A1708 / EMC 2978 — Released October 2016, this entry-level MacBook Pro retains its traditional function keys (as opposed to the OLED Touch Bar). The function key version packs an Intel Core i5 and two Thunderbolt 3 ports.

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A1708 Keyboard Replacement Tips

I own an A1708 which needed a battery and keyboard replacement, which I got around to looking at a couple of weeks ago. Wondering if anyone has undertaken this and has any tips in fitting the new keyboard?

It's an absolute nightmare to remove the keyboard due to the strength of the rivets and the fact that the back of the keyboard is a PCB material, so it breaks apart rather than coming off in one piece (like older models). You have to push the plastic keys inward to remove it, since you cannot rip it out, which slightly bends the aluminium cutout for the palmrest (although this can be rebent easily).

The issue I am having is fitting the new keyboard. I have removed a few rivets, and no matter if I pull, twist or knock out the rivets (all proven methods with Air and older Retina models), the rivets do not completely come out. Apple have made the tip of the rivet slightly smaller than the rest, so a bit of the rivet will always stay inside the hole, preventing the usual keyboard screws from going in due to the shallowness of the hole.

I have not removed all the rivets, since I want to see if anyone has any ideas of a way of completely removing the rivet, or how to secure the keyboard in the palmrest properly (before I remove all of the rivets).

I've attached a picture of the palmrest with the keyboard removed, and you can see the rivets (the head on these are very strong, and always stay attached to the rivet, which makes keyboard removal very tough), the holes left after the rivets are removed, and also the screw holes (there are a few screws holding the keyboard in, mainly the corners and lower right of the palmrest when looking at the back of it).

Bonus picture attached of the state of the keyboard after removal :) Any advice is appreciated! If anyone needs any clearer pictures, let me know and I'll take some more when in shop tomorrow

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Anyone attempted replacement of this before? @mayer @oldturkey03 @danj @refectio @tcrs_circuit ?

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Looks like you just can't do it ;-{ Sorry Reece I've not done any yet.

Metal rivets changes things. Upper case assembly only now, bummer.

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@reecee not on a 2016 model. I it does not look like I am going to do even attempt it ;-)

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@danj I think it can be done (the rivets can be removed), it is just a case of figuring out the best way to secure the new keyboard in; possibly using a tap to widen the holes, or I'll explore other options...

@oldturkey03 yup, wouldn't recommend it until we have a sure solution :) I'm glad it's one of my devices and not a customer's, that's for sure

I'll update this answer with a solution when I get time to mess around with it again

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Whoa...what a mess! Gladly, I have not come across this.

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@reecee I have successfully removed the keyboard and installed in a new one. You need to get hold of a diagonal cutter that looks something like THIS

Use it to grip (not cut) the rivet, twist it a little, and then pull it out with a pivoting action. You need to keep the rivets to reuse them. Hopefully you kept the some that were already pulled out when you punched the keys out from their socket.

To install, clean the base with isopropyl alcohol just in case the keys get stuck to the frame after installing. Lay the new keyboard back and screw back the screws (remember their positions before unscrewing)

Then use the flat back of a screwdriver, or the tip of a big enough torx screwdriver to punch the old rivets back. It can be done be is tedious. The most of the rivets will go in, but some may be too deformed to use.

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Hi, sorry for late response, took a brief hiatus from iFixit since we have been very busy.

I have managed to sort out securing the new keyboard in without using the old rivets (normal screws won't hold it in, but I have sorted a solution to this), but the problem I am having is with the keyboards themselves.

I have ordered 3 from 2 different suppliers at this point; first one had a non-working "]" key, 2nd replacement one was US layout instead of UK layout and the 3rd one had issues with the function keys (this was happening on first keyboard too, but I took no notice due to the faulty key). Basically, the function keys will all register when pressed, but they will not carry out the function on the key itself (brightness, volume change, etc), only if you install software to do this.

I was wondering if you had this issue with your keyboard (assuming it was an A1708 and not the touchbar models)? I am not sure if I was just unlucky with faulty keyboards or whether they are mapped in factory. Thanks

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I will be ordering another keyboard anyway at some point, this is just a spare unit I have, so there is no rush. The function keys will work fine on palmrest swaps, so the problem is just with the new keyboards, so I am not sure if I have just been unlucky with these :( I have got a bunch of dead units with good palmrests now, so if I can't sort this, I'll just swap the palmrest out...

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Did you find the solution to the problem with the function keys? i have the exact same problem with a A1708 after changing keyboard. i even tried 2 keyboards, all keys work, but function keys only make a sound...

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Nope. They are programmed in factory (not specific to the model it's being fitted to, but for this model in general) and it seems the ones being sold are from batches before being programmed, which is why we can currently get them original new. Any original new ones will have this issue, unless they are sold after being programmed, which is unlikely, since this is one of the last stages before being assembled into the palmrest (or they may not program it until it is riveted into the palmrest).

I'm waiting for "like new" keyboards to be released, since these will be programmed and just have slight key wear from damage in factory. Like with the 12" keyboards, where all of them are in this condition currently, for the UK keyboards anyway.

Only workaround is probably programming the keys manually with key planning software, although I haven't attempted this. Touch Bar model keyboards are fine since they don't have function keys, just the A1708 keyboards have issues at the moment

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Sorry for the extremely late reply.

I don't have issues with a single keyboard. And they are all new and original, pre-programmed. You need to smack your supplier. Ha ha.

You need to get hold of a reputable distributor to get quality parts. I reside in Singapore which is a English and Mandarin speaking country, so I have direct access to original and cheap parts in China as I can speak Mandarin. It seems like a lot of European and US fixers are having trouble with getting cheap and quality parts.

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Apple now has a program for keyboard issues.

Keyboard Service Program for MacBook and MacBook Pro

https://www.apple.com/support/keyboard-s...

Eligible Models

To identify your computer's model and to see if it is eligible for this program, choose Apple () menu > About This Mac. Eligible models are listed below.

  • MacBook (Retina, 12-­inch, Early 2015)
  • MacBook (Retina, 12­-inch, Early 2016)
  • MacBook (Retina, 12-­inch, 2017)
  • MacBook Pro (13­-inch, 2016, Two Thunderbolt 3 Ports)
  • MacBook Pro (13-­inch, 2017, Two Thunderbolt 3 Ports)
  • MacBook Pro (13-­inch, 2016, Four Thunderbolt 3 Ports)
  • MacBook Pro (13-­inch, 2017, Four Thunderbolt 3 Ports)
  • MacBook Pro (15-­inch, 2016)
  • MacBook Pro (15-­inch, 2017)

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Reece will be eternally grateful.
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