In more announcements ahead of the upcoming WWDC, Apple has made several repair and fix announcements, including repair programs for the MacBook Pro Butterfly keyboard and one to address the backlight issues in the 13” MacBook Pro laptops dubbed ‘Flexgate’. In addition Apple has released an update to fix issues with the T2 chip in some MacBook Pro computers.
Keyboard Issues With MacBook Pro
This is the ongoing saga of the ‘butterfly’ keyboards Apple has been using in its MacBook models that have had issues with keys either not firing or firing twice, resulting in no letter or double letters typed. Back in July 2018 Apple revised the MacBook keyboards by adding a membrane that was intended to make it quieter but also to prevent dust and debris from getting under the keys and preventing firing. The updates, however didn’t fix all the issues.
Apple has now announced that the 2019 MacBook Pro will feature changes to the butterfly keyboard mechanism that should help prevent the problems that users have experienced in previous MacBook models. As a result, Apple is expanding its Keyboard Service Program to all existing butterfly keyboard models, dating back to 2015, regardless of warranty status.
We have also seen comments that the new models are also included in Apple's Keyboard Service Program, which implies that the latest models don’t have the updated keyboard but some are suggesting that the new models do have the new keyboard design. It looks like we will have to wait for the tear-down videos to come out to be sure.
Flexgate Repair Program
In addition to the Keyboard Service Program, Apple has also announced another MacBook Pro Repair Program to fix the backlight issues on the 13”MacBook Pro model dubbed ‘Flexgate’.
The Apple support article covers the following symptoms:
Display backlight continuously or intermittently shows vertical bright areas along the entire bottom of the screen
Display backlight stops working completely
What this means is that all 2016 13-inch MacBook Pro models are eligible for a free repair from Apple if they exhibit one or both of these symptoms. We understand that also includes both the Touch-Bar-equipped models with four Thunderbolt 3 ports and the non-Touch-Bar-equipped models with two Thunderbolt 3 ports.
If you have a 2016 13-inch MacBook Pro you can go to an Apple Authorised Service Provider, make an appointment at an Apple Retail Store, or contact Apple Support to arrange mail-in service via the Apple Repair Centre.
T2 Chip Supplemental Update To macOS 10.14.5
On its support pages, Apple made a simple announcement saying…
The MacBook Pro Supplemental Update addresses a firmware issue affecting 15-inch MacBook Pro computers with T2 Security Chip, and is recommended for all users.
For detailed information about the security content of this update, please visit: https://support.apple.com/kb/HT201222
There is a direct download button on the announcement page rather than as a standard system update. Information about the actual contents of the update is unavailable at the time of writing.
As you can see Apple is describing this as addressing a "firmware issue" that specifically affects versions of the 15-inch MacBook Pro equipped with the T2 Security Chip. This effectively covers all MacBook Pro models introduced since 2018. This update is not for other Apple computers that also have the T2 chip like the iMac range and remember that the T2 chip is only found in Apple computers that have an SSD. If the computer has a rotational drive then it won’t have the T2 chip.
You will already need to have installed the macOS 10.14.15 update released last week before you try to install this supplemental update. However, at the time of writing, Apple still had not updated the Security Update page to reflect this latest update to fix issues in the T2 security chip.
Because Apple hasn’t given any details on what has been fixed in this supplemental update, and may never do, because it relates to its security system, we don’t know what issues have been fixed but the T2 chip has been blamed for a number of problems since its introduction, including blocking some third-party Mac repairs from being performed, causing errors for some MacBook Pro users when installing macOS Mojave, kernel panics, and very doubtful reports of the T2 chip interfering with some professional audio interfaces.