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How To Clean MacBook and MacBook Pro Keyboards (PROPERLY)


Michael Grothaus

19/07/2018 – 4:00pm

Keys on recent MacBooks have a habit of getting stuck.

In 2016 Apple completely redesigned its MacBook and MacBook Pro lineup. The new designs saw thinner bodies as well with a TouchBar replaying the standard F keys on the Pro models.

The new MacBooks also sported a new type of keyboard that replaced the traditional key mechanism with a new butterfly keyboard mechanism. This allowed for a thinner keyboard.

But many people raised complaints about the keyboard. They didn’t like that the keys didn’t travel very far and that they were much noisier than the previous version.

They also didn’t like the fact that sometimes keys would get stuck. Many theorized this as because dirt or depress that seeped underneath the keys would make the keys sticky.

Apple seemed to have confirmed this was the case with the 2016 and 2017 model MacBooks when they unveiled the new 2018 MacBook Pros last week. The new Pros feature a third-generation keyboard which is both quieter and features a thin membrane below the keys.

And Apple service guide for the new 2018 MacBook Pros states: “The keyboard has a membrane under the keycaps to prevent debris from entering the butterfly mechanism. Be careful not to tear the membrane. A torn membrane will result in a top case replacement.”

While this is good news for those who are buying a 2018 MacBook Pro–it doesn’t do anything for owners of 2016 and 2017 MacBooks.

Luckily, if you do find your 2016 or 2017 MacBook with sticky keys, it’s pretty easy to clean them to get them unstuck. You just have to do it in the right way. First things first, however, in addition to your MacBook you’ll also need to get a can of compressed air.

It’s also important to remember to use the straw that comes with the can of compressed air so you can direct the airflow to the right spot. Keep the end of the straw about hand an inch away from the keyboard when you spray and remember–don’t invert the canister of compressed air when spraying.

Now, follow these steps:

  1. Hold your MacBook at a 75º angle, so it’s not quite vertical but not entirely slanted.
  2. Now use the can of compressed air and spray the entire keyboard (or only the affected keys) in a zig-zag, left-to-right motion. 
  3. Now rotate your MacBook to its right side (so the enter/return key is closest to the palm of your hand) and use the can of compressed air to spray the keyboard again, in a zig-zag, left-to-right motion. 
  4. Finally, rotate your MacBook to its left side (so the caps lock key is closest to the palm of your hand) and use the can of compressed air to spray the keyboard again, in a zig-zag, left-to-right motion.

Now test the keyboard again and you should see they the keys work perfectly.

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