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I got the MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2016) with Touch Bar and I really don't like it. Is there any way to have it replaced it with a regular keyboard?

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The cost in parts and labor makes this cost prohibitive. Better to sell yours and buy the one you want. Specifically, the top case holds the keyboard and the logic board is different as are other internals.

Anything is possible with several thousands of dollars (or more) of course but using an external keyboard might be the practical fix until you can get a swap for another Mac arranged.

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There is a host of problems here

  1. There are absolutely no 'parts' anywhere ready for this. The old keyboards do no fit into the uppercase. After all the Touchbar is where they let their function keys protrude previously. Not to mention that previously key-travel was different, that would make the old keys protrude into the display, theoretically.

    So, you would need to disassemble the whole machine, which is so terrible a procedure that independent reviewers agree with Apple on this one: the repairability score is so low, that Apple exchanges the whole uppercase if only the keyboard is broken. The keyboard itself is really crazy to even get to and to disassemble now.

  2. Therefore, this is really a "build your own (case) and get hold of an older internal keyboard" now. With 3D printers this seems almost 'cheap' to do, and people have been doing this since 2015:

    This is the First 3D Printed Laptop Case

    But this method is of course resulting in quite a bit weaker, less sturdy than a monobloc aluminium enclosure. The example above uses PLA material.

    After tearing apart your MacBook Pro completely you'd need to adapt such a design to the fittings, ports and screws of the rests of the Apple hardware you want to, let's face it: by now it's recycle.

    Do not forget that you have to source an alternative replacement part keyboard, either compatible with or made to work wth the rest of your Franken-mac. Remeber that Apple doesn't allow recycling parts from ASAP and prefers to destroy usable parts than enabling repair shops recycling them as working parts. So you most probably have to rely on third party parts from the start.

    And you probably need to keep the Touchbar, as T2 chip and sensor as power switch seem quite integral for the design and its operation. That might result in a quite different design than what Apple sells: function key keyboard plus Touchbar! (Although that configuration is what Apple should have made in the first place.)

Obviously, I haven't tested this. There will be even more problems.

As a freakish but most fun project, this hack is a great idea. If that should succeed, it'd be even a really great show-off.

If it's really just about the keyboard than a small Bluetooth external keyboard is at less than 100$ a fraction of the cost of the above, works instantly with no labour after experimentation, and weighs only an additional few grams when travelling. As a desktop replacement, even the weight becomes quite irrelevant. Therefore a small Bluetooth keyboard is indeed a quite practical 'solution' for this disaster that Touchbar and Butterfly keyboard are and you do not like.

If you want a Mac with decent keyboard, you'd face the unwelcoming prospect of having to go back to a now used or refurbished model from 2015! They will soon enter vintage or oboslete staus. We can't get MBPs with a decent kbd anymore, perhaps never will again. Your best option here is wait while you complain vocally and write your wishes and needs to Apple. They keep saying that "Apple listens to customers". I found this rumour to be wishful thinking for the most part, so don't get your hopes rise too high on this.

An interesting middle ground might be reached in using a standard PC laptop with usable keyboard, a Hackintosh laptop, like in: 10 Best Hackintosh Laptops In 2019 (Definitive Guide) - ProTechLists.

Summary of options

In any case: Write your wants and complaints to Apple!

  • Get a (Bluetooth) external keyboard
  • Switch back to a 2015 model, or older
  • Switch to a Hackintosh
  • Build your own case

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