Are Keyboard Problems Plaguing MacBook Pros?


After much anticipation, my new MacBook Pro arrived this weekend. Following an evening of migrating files, applications and settings to the new laptop, I was extremely pleased with its speed, responsiveness, and all the little things that make it an excellent Apple laptop. But this morning, when I reached the office, we hit a serious snag. After waking up from sleep, the keyboard and trackpad were completely unresponsive, even after multiple reboots, removing the battery, and hitting just about every key combination I could think of.

After significant hassle, I attached a USB keyboard and mouse to the laptop, and that’s how we’ve been operating for the last few hours.

Considering I can sometimes be the quintessential Apple fanboy, this is a very public issue. Looking throughout the Web for a magic key sequence or seance I could provide to wake the keyboard back to life, I stumbled upon a discussion board on Apple’s support site that shows dozens of people with the same, unfathomable issue.

Some have written, “External USB keyboard and Bluetooth mouse work fine, but the built in keyboard and trackpad are dead,” and others… “Randomly, the keyboard and trackpad go completely dead, and though the computer seems otherwise unaffected, I cannot do anything.”

It looks like the only solution is to take the laptop to a repair facility pronto, and we can expect the machines to be out of service for a few days at the very least. I want so badly for this to be a user error, so I can laugh at myself later, but it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen.



As an avid Apple fan I was devastated when my keyboard and mouse became occasionally unresponsive. Luckily, I can connect a mouse and save my work before I restart. Unfortunately, I do not have an external keyboard hanging around at home! I’ll have to take it in after finals!


I almost always have this problem when I type in a new field. It is especially frustrating when inputting a password as you get ***** and dont notice the first letter missing.

Apple has acknowledged this problem with this bug report: Bug ID# 4333743

Everyone is reporting the bug to Apple here:

good luck,

Siraj Razick

I’d recommend taking to apple, in my case they replaced the whole lower casing + keyboard + mouse. and it only took 6 days :)


Have had a few random challenges with the keyboard of my new MacBook (not PRO). Just now, I selected fn+control+f1 two times, and voila, my keyboard came back to life.
Was this a fluke? Should I get send this MacBook back to Apple for repair?


I am pretty sure its a leopard problem. I have had my macbook pro for a year and a half and its been perfect…..i upgraded to leopard and i get the intermittently frozen keyboard….along with a serious decrease in speed….

i am tempted to uninstall and go back to tiger, but i do love many of the new features (although i seem to be an idiot relative to SPACES….i cant seem to figure out how it will help me unless i totally memorize what space my things happen to be in)



I’ve bought a MacBook Pro 15″ 2.4Ghz a couple of weeks ago (middle October).

It came with Tiger and it appeared to work fine, but I didn’t use it seriously until a few days ago when I did a clean install of Leopard on it.

And I’ve hit the keyboard issue.

Sometimes after the wake up from sleep, after the username/password screen, the keyboard will stop working for a few seconds, then after pressing a few keys, it will get back to work and so on, until I restart the MBP.

The trackpack works just fine.

I wonder if this is a Leopard software problem, since I didn’t hit it with Tiger (but I used my MBP with it just for a few hours) or a HW problem, that needs repair.

Any ideas?

Also, do you know if I can still send back my MBP to the Apple Store (I bought it online) to get it replaced with a new one or get a refund?



I’m having the same problem with my macbook (black) intel core 2 duo right now. I’m going to have to take it to the local mac repair shop (no geniuses in my part of the state). I have a keynote to give on thursday… really bad timing. anyone have an ETA on turn around for this issue?

Stephanie Guertin

I had the same problem about three days into using my MBP when I got it in May. (It was most annoying as I was showing it off at work at the time, and I work repairing computers.)
Greatly annoyed, I took it to the local Apple Store, where they replaced it with a new one immediately. They even migrated all my files and data, and I didn’t have to ask.

Siraj Razick

Same issue here. but it’s MacBook and all my
keys are dead but only the touch pad works.
So this is certainly a MacBook Bug not only MBP !



opps your comment links are in the wrong place semantically. They should come after the post not before


couldn’t care less about an open iPhone. An open iPod Touch however! Where hacks can’t possibly hurt phone profits would be wonderful.

Lock the phone free the touch!


Had a similar problem with my brand new MBP. The keyboard wasn’t always registering keystrokes, especially the upper right side of the keyboard. I took it to the genius bar and had the keyboard replaced. They had to order the part and it took about 3 days for me to get it back. I’m glad to know it wasn’t just my typing, I’ve had a 12″iBook for 4 years and have also often used my boyfriend’s PowerBook, and never had issues like that. The new keyboard seems better, but still has a different “feel” than the older ones. Maybe I’m just paranoid now…

Eric Crist

I’ve had my MacBook Pro 15″ since the first week of August last year, and I’ve got to admit that I’ve been pretty happy with it. No keyboard issues as indicated by others, and it’s been a pretty speedy machine.

On the other hand, I *have* noticed the following problems. My (well, my fiancee’s now), PowerBook 12″, after 3+ years, still works flawlessly. Still haven’t even needed to replace the battery!

* Coming Out of Sleep: Sometimes my MBP doesn’t want to wake up. I’ll open the case and I hear the DVD drive cycle (characteristic, in my experience), and one of a few different things happen:
1) I get a password prompt, and everything is fine.
2) I get what *looks* like a password prompt, but it doesn’t actually do anything (screen shot?). BBOD spins forever. Close lid and try again.
3) I get a password prompt, for 2 seconds. Then a black screen (or straight to black screen). Seems that the computer is running, but no password prompt. After 5-10 seconds, computer goes back to sleep. Only way to recover is to hold power button for 5 seconds or so. Rather than a hard shutdown, I get password prompt? (WTF?)

* Airport card appears to be flaky? I’ve got the original MBP, so Intel Core Duo, not Core 2 Duo. This means I’ve got the 802.11g, rather than draft N. There’s a really good possibility the problem lies with my Airport Extreme base station, but, again, my old PowerBook works flawlessly.

* Battery life/performance is really, really, crap. After 3+ years, my Powerbook 12″ has a good batter with still 3.5+ hours of life. Down an hour from when I first got it. With my MBP, I’m lucky to get 2.5 hours out of it. I’m down 1/2 hour from when I got the machine. This battery was part of the recall, so it’s only about 6 months old. The kicker is that 90% of the time, I’m tethered to the wall either at work, or my desk at home. Grr.

Overall, however, I’m happy with my purchase. I just think that with what we pay for these great machines, they could be a bit better engineered. Things like battery life and keyboard functionality should not be major problems anymore.

For the record regarding Dell service, I think Dell, at least at their Gold support level, is far superior to Apple with AppleCare, and for less money. Any time I’ve had a problem with a Dell laptop, I had a technician come to *my* house and fix it. This includes a HDD failure, and an unfortunate incident with the Captain (Morgan)/Coke and my Dell’s motherboard. On a separate occasion, our cat plucked all the keys off the keyboard. I had a new keyboard the next morning (I called at ~10:30pm, new keyboard on my doorstep by 8:00am), with a screwdriver and instructions on how to replace it myself.

Sorry this is so long-winded. Lots to say today!

Louis Gray

For what it’s worth, my “new” MacBook Pro is now in the shop. I should get it back, repaired, by the end of the week, according to our local Mac Genius.

I had hoped to be lucky, getting a new unit and swapping the hard drive, but they don’t pay the Genius’ enough to prepare for my kind of issues…


I’ve had my MBP since May 2006 with no issues…maybe I’m just lucky :)


I notice recently that my MacBook Pro keyboard periodically misses the initial letter of some words. I am not a good typist, so I wasn’t sure if this was really happening. After reading this article and comments, I am sure I wasn’t imagining things.

John R.

I’ve had my MBP for a month and half so far, and the keyboard’s been fine. However, it often takes inordinate amounts of time (15 seconds or more) to come out of sleep mode.

Hope you get your problem resolved!

Americo de Thunk Different

Ay Ay Ay, this is no good. iToo ordered a MacBook Pro and am not looking forward to a similar anecdote, hopefully ther service will cover it for the first year, and I’ll be good after then. Good luck with it!

Mark McManus

I’ve had excellent performance from my MBP 2.2. However, I do experience an occasional “missed” key using the MBP. Even though I hit the first letter of a word or email address, the MBP doesn’t recognize it. Check the Apple discussion threads – the condition seems to be occurring only on MBP’s.


Sounds like the keyboard/trackpad ribbon cable connector isn’t seated properly. has online illustrated guides showing how to take it apart. I had that problem with my G4 AL Powerbook, fixed it easily. Of course, it could be a bad ribbon connector too, they are rather fragile.

Louis Gray

@#3… we’re not saying Apple’s bad. The purpose of highlighting the issue is to see how widespread the problem may be. I’m not switching to Dell or HP over this, obviously.


I’m really suprised how much the Internet can blow up “problems” … from mouse to elephant.

Get over it: things break.

And I’m very, very happy with the service Apple provides when that happens … how about repairing a Dell, Toshiba or Sony? How long does that take?

I had for Display on my MacBook Pro now. And most of the other brands wouldn’t even exchange them with the problems they had … like uneveness and realls small spots. Each repair was done in about a day …

For all mistakes Apple makes these days: I think the service is still state of the art …

Matt Radel

Boo. I’ve had my MBP for about 8 months now and haven’t had a single issue (knock on wood). Hopefully they get your problem fixed quickly.

Richard Hather

I have had just about the same luck as you with the Intel Macbook Pro’s. When the first ones came out I returned 3, count ’em, 3 MBP’s. Each one with a separate issue from, display, keyboard to heat. Finally I sold it (at par) after the 4th and said to myself i’ll do without a Macbook for now. It was only replacing the Powerbook from the year before which ran great and still use today. From one Apple Fan boy to the next, lets just hope those were just the bad apples in the bunch!

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