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My MacBook Keyboard is not Working? What Should I Do?

by Azrul Abas on July 14, 2022

MacBook Keyboard

A lot of users may experience issues with their MacBook Air and MacBook Pro keyboards at least once, especially with the butterfly keyboards. Unfortunately, despite switching it to make the MacBook even slimmer, the butterfly keyboard is very fragile, leading to problems such as key repeating, sticking, or not registering hits at all.

The most common and obvious ones are the dust that your MacBook keyboard accumulates over time. There could also be more nuanced issues, such as problematic apps and faulty hardware. Below, you will find tips to help you fix your keyboard issues, whatever the source of the problem is. 

How to Fix it

If you are facing this keyboard issue, the most obvious solution is to visit the Apple Service Centre or your local repair centre. However, you can troubleshoot some of these issues by yourself as well, just following these simple steps. 

  1. Clean your keyboard. As mentioned before, dust could be one of the reasons the keys are sticking and won’t register hits or it enters multiple hits.
  • Hold your MacBook at a 75-degree angle with the horizontal
  • Spray compressed air on the keys left to right and top to bottom
  • Rotate your MacBook to left and right, preserving the 75-degree angle, and repeat the spraying process on each side. 
  1. Update MacOS. It’s possible that a macOS update is required for your MacBook keyboard to work properly. Follow the standard process of installing a macOS update: 
  • Go to the Apple menu 
  • Choose About This Mac
  • In the Overview section, click Software Update
  • If there’s a pending update, click Update Now. 

MacBook Keyboard

  1. Check keyboard layout. If the keys don’t seem to produce the expected result, there might be a problem with your keyboard layout. Here’s how you can check it: 
  • Go to the Apple menu > System Preferences
  • Choose Keyboard > Input Sources
  • Select the option to Show Input menu in the menu bar
  • Click the Input menu bar icon and choose Show Keyboard Viewer
  • Make sure you’re working with the right keyboard layout.  
  1. Slow Keys. Your keyboard acts really slow with the Slow Keys setting enabled, which might make you think that your keyboard is not working. This is because you need to hold down the keys longer than usual if this setting is on. Here’s how to disable Slow Keys:  
  • Go to the Apple menu > System Preferences
  • Choose Accessibility > Keyboard
  • In the Hardware section, disable Slow Keys.  
  1. Delete .plist files. It’s possible that somewhere along the line your software settings have been changed, which contributed to keyboard malfunction. Try resetting them back to their factory defaults by deleting your .plist (or “property list”) files.  
  • Backup your computer with Time Machine or other third party software
  • Open Finder
  • Press ⌘ + Shift + G
  • Enter ~/Library/Preferences/ into the new bar and hit Go
Find and highlight these files:
  • com.apple.driver.AppleBluetoothMultitouch.trackpad.plist
  • com.apple.driver.AppleBluetoothMultitouch.mouse.plist
  • com.apple.driver.AppleHIDMouse.plist
  • com.apple.AppleMultitouchTrackpad.plist
  • com.apple.preference.trackpad.plist
Delete them and reboot your Mac. 
  1. Reset SMC, NVRAM, PRAM. Getting your Parameter RAM back to zero is a useful way of removing prescient glitches from your system. Bugs and performance issues can also be solved by resetting your Mac’s System Management Controller. We have covered this process in this article.

MacBook Pro Keyboard

How to Prevent the Issue

There’s a saying that prevention is better than cure. Here’s some of the thing you could do to prevent the keyboard malfunction to occur, or coming back again:

  • Clean the keyboard regularly, try to clean the keyboard once every month to make sure the dust and debris doesn’t do under the keycaps
  • Use a keyboard cover, the keyboard cover could protect the keyboard from the dust, but make sure you don’t close the MacBook while the cover is still on, it could cause pressure on the screen and may break the screen.

Keyboard Replacement

If the cleaning and troubleshooting don’t do anything to the issue then it could mean that your keyboard needs to be replaced immediately. Go to your local Apple Service centre or a Local service centre to have the keyboard replaced.

Mend.sg does offer MacBook Keyboard parts replacement in Singapore. Simply search for the Keyboard for the MacBook model such as the A1534 MacBook 12 inch keyboard and you can start repairing your own MacBook for an affordable option. Fret not if you're living outside of Singapore as we also ship parts to Malaysia and Brunei. 

Also don't forget to check out our other tips and tricks about MacBook such as How to Connect your AirPods to your MacBook or How to Screen Record on your MacBook.

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