Years of Internet shareware, eBay'd possessions and video game testing jobs after that, he joined Engadget. He helped found The Verge, and later served as Gizmodo's reviews editor. When he's not madly testing laptops, apps, virtual reality experiences, and whatever new gadget will supposedly change the world, he likes to kick back with some games, a good Nerf blaster, and a bottle of Tejava.
Sean Hollister
2 min read
Sarah Tew/CNET

It's becoming clearer every day -- the 2018 MacBook Pro "butterfly switch" keyboard was designed to resist dust and debris, and thus avoid the sticky key issue that sometimes plagued its predecessor. 

Why would we say that, when Apple explicitly told us that the keyboard wouldn't include any dust/debris fixes?

For one thing, MacRumors reports that Apple is telling its own Canadian and European service centers differently. "The keyboard has a membrane under the keycaps to prevent debris from entering the butterfly mechanism," reads the company's internal 2018 MacBook Pro Service Readiness Guide, according to the publication. If legit, that seems pretty clear.


But for another thing, gadget repair site iFixit has now torn down the new MacBook Pro and tested the keys first-hand. "We pumped this keyboard full of particulates to test our ingress-proofing theory," writes iFixit. The result? Thanks to the membrane, dust generally settled around the edges of the keys. 

Like most things, there's still a point at which things fail. "With the addition of more particulate and some aggressive typing, the dust eventually penetrates under the sheltered clips," iFixit says. Also, grains of sand appear to be an issue. But iFixit concludes that the keyboard seems far more resistant than the 2017 model.

iFixit previously reported the existence of the new membrane and noted that it's a dead ringer for a patented Apple design called "Ingress Protection for Keyboards."    

Intriguingly, iFixit says the keys are actually slimmer now -- 1.25mm thick, compared to 1.5mm previously.

Apple didn't immediately reply to a request for comment.

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