Sticky space bar

Sticky space bar

Summary: As you can probably guess I use my MacBook all the time. It's my primary machine and blogging for ZDNet, editing the PowerPage, email and IM keep me pretty busy. A couple of weeks back my MBP keyboard started acting a little wonky.

SHARE:
TOPICS: Hardware
13

As you can probably guess I use my MacBook Pro all the time. It's my primary machine and blogging for ZDNet, editing the PowerPage, email and IM keep me pretty busy. A couple of weeks back my MBP keyboard started acting a little wonky.

I use the MacBook Pro's built-in keyboard about 75 percent of the time (the other 25 percent of the time I use an Apple Bluetooth keyboard) and about three weeks ago the space bar started sticking. It wouldn't stick entirely, but instead would come up very slowly after being pressed. While not a problem initially, it started coming up slower and slower and often wouldn't return to the "unpressed" position by the time I needed to use it again resulting in a lot of sentences withoutspacesinthem.

My space bar also started making a slightly weirder click than it used to make, which has me worried. You'll have to take me at my word that I didn't spill a Dr. Pepper, coffee or any other liquid into the keyboard (all the other keys are fine) and that I didn't otherwise cause the keyboard any trauma. It just started sticking one day.

Wanting to get to the bottom of the problem I carefully removed the space bar from the three scissors actuators that it's attached to, hoping to find a Cheeto, gummy bear or a bit of a Tasty Kake lodged underneath - but no such luck. Carefully wiping the under the space bar area with a dry Q-Tip helped a little but now the problem is intermittent.

Concerned that my sticky space bar was going to return at the most inopportune time I took my MBP to the Genius Bar at Apple's 5th Avenue store in New York. I booked my appointment on the Web using Apple's online calendaring system and spoke to a genius about my key. Unfortunately, as