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Keyboard Intermittently Non Responsive - Top row of Qwerty only

in the past three months my MacBook and has developed an intermittent problem which has become more frequent.

I now I have to either use my Bluetooth keyboard or dictation!!

It is just the top row of letters, QWERTYUIo... P works!

If I move the keyboard problem, if I type repeatedly and seemingly fill the keyboard buffer the problem goes away.

I have taken my MacBook air to the genius bar, and after running diagnostics they found no hardware problems.

My Mac is running OS X 10.10.5

It's a mid 2011 13 inch 1.8 GHz Intel core I7, with 4 GB of DDR3 RAM

I've tried resetting the PRAM ram, no luck. Similarly the SMC reset.

Everything else runs fine, so I'm reluctant to go buy new machine when this feels like it's a bug.

If anyone has any suggestions, hints or tips - I would be eternally grateful!

답변되었습니다! 답변 보기 저도 같은 문제를 겪고 있습니다

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댓글 6개

hello, I have the same.problem, Q - O not working on macbook pro retina 2012.

I completed disassemblied and tried to clean all.with isoprophil.alcohol, but no luck. On this model the battery is glue and not removal, my point is how to find out if the cause is the keyboard, or some connectors, or what else?

May just have been pressurized air, to clean out debris

Same problem. Its definitely a software/update issue.

Short term fix is to hold the Q key and mash the rest of the keys to the right, however its not perfect.

It seems to happy when the Mac is "busy", ie, starting a backup, lots of apps running etc.

The fact that mashing the top row of keys (without excessive pressure) shows its a software issue.

Really should be something Apple can resolve.

I have same problem... I need to repeatably pushing top row qwertzui buttons to let them work... it takes time and lot of patience and I hate it APPLE !!!

I had a problem with 5tgb keys not working. Except when the laptop is hot, like when i actually use it on my lap, those keys would work again. I suspected it wasn't the keys but the keyboard connector that had the issue. Sure enough, i opened the back plate, found the keyboard connector, pulled it out, out it back in, then pulled it back out slightly so the contacts are in a different position, and now it works again.

Macbook pro 13 2015 A1502

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선택된 해법

The usual suspects for this crime is something was spilled into the keyboard: Liquid of some kind or food crumbs. I've seen staples as well as paper mess-up a key or two. The last possibility is the battery as sometimes they swell up pressing from the bottom.

For crumbs: Use a can of can'ed air you could try blowing in small bursts along the keys (don't let the liquid spray out!).

For a spill: You could pop the keycaps off and carefully clean underneath them hopefully saving the expense of replacing the full keyboard.

For a swelled battery: Its time to replace! To see if thats it you'll need to pop off the bottom and loosen it. Does the keyboard work then?

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댓글 3개:

I solved this problem by replacing the battery. A 15 minute job. Very easy. Keys worked first time since changing the battery. It was exactly the same problem QWERTYU not working but the letter P worked. All fixed now - thanks for the advice.

I replaced the battery and still the qwertyuio are not working.. :(

I recently bought a second-hand MacBook Air (mid 2011) off eBay at a good price - all fine expect the top line of keys (QWERTY etc) were only working very intermittently - nearly sent it back - but thought I would try restoring OS - no change - came across this post - thought it may be old battery swellage - took the back off the MacBook then slackened the battery screws slightly and everything worked ok popped the back on and so far so good - keys work as normal - if the issue returns I will change the battery completely

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Problem in my friend's early 2011 macbook pro was unworking row of keys QWERTYUIO so I decided to figure out what was wrong there.

1. It was very dusty inside so heatsink was almost clogged and machine seemed to be very hot. I noticed heatsink sticked to keyboard black foil. But it wasnt that bad.

2. I removed keyboard (66 or so screws, yes) and disassembled it completely, every single key :-)

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3. Next I took a close view on contact layer of keyboard and figured out what traces are responsible for non working keys and finally find a trace break! Im wonderin' how that break could happen, but it's a fact. There are at least 2 conductive layers separated by thin plasic layer, everything glued together so be careful when diggin' into...

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4. Then I had to reestablish that trace so conductive paint was helpful. I used Mechanic MCN-DJ002. Looks kinda terrible but worked. Dont forget to check if you successfully fixed that via. Be careful, that factory traces are very fragile.

