Replace a Macbook Air Keyboard

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Updated July 25, 2022

Everyone tries to keep their computers in perfect working order, but even the best keyboards succumb to failure eventually. So if you’re asking yourself, “Why isn’t my keyboard working?” and that keyboard happens to be a MacBook, you’re in the right place. Below we’ll explain how to replace a MacBook Air keyboard and tips on what to do if it breaks.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • Installing a Macbook replacement keyboard is a long and delicate process, requiring strict adherence to the step-by-step removal process.
  • Apple’s butterfly keyboard switches, produced from 2015-2019, commonly broke because of their poor design.
  • If you aren’t comfortable taking apart the entire machine, replacing your Macbook Air keyboard is better left to a keyboard repair service.

Often when a keyboard breaks, a complete replacement isn’t necessary, as you can sometimes solder a keyboard to fix it. But if that doesn’t work, we have many more articles for more minor fixes, such as how to unstick keyboard keys or what to do when you press a key down on your keyboard and it types different letters.

How to Replace a Macbook Air Keyboard

Unfortunately, MacBook Air models with butterfly switches are notorious for breaking down. This defect is because the switch design allows debris and liquid to penetrate the switch quickly, which leads to damage.

Insider Tip

To keep your Macbook Air clean, you should clean your keyboard with compressed air at least once a month.

If you think the keyboard needs replacement but don’t want to take it to a repair professional, it is possible to place it yourself. However, performing a Macbook Air keyboard replacement is complex, requiring intricate knowledge and gentle handling of each part. If this is something you aren’t entirely comfortable with, you may end up causing further damage.

For additional Macbook tips, you can read our guide on how to clean underneath a Macbook keyboard. Additionally, if you are just performing a cleaning, it is good to know how to disable your laptop keyboard before doing so.

STEP 1

Remove the screws from the bottom of the laptop, and then remove the back panel.

STEP 2

Unplug the battery connector.

STEP 3

Unplug the cable that connects the IO board and the cable connecting the fan.

STEP 4

Unscrew the screws connecting the fan.

STEP 5

Unscrew and remove the IO board.

STEP 6

Remove the battery pack by removing the screws and lifting it from the case.

STEP 7

Remove the cable attaching the display, touchpad, and backlight connectors.

STEP 8

Disconnect the speaker.

STEP 9

Remove the screws attaching the mainboard and pull out the SSD. Once removed, there will be another screw for you to remove. Next, remove the screws securing the logic board. Before removing the logic board, take the screw out that attaches the heat sync.

STEP 10

Undo the screws attaching the wireless cables.

STEP 11

Remove the logic board.

STEP 12

Remove the screws that attach to the screen section of your Macbook.

STEP 13

Once you’ve removed the screen, use a small pry tool to remove the two speakers from the frame.

STEP 14

Remove the connector that attaches the keyboard to the touchpad. Then remove the connector that connects the touchpad to the logic board.

STEP 15

Remove the keyboard backlight gently, careful not to tear the thin material.

STEP 16

Remove the small screws around the outside of the keyboard. There will be around 40 screws in all.

STEP 17

Using packing tape, line the back of the keyboard so the parts stay in place when you remove the keypad.

STEP 18

Tear out the old, riveted keyboard. As you do this, try pulling out as many rivets as possible.

STEP 19

Use a tool to pry off any remaining rivets.

STEP 20

Take the new keyboard and place it face down, similar to how to old keyboard sat.

STEP 21

Place in the screws surrounding the new keyboard.

STEP 22

Apply screws to where the rivets once were.

STEP 23

Find the correct position of the new backlight, aligning it with the screw holes. Next, remove the backlight’s tape and press it down until secure. Then connect the power to the logic board.

STEP 24

Connect the keyboard cable to the touchpad.

Warning

If you are using a MacBook from 2015-2019, your keyboard has butterfly mechanisms and is more susceptible to damage.

STEP 25

Reversing the process, reattach everything that you took apart.

STAT: The butterfly keys allowed Apple to make their MacBook keyboards 40% thinner. (source)

Replace Macbook Air Keyboard FAQs

How much does it cost to replace a Macbook keyboard?

Replacement of a MacBook Air keyboard by a professional will cost close to $1,000.

What did Apple do to address its butterfly keyboard issue?

When Apple discovered a systemic keyboard issue with their butterfly switches, they announced that Apple owners could take their unit to Apple care for free.

Do 2019 MacBook Pro models have butterfly keyboards?

These models have third-generation butterfly keyboards, which are less likely to break, but still have some of the issues of the butterfly design.
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