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Model Number A1707. Released June 2017, this MacBook Pro features Kaby Lake processors up to the 2.8 GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor with Turbo Boost up to 3.8 GHz.

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Would it be possible to replace the touch bar with normal fn keys?

I'm interested in finding out from anyone that has looked at the mbp touch bar & not touch bar internals, if it would be possible to have the chassis body machined to allow for swapping in the non touch bar keyboard?

Basically I want to restore the physical function keys from a sanely designed (non touch bar) laptop. Is there enough space? What cabling would I need to create or modify to do this?

I'm sure there will be issues with the firmware to accomplish this. I think it would be an interesting academic exercise to sniff the bus and see what we could do to work around that. At this point I'm wanting to dig up any specs, schematics, first hand knowledge or any other helpful information for this project. If it seems promising, I'm willing to take this further. Imagine how cool it would be to have a frankenmac keyboard mod kit, lol.

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5 Answers

Chosen Solution

As you can see, entirely different machines.

MacBook Pro 13" Function Keys Late 2016 Teardown

MacBook Pro 13" Touch Bar Teardown

I don't believe this will be possible, Apple has to squeeze everything into such tiny space, therefore practically left zero space for any modifications and parts have to be custom made for each model.

MacBook Pro 13" Function Keys Late 2016 Image

Guide

MacBook Pro 13" Function Keys Late 2016 Teardown

Difficulty:

Moderate

MacBook Pro 13" Touch Bar Late 2016 Image

Guide

MacBook Pro 13" Touch Bar Teardown

Difficulty:

Moderate

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there is probably a board under there, which is probably heavily screwed or glued on, the oled panel itself is also glued on, macOS would probably give you an error since it wouldn't be able to detect the touch id sensor so you would probably have to reroute many cables, which might not even be possible

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Sadly no not possible ;-{

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I wonder if you even need to alter the chassis. The MacBook Air keyboard might simply fit, and the connector for the real keyboard portion of the MBP may be the same.

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Sorry guy just not possible.

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In keyboard options there’s a checkbox to permanently make the function keys stay on the touchbar.

all it does is swap over the fn functionality so that instead of showing you the fun keys it shows you the touchbar instead.

theres no way to physically swap out the touchbar though, just the software option to get them back permanently or app specific. I customised mine so I’m happy with it, i hardily used the function keys anyway for most apps so it’s a welcome change that needs some more software tweaks I think.

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@jonpleasetalk - The OP wanted the physical Fn keys in his 15" MacBook Pro Touch Bar system. He didn't want to set the Touch Bar into Fn mode.

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I should have been clearer. I found my way here when learning about the Touch Bar and noticed there was no reference to the fact that you can have the function keys there all the time. I think it's useful to know and much easier than considering replacing a Touch Bar with regular keys, even if it was possible.

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The dumb emoji bar sucks even if you have it set to show function keys all the time. It still "sleeps," so you have to hit it twice to reveal the Escape key (for example). Also, Apple's baffling ignorance of the Delete key continues... you can't even add a legit Delete key to the emoji bar, even though it's a strip of soft keys! WTF!

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I couldn't agree more! Great eye candy, useless in the real world as a replacement of the normal function keys.

If I was Apple I would have mounted it to the display assembly chin panel and left the Fn keys alone! Then it's in my normal sight line, I can reach up to get to it without needing to looking down and lastly not distracting.

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mike s will be eternally grateful.
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