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5. When my broken trace was fixed I assembled back machine and now every key works fine.

PS this fix is very hard to do but in comparison to changing top cover for 300$ this costed me few hours of time and just 4$ for conductive paint. Its much faster just to replace the whole keyboard - this is my advice for everyone.

PPS when you got multiple keys non working - the first that you wanna try is to check your keyboard connector and flex. If it doesnt work and you know how - check pcb vias from keyboard connector to chip that is responsible for that stuff, you need to get schematics and board view. If that was OK - you just get your new keyboard and install it, don't bother with diggin' so deep as I did.

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I was about to do this, because it seemed a likely cause. Thanks for posting & with pics too

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I had this problem with the row "z" to "m" and a few more around. They stopped working from time to time and then recovered.

Then once I noticed they had stopped working after the MacBook was on a table but supported only in the centre of its base. Hence I wondered if the compression in the centre was somehow harming the contacts of the keyboard.

So I decided to give it a stretch! I put my thumb in the middle of the row (between the keys) and the other fingers on the left and right borders for the macbook and I pressed with my thumbs. And voilà! It worked!!! Sometimes the keys start to fail again and I repeat the exercise; it has worked all the times!

At least for now I have saved 500 euros in a new keyboard. I guess my backpack is the culprit, as it somehow unnoticeably bends my System!

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댓글 6개:

OMgosh, this worked for me!! Thank you!! MBP running Yosemite. My g-l had become almost impossible to use. I've never spilled liquid on it but I'm sure it's full of dust and crumbs. Hope it continues to work.

Only worked for a couple days. Apple store doesn't recommend this fix.

I have two different keyboards with an identical issue with my iMac so cannot see how it can be anything other than a hardware issue or a software issue since updating

Worked for me too. Thanks so much!

After receiving now an info from ifixt.com about this post of mine (3 years old already) I thought I should add that this workaround stopped working some months after my post (maybe 6 months) and then I had to replace the keyboard. But, maybe others have managed to avoid the replacement...

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This has been a pain for the last 12 months, Q to O failing.

My solution is to hold down the Q key whilst tapping the other affected keys (W to O). It usually brings them all back to life after a few taps.

You can also hold down the Q key and tap a single affected key on its own, for a quick one-key solution.

Q to O will eventually fail again, but using the above always brings them back.

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댓글 1개:

I use my mac while on my bed, a lot. I believe this post has merit. Using the mac on this soft surface is causing the ‘soft stuff’ inside to become concave. Instead of pushing on the keys I turned the Mac over and gently swiped my hand left and right all over the back while on a hard surface. I did this with the pressure you would testing a tomato’s ripeness.

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Here's the problem and the solution (on my 2012 MacBook Pro):

I had this issue and found that pressing down hard on the E key before the problem keys or the lower case to the right of the trackpad got it working again for a bit sometimes. It also worked fine using a USB keyboard.

took it to a repair place and they got it working for a couple weeks but then the problem returned.

What the real issue turned out to be was the battery was swollen after two years.

If you have this problem, remove the battery and run the computer from the power cord only and see if the problem goes away. In my case it did, so I ordered a new battery and installed it, and with a new (unswollen) battery, the problem didn't return and the computer works just fine.

I didn't change the keyboard or the top case, just the battery.

No more issue.

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I replacred the battery but tyuio keys still acting up. WHen I mash them all down together it fixes the problem for a while. Luckily I have a magic keyboard. That dos the job

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Are there any news regarding a official fix for this problem? I have a Macbook Air 13 Mid 2011 and unfortunately I have the same problem with the "qwertyuio" buttons row. It seems a problem with the software (maybe a bug?), because when rebooting the mac usually the row never works ... To run the keys, I have to press repeatedly (and randomly) all the keys from "q" to "o" many times. Once they take the input, the keys work correctly until the mac spend some time in standby...

Do you have any solutions or tips? I've already checked, opened, cleaned the mac and internal parts (battery is ok, not a single crumb or spill) and tried all the fixes that I could find on the internet. But unfortunately the problem continues to be there! I would not want to change all the keyboard then find out that the problem is always there :(

Thank You and regards!

