How to Fix a MacBook Keyboard

Nathan Rizzuti Profile image

Written By:

Updated July 22, 2022

Apple users seem to love their new Magic Keyboards. The minimalist and comfortable design is widely praised among students, workers, and recreational computer users as some of the best keyboards available. But unfortunately, Apple keyboards still are subject to malfunction and damage. However, there are some standard methods for how to fix a MacBook keyboard (fixes that apply to any MacBook keyboard model). And below, we’ll be running through the most common ones.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • The most common reason for Mac keyboard issues is debris or liquid under the keys.
  • Users can easily remove debris with compressed air and perform a deeper cleaning by removing the keycaps.
  • Apple users can also go into the settings and perform updates to fix keyboard malfunctions.

Suppose you happen only to need to fix the spacebar key. In that case, you can switch to our article that specifically covers how to fix the spacebar on a keyboard.

How to Fix a Mac Keyboard

Getting to the bottom of the question, why isn’t my keyboard working, can be an annoying predicament to face on your own. Some solutions might require knowing how to clean underneath your MacBook keyboard. And this process requires knowing how to remove your Mac’s keyboard keys. And all of these tasks are why we’re laying out a few of the most common paths to fixing your Mac keyboard.

Insider Tip

You can further customize your keyboard by going to “System Preferences” and then into “Keyboard Preferences.”

And if your keyboard isn’t working, you might be interested in our article explaining how to connect a keyboard to a Mac. This way, you have something to use while your built-in keyboard is shut down.

  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Time Required: 15-60 Minutes
  • Total Steps: 3-4 
  • Tools Needed: Key Removal Tool

Clean Your MacBook

STEP 1

Take a can of compressed air and blow in a zig-zag pattern across the entire keyboard. Then, tilt the keyboard at a 75-degree angle several times and repeat the pattern to perform a complete cleaning. Do this until all loose debris is removed.

STEP 2

If your need to clean it further, you’ll have to remove the keycaps and wipe them with rubbing alcohol. (You can see our linked articles above for more information on this.)

STEP 3

Check the switches for any damage. If there is damage, you’ll need to take it to the Apple store for repair.

Update Keyboard Driver Software

STEP 1

If your keyboard is malfunctioning or not working, connect an external keyboard through one of the USB ports, or pair a wireless keyboard.

STEP 2

Click on the Apple icon in the upper left corner and go into “System Preferences.”

STEP 3

Find the “software update” section. Check for updates to see if the keyboard driver or operating system needs an update.

Warning

Apple’s butterfly switch keyboards produced in 2015 and 2016 were notorious for malfunctions. Beware of this before purchasing an older model Macbook.

STEP 4

You can also try removing any apps that you’ve recently downloaded. Sometimes, certain apps can create glitches in the keyboard.

STAT: Apple’s Magic Keyboard is 10.98″ wide. (source)

How to Fix a MacBook Keyboard FAQs

What to do if your MacBook trackpad is not working?

The most common reason is that you need to update the computer's operating system.

How do I lock the keyboard on a Mac?

You can do this by first putting your MacBook in sleep mode and then pressing Command+Shift+Power.

Why isn't my keyboard backlight turning on?

It is rare for the LED light to burn out, so it is probably an issue with the keyboard settings. You can change this in the control center.
Nathan Rizzuti Profile image