How to Remove a Mac’s Keyboard Keys

Nathan Rizzuti Profile image

Written By:

Updated July 22, 2022

Whether you spilled a mug of wine on your MacBook or are just curious about what’s underneath, knowing how to remove a Mac’s keyboard keys is vital to computer maintenance. It helps ensure that your top-rated keyboard stays that way long after you’ve purchased it. That said, Apple users, in particular, need to be careful when removing Mac keyboard keys to avoid accidentally damaging their keyboard during the removal process.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • Removing an Apple key is easily done with leverage from a simple tool, such as a flathead screwdriver or a credit card.
  • For best results, pry upwards with the key removal tool as you simultaneously press downwards on the bottom of the key.
  • Once the key is removed, you can clean out any loose debris or sticky substance or check the key mechanism for any damages.

And if you need more tips on how to fix your mac keyboard, we have a lot of great articles, like this one that explains how to reset your Mac keyboard.

How to Remove Mac Keyboard Keys

Removing and reattaching a keyboard key is a simple task once you know what to do and avoid.

Insider Tip

Whenever removing keys, remember that there are multiple parts underneath, like the retainer and switch. Do your best not to damage them when prying them up with your tool.

Because the space bar is the most used and damaged key on the keyboard, we have a couple of articles specifically dedicated to the space bar. One explains how to fix a spacebar on a keyboard, and another explains how to remove a spacebar from a mechanical keyboard.

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Time Required: 5-10 minutes
  • Total Steps: 6
  • Tools Needed: Key Removal Tool or Flathead Screwdriver

STEP 1

When disassembling your computer, press the power button to switch the laptop off. Also, unplug it from any electrical socket.

STEP 2

Take your key removal tool (any thin but firm, metal, or plastic tool should do) and slip it underneath the top left corner of the key. Note that, on an Apple laptop keyboard, the clips that hold the key in place are located at the top.

STEP 3

Gently pry, and as you do this, push the bottom of the key down. Do this until you hear the key click. This noise is the clips becoming undone.

STEP 4

Remove the keycap and place it aside as you clean or fix it as needed.

Warning

If you have an Apple warranty, do not attempt DIY key repairs since they aren’t covered if you accidentally break your computer when performing self-maintenance. That’s why taking it to the Apple store is preferred.

STEP 5

To replace the clip, place it back on top of the keyboard switch and retainer and press the top of the key firmly downwards.

STAT: As of 2021, there were 272 Apple Stores in the United States. (source)

How to Remove a Mac's Keyboard Keys FAQs

What is the purpose of the keyboard backlight?

Backlit keyboards are handy for using your computer in low-lit areas. You can adjust the brightness to match the levels of ambient light around you.

What are sticky keys?

Sticky Keys is an accessibility feature found on Microsoft systems that lets users enter key combination commands by pressing the keys in sequence instead of simultaneously.

What should I do if the keyboard backlight isn't working correctly?

Backlight issues are usually always a problem with settings. For Macs, the first thing you should always do is go to your system management controller. Here, you can check the settings for power management settings.
Nathan Rizzuti Profile image