I have a problem with my MacBook Pro keyboard — and Apple’s official fix is absurd – Markets Insider
Apple’s MacBook and MacBook Pro use a custom keyboard
Sometimes, dust or other small particles can get stuck
under the spacebar and make it unresponsive.
Apple’s recommended fix is to basically turn the entire
keyboard nearly vertical and blast it with air until the
particle eventually falls out.
New Apple laptops released in the past two years have a keyboard
design that enables the laptops to be thinner than ever with
larger keys than before.
However, people are starting to report one specific problem with
the new MacBook keyboard design.
Sometimes, the space bar feels like there’s something stuck under
it, and it won’t click or register a space. It feels different
from the other keys.
At least, that’s how it sometimes feels on my new MacBook Pro.
I’ve wondered if a single poppy seed got stuck under my space
The Outline described the problem in a post that kicked off a
wave of people saying that they have the problem too:
“A piece of dust is capable of rendering a butterfly switch
nonfunctional. The key won’t click, and it won’t register
whatever command it’s supposed to be typing. It’s effectively
dead until someone can either shake loose the debris trapped
under it or blow at the upside-down keyboard Nintendo-cartridge
There’s even a parody song about the problem:
Apple’s solution is absurd
Of course, lots of computers have problems. Other non-Apple
keyboards can have issues, too. In many cases, people with the
most basic computer fixing skills can pop a traditional key off a
keyboard to solve the issue.
Not so with Apple’s new “butterfly keyboard” on the MacBook and
MacBook Pro. It feels like if you remove a key, you’ll break the
Apple recommends you take your laptop — some models cost
thousands of dollars, mind you — turn it nearly vertical, and
then make three passes with a can of compressed air.
I tried this, and it didn’t fix the problem. I have no idea how
big the particle is that’s under my space bar that’s causing the
problem — and I did feel pretty silly holding my laptop like
So now, according to Apple, my only option is to visit an Apple
store or authorized service provider, which, as The Outline
reported, could decide the fix is to charge me hundreds of
dollars and replace the computer’s entire “top case.” Or, I could
keep mashing the space bar and hope the problem works itself out,
saving myself money, time, and the possibility that I have to
send my expensive laptop away for service.
Apple’s designs can be beautiful, and its network of stores makes
getting quality service for a computer easy. I certainly don’t
have the expertise to fix most problems with Apple products, and
I like how thin my new MacBook Pro is. Still, this is a
frustrating problem because a keyboard is the kind of physical
interface that you would think requires just a small fix.
Keyboards are touched by human fingers all the time.
I hope that when Apple redesigns its keyboard once again, it will
include user repair as a design priority.
Have this problem or know how to fix it? Email the author at