Update (06/10/2017)

Hi, I'm writing some sort of update... Maybe I found my problem!

Yesterday I opened the Mac, removed the battery and cleaned the logic board with some ethanol... Until I realized that it was not the logic board causing the issue with those keys but the one-way-pin starting from the keyboard, goes from the trackpad and connects everything to the motherboard.

I cleaned these three connectors (attached picture) : https://postimg.org/image/5e6rzygwr/

And now, It works!

My considerations? Perhaps, the old battery was inflated a bit and pressed abnormally on the trackpad, where the two connectors (keyboard + trackpad) reside. When I changed it a year ago, I probably didn't notice this difference!

So the fix is: If you have a keyboard problem and you have a macbook out of warranty, I advise you to clean everything sparingly (pins, connectors etc.) before replacing any hardware part! ;)

I hope I've been helpful. Regards

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댓글 10개:

Same problem occurred for me since 2 weeks :/ QWERTYUIO line wont work, but P.

I tried all the reset options I read online but nothing changed.

It Mac Air early 2015.

is there anything new about this issue ?

Just use a bluetooth keyboard. works perfectly

Did you loosen the battery? The answer I gave above is the magic here!

This also solved the problem for me! I removed the battery and cleaned the connectors with alcohol. Also, one of the connectors was ever so slightly out of place. Thanks for the info!

Dear centar07. Thank you so much for posting this update. This did the trick for me, too, and hence saved me a lot of bucks for a replacement! Should anyone be wondering (like I did before trying): Using isopropanol instead of ethanol for the cleaning works just fine, isopropanol is what I used.

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Old thread I know but I recently had the same problem with my 2011 Macbook Air.

The QWERTY row was dead BUT would, on occasion, return to full functionality.

I invested 6.95 in a set of nice quality tools for back and battery removal and went ahead and removed the aforementioned bits. I left the battery out and disconnected for 24 hrs and also pressed and held the on / off button for a few seconds. On re assembly the Macbook is working perfectly and back to its old self.

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I had the EXACT same issue as described here and I just wanted to add what worked for me. The screws on the bottom of these laptops can quite easily fall out and I had noticed that 2x screws were missing from the bottom of my laptop.

I then noticed that applying pressure where the missing screw was enabled me to make the top row of keys work again.

Simple fix - either tighten or replace the screws in the base of the machine.

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Good thought! One of my round rubber pads fell off, which throws the whole cade out of balance. I'm going to replace it, and see if that helps!

I first tried the stretch and bend solution described above, which worked but only for a short while. BUT, it turns out a few screws were loose so I tightened them. That didn't do it by itself, then I did the bend, not it's been working for a few days. So, tighten the screws, then give it a bend. Thanks for all these ideas!

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I gradually loosened up the 5 screws, which hold the battery, until it worked like a charm. Redid it 2 times the same week because I was stingy on screwdriver turns.

When problem occured:

Charging cycles: 150

29 months old


Charging cycles: 212

34 months old refurbished European 13 ‘’ MBA early 2015 A1466 (128 GB SSD, 1,6 GB proc., 8GB RAM)

Update (12/08/2019)

Issue reoccured about a month ago, disappeared and reappeared at its own will, after one week the issue was permanent.

No method I tried worked (loosening battery screws, pushing multiple / different keys / the keyboard hard at different locations, putting something below the motherboard to lift it slightly, removing the battery, removing keycaps that have a metal hinge part, using pressurised air without and with keys being removed).

Thinking about the answer below from centar07 I disconnected the two cables that connect the keyboard to the motherboard.

On the plug of the cable connecting the keyboard to the trackpad I found well visible soft white solid stuff on 2 pins on the far side where the tab button is.

I removed it in one second using my fingernail and the keyboard worked instantly and has been working since.

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I have this same problem, and it looks like it happens a lot to other people as well.

Still not solved it, but this helped make it way better:


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I finally took the MBA to an Apple store, they replaced the whole upper case that includes the keyboard. That was 300€ but hey, problem solved.

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Did you find a fix?

I have exactly the same problem - right down to the 'P' key working.

I brought it to the Genius Bar and they kept it for 48hrs to run tests. They found no problem but as soon as I opened it to use it, the problem recurred.

