How To Fix Stuck MacBook Keyboards

Quick Fix

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One of the most frustrating problems a Mac user often encounter is a stuck key. This is particularly true for users of Macs with the butterfly keyboard, which Apple introduced with the 12-inch MacBook in 2015. Since then, Mac users have expressed their dissatisfaction with the new keyboard. In fact, three separate class action lawsuits have been filed against Apple because of these MacBook keyboard issues.

Unlike the old Mac keyboard, the butterfly mechanism on the new keyboards is a lot more complicated. You can’t just pry off the keys when it’s stuck or when you need to clean it. If you’re using a 2018 MacBook Pro, you’re lucky because the keyboard of this model comes with a thick, silicone barrier under each key. This silicone enclosure not only makes typing a lot quieter, but it also serves as protection against dust and debris. However, if you’re using a model with a butterfly keyboard before 2018, protecting your keyboard might be a little bit more complicated.

So, what do you do when a key on your new Mac keyboard gets stuck? Well, for one, you can take advantage of Apple’s free keyboard program, which was launched last June. The program offers a free fix for some MacBook and MacBook Pro models that have faulty keyboards or keys. The issues covered are:

  • Letters or characters that suddenly repeat.
  • Letters or characters that don’t appear when pressed.
  • Keys that feel sticky or are not responding in a consistent manner.

The keyboard service program also offers a refund for owners who have paid to have their Mac keyboard fixed. However, between making an appointment at an Apple Store or mailing your device to Apple Repair Center, and actually receiving your fixed Mac, it could take several weeks or even months considering the number of people affected by this keyboard issue. And most of us don’t have the luxury of time or of having a spare computer to use while waiting for our Mac keyboard to get fixed.

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Fortunately, Apple has explained the process of cleaning MacBook and MacBook Pro keyboards to remove the dust and debris underneath the keys. This cleanup process can be a short-term solution if you want to get your keys working in the meantime before taking it in for a repair. Or you could make this a preventive maintenance regimen to avoid dust from building up. To clean your Mac keyboard, follow these steps:

  • Shut down your computer before doing anything else.
  • Remove the case, keyboard protector, dust plugs and any other accessories from your Mac.
  • Hold your computer at a 75-degree angle. Hold it upright but not perfectly vertical.
  • Use a can of compressed air or a manual blower to blow on the keyboard, following left to right direction. Keep the blower or compressed air at least five inches away from the surface of the keyboard and spray air slowly.
  • Rotate your Mac to its right side and spray air on the keyboard again following the same direction.
  • After this, rotate the computer to its left side and repeat the process.

This should remove some of the dirt stuck underneath and around the keys of your keyboard. If this doesn’t fix your MacBook keyboard issues, the next step would be to get in touch with the nearest Apple Store or Service Center to have it fixed. And these are the MacBook and MacBook Pro models covered by the Apple Keyboard Service Program:

  • MacBook Retina 12-inch (Early 2015)
  • MacBook Retina 12-inch (Early 2016)
  • MacBook Retina 12­inch (2017)
  • MacBook Pro 13­inch (2016, 2 Thunderbolt 3 Ports)
  • MacBook Pro 13­inch (2017, 2 Thunderbolt 3 Ports)
  • MacBook Pro 13­inch (2016, 4 Thunderbolt 3 Ports)
  • MacBook Pro 13­inch (2017, 4 Thunderbolt 3 Ports)
  • MacBook Pro 15­inch (2016)
  • MacBook Pro 15­inch (2017)

Regularly cleaning your MacBook keyboard may help avoid issues like sticky or stuck keys. Similarly, maintaining your Mac software can be beneficial for performance. Software options like Outbyte macAries are available for this purpose, but ensure the app aligns with your specific needs before using it.

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