We have been in the laptop keyboard key replacement keys for over 10 years, and the space bar key from latest generation of Apple MacBook Pro keyboards is the most problematic key of all time, we have even seen failures straight out of a brand new box, no the key did not fall off, but when you press on the key you can just tell something was not right, when you deal with keyboard keys like we have each and every single day for the last ten years, you can just tell something was off, and it turned out a clip was broken on the space bar of a brand new MacBook Pro keyboard key.
Apple’s decision to switch from the regular scissor clip to the butterfly style clip was met with lots of applause as it led to a much bigger key cap for easier typing, a thinner clip means the actual damsons of the keyboard was thinner, as the main goal for a complete design of the keyboard was to make a thinner laptop which they achieve.. at a cost.
In general the keyboard functions and works fine, not my favorite keyboard and I have detail my personal displeasure about the keyboard keys in the blog “lets talk about MacBook pro keyboard keys” and “piece of dust can ruin a keyboard”.
We have repaired and inspected several thousands of the butterfly clip style keyboards from fourth generation MacBook Pro straight from the factory, and can say the failure rate is higher than previous design keyboard, we inspect and test the keyboards in two categories, electrical and mechanical, electrical meaning does the keyboard produce a key when you press on it, and mechanical meaning when you press on it does the key travel up and down, and if there are any damage to the keyboard, key cap and hinge clip, and the failures on butterfly generation keyboard tends to be more mechanical, and more likely than not its the space bar key.
The previous generation MacBook Pro keyboard was perfect, the keyboard functioned great, the feel of the key, the travel of the hinge clip all perfect, you actually feel like you are typing, its what a keyboard is suppose to feel like and part of the reason why apple sold millions of them.
Comparing second and third generation to the fourth generation space bar keyboard key
The above picture shows both generation of the keyboard with the key cap and hinge clip removed, and you can see the fourth generation went through a dramatic change with many changes from going with plastic secure clip versus metal clips, and a reversal of the plastic rubber silicone cup to the newer style metal mechanical button of sorts.
The most obvious change was the hinge clip, the second and third generation every space bar key uses two smaller hinge clips one on the left and right side made of plastic, the fourth generation is one continuous plastic hinge clip with two metal enforcement bar top and bottom.
The metal bars are there to give support but also give the clips from the back of the key cap something to grab on to, note when installing the key cap the side with the metal bars always face down so if you can see the full length of the two bars, you have it backwards.
The Second and Third generation space bar key was made of translucent plastic with two rather heavy duty reinforcement bars at the top and bottom, the fourth generation version went with a complete metal key which should infect make the key stronger and more reliable, but in reality this is root of all complaints with MacBook Pro keyboard.
We found the plastic clips from the back of the key to be very fragile and tend to break off from moderate use, or from heavy pounding of the keys. We note earlier some keyboards were damaged straight from the factory, so make sure you inspect all legs and clips from the back of the space key cap, if any of them are damaged or broken off then its time for a replacement as you do not want to prolong the issue as it may also lead to hinge clip and damage to the entire keyboard.
Closer Inspection of the Keyboard Key Cap and Hinge Clip
Make sure to inspect all points on the back of the keyboard key cap, to the untrained eye everything looks fine, but if the tabs are broken then it will make installation of the key impossible, save yourself the hassle and inspect before installation. In the example above the clips on the top left left and bottom left are both damaged.
The one piece hinge clip on the space bar key should have sixteen points of contacts or hinge clip legs, in the picture above four are missing, so if anyone is missing or damaged then you would need to a new hinge clip before proceeding with the install.
I hope you find this helpful and give you some perspective on the Apple MacBook Pro Space Bar, its design, flaws, and ultimate reason we think its the most problematic key of all time.
If your space bar is damaged, you can purchase a brand new apple laptop key kit from the link below.
If you need help with installation of the Apple MacBook Pro Space Bar Key click on the link below.