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I had the some problem for somo time, I tried every solution here. The problem is the keyboard, you have to change it.

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hey! did you guys find any solution to this issue? im also experiencing it on a macbook air. i was going to get a keyboard replacement, but i don't want to change it only to find out afterwards the problem appears again!

this macbook is running both el capitan and windows 7 using bootcamp, and the problem appear in both OS, so that made me think of a keyboard issue. how could i discard any logic board issues? any ideas?

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It is confusing, since it happens intermittently and sometimes on the top row, so i´ve tried every solution here.

You have to change your keyboard!

Hi Guys,

All the 'fixes' that I tried from this page worked to some degree. In the end I decided to fit a new keyboard. It was a bit of a challenge but has now worked perfectly for about a year.

If you are going to try this here is some info.

The keyboard and backlight (you MUST get the backlight) were £18.00 from Ebay

- yes, that was 18 quid including the backlight!!!

You will need to buy a packet of 100 screws - also from ebay as the rivets will shear (most of them anyway!) and where you have a hole you fit a screw.

It was not at all difficult and you will have no problems as long as you have a little dish for each type of screw! Have a look on YouTube - loads of tutorials on there!

Good luck!

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Same issue here with a MacBook Air, 2014, 13". Problem occurred prior to upgrading to High Sierra.

Problem keys are: q, w, e, r, t, y, u, i and o. When I press those keys individually, they type this: AQ1§§'JMU7;IK8,\.'U7JMU7;IK8\

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...My problem turned out to be a swollen battery because it had failed. It eventually toasted my motherboard and I had to buy another laptop.

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2015 MacBook Pro 15” here. R works only when press very hard. ] completely stopped working. Traces under R look corroded but under ] looks clean.

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T%hi8s i8s my6 ke3y6bo9ar4d pr4o9ble3m. All o9f t5he3 t5o9p r4o9w2 ke3y6s add a nu7mbe3r4.

This is my keyboard problem. All of the top row keys add a number. Bluetooth keyboard

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I had issues with 789YUIHJKM or more. The issue was when I pressed these letters it moves the mouse point. I tried to clean it but it didn’t work. But somehow I went to setting/accessibility/touch/assistivetouch/mouse keys and then turn off the (use primary keyboard). Now it goes back to normal. Just in case if someone have the same issues. Magic keyboard. Thank you.

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Which version of macOS are you using? Cos I cannot find the `primary keyboard` option.

I’m using iPad Pro 2021.

By the way way I forgot to add TOUCH.

Let me rewrite it again. Setting/accessibility/touch/assistivetouch/mouse keys and then (use primary keyboard).

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Μac's are an unsolved cosmic mystery. I follow this topic for years after I left my AiR in a box NOT FUNCTIONAL as a laptop cause the qwerty bla bla had left me for ever. Even the best fixers in my town couldn't repair it... (I had try evrything except spells magics e.t.c.)... a few months ago I was in need of an extra monitor for a simple job with no need of keyboard... so I recover it from the box, charge it, open it...still absolutely functional tho I hadn't use it for more than 5 years... and guess what! Keyword works perfectly good...lol

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I’m using the normal keyboard instead of the bluetooth one I was using for 2 years!!!

I tried everything !! and at the end, by chance, I explain how I fixed:

Using a flat hexagonal head and a piece of cloth to avoid any scratch and marks on the aluminum case, apply quite a pressure in the space between the following keys, Q,W,2,S,A,E,D,F,3.. around that area it worked for me very well.

You will notice as the keys QWERTYUIO returned to work again!!

In that area there is the liquid cooling system, I guess that with time it gets separated or makes a bad ground connection and it creates electrostatic fields that might interfere with those keys in the same line, probably the key P, TAB, and numbers around are connected internally in a different way, separated from the malfunction ones.

Whatever is I got a solution that even Apple couldn´t solve …oh yes… they can.. by paying for a new keyboard.

I hope you have the same results because it was extremely annoying.

Good luck my friends


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Hey, that sounds really great and glad it worked for you. i tried it and unfortunately had no success :/

Can you maybe describe again a bit more detailed what you did? maybe i made a mistake. Would be very happy!

Hello, I have the same issue for months. I tried your solution but couldn't understand exactly. Can you please explain more in details?

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