How to Clean a MacBook Keyboard - Compsmag (2024)

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Apple's MacBook laptops all have keyboards called "MacBook keyboards."

by Carmelia Derby

written by Carmelia Derby 6 minutes read

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How to Clean a MacBook Keyboard. Dust, crumbs, and gunk will inevitably end up on your MacBook keyboard at some point. If you’re having trouble with a certain key or just think it’s time to clean your keyboard, there are some things you should and shouldn’t do. Whether you have a MacBook Air or a MacBook Pro, you already know that it is an important tool for you. Unfortunately, strange things start to happen when its keyboard gets dirty. Maybe one or two of the keys start to stick or stop working all of a sudden. Maybe the keys are just worn down from being used a lot.

It’s crucial that you clean the laptop’s keyboard properly in these situations, regardless of the circ*mstances. We’ve all eaten at our desks at some point, leaning over our computers and dropping crumbs everywhere. On top of that, our oily fingers tap away at the keyboard while dust flits and falls all around us. If you’ve noticed that your MacBook Pro’s keyboard is dirty and covered in grease, it’s probably time to clean it. Here, we’ll show you how to use compressed air to clean the keys on a MacBook. Here we’ll tell you how to Clean a MacBook Keyboard.

What is a MacBook keyboard?

Apple’s MacBook laptops all have keyboards called “MacBook keyboards.” It is a built-in device that lets users type, enter commands, and do other things on a MacBook. The design and layout of the MacBook keyboard have changed over time, but it usually has a set of alphanumeric keys, function keys, arrow keys, and special keys like the Command, Option, Control, and Shift keys. Apple’s newer MacBooks have a “butterfly” keyboard mechanism, which was made to make the laptops thinner and make it easier to type.

But there were problems with how reliable this design was, so Apple went back to the more traditional “scissor” mechanism in later models. Apple’s operating system, macOS, is designed to work well with MacBook keyboards, which often have extra features like backlit keys for typing in low light and a Touch Bar that shows controls and shortcuts based on the current situation. The MacBook keyboard is an important part of the overall user experience, and it is a must-have for people who want to use their MacBooks well.

How to Clean a MacBook Keyboard

How to Clean a MacBook Keyboard - Compsmag (2)
  1. Turn off your Mac and remove any hardware or cables that are connected to it.
  2. Hold the keyboard upright at a 75-degree angle, with the keys slightly facing the ceiling instead of the floor, and the long axis of the device parallel to the floor.
  3. Spray the compressed air over the keys. If you turn the can, cold fluid will come out, so make sure to hold it upright and keep the nozzle about an inch away from the keys. Spray consistently from right to left or left to right, moving from the top rows to the bottom rows.
  4. Now, turn the computer screen vertical and/or keep the keyboard at a 75-degree angle. Spray from the “top” to the “bottom” using the same method (for example, from the end with the Escape, Caps Lock, and Function keys to the end with the arrow and Enter keys).
  5. Put the computer or keyboard on a clean, flat surface, and use the soft bristle attachment to lightly run the vacuum over the keys. Follow a pattern from top to bottom, right to left or left to right.
  6. Lightly wet a piece of cloth with water, and then move it slowly and steadily in one direction over a part of the keyboard. When you clean the keyboard, make sure to use several cloths or different parts of the same larger cloth so that the dirt, dust, and grease are removed instead of just moved around.

Why is it important to clean your MacBook keyboard?

  1. Hygiene: Over time, your fingers can leave dirt, oil, and grime on the keyboard’s surface. Regular cleaning helps keep a clean and healthy environment and keeps bacteria and germs from building up on the keys you touch often.
  2. Performance: Dust and other things can get stuck between the keys, which can make them harder to use. By cleaning the keyboard, you can make sure that every key works as it should.
  3. Preventing Damage: Dust, crumbs, or liquid spills can damage the keyboard’s internal parts, which can cause it to stop working or need expensive repairs. Damage like this is less likely to happen if you clean it often.
  4. Lifespan: Your MacBook keyboard will last longer if you take care of it and clean it regularly. Keeping it clean and free of dust and liquid spills can help it work well for longer.
  5. Better looks: A clean and well-maintained keyboard makes your MacBook look better all around. It can be more fun to use and show that you care about and are professional.

What are the risks of not cleaning your MacBook keyboard?

  1. Dust and Debris Accumulation: Over time, dust, dirt, crumbs, and other debris can accumulate between the keys. This can impede the proper functioning of the keys, causing them to stick or become unresponsive.
  2. Reduced Typing Efficiency: A dirty keyboard may hinder your typing speed and accuracy. As the keys become sticky or unresponsive, you might need to press them harder or repeatedly, resulting in a slower typing experience.
  3. Malfunctioning Keys: If debris gets lodged under a key, it can cause that specific key to malfunction or stop working altogether.
  4. Bacterial Growth: Keyboards are notorious for harboring bacteria and germs. Without regular cleaning, these microorganisms can multiply and spread, potentially leading to health concerns.
  5. Unpleasant Odors: Accumulated debris, spills, and bacterial growth can create unpleasant odors, making it an uncomfortable environment for usage.
  6. Internal Damage: Dust and debris can also find their way inside the MacBook through the spaces between the keys. Over time, this buildup can cause internal damage to the computer components, potentially affecting its overall performance and longevity.

Questions and Answers

Can I remove a key from my MacBook keyboard?

To get rid of the “normal” keys, use a thin, flat tool like tweezers or a small screwdriver to get under the key at the bottom-left corner and push the prong out of its hole. Once it’s out, pull the key down from the top right corner and move it around until the left side comes off.

Can you remove butterfly keys?

If you have a butterfly keyboard, don’t forcefully pry the keys off because it could damage the butterfly clip mounts. Instead, put a thin, flat tool under the key’s edge and lift up gently.

Why did Apple get rid of butterfly keys?

But customers said that Apple’s butterfly keyboards were prone to breaking and that a speck of dust could damage them, causing them to repeat letters or not register key presses at all. People didn’t like the butterfly keyboards, and their flaws led to songs and long complaints.

Does the Magic Keyboard peel?

This material may peel or tear because it doesn’t last as long as other materials. Also, Apple’s iPad keyboards tend to be poorly made. When I looked for reports of damage to the Smart Keyboard and Smart Keyboard Folio cases, I found many reports of damage to Magic Keyboards.

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Carmelia Derby

Compsmag's Technology Editor, based in New York City, Carmelia Derby has been with the publication for a number of years. She discusses her thoughts on the most recent consumer electronics and offers pointers on how to get the most out of them. When Carmelia isn't obsessing over the next best thing, she's typically fuming about how the Los Angeles Lakers have failed to live up to her expectations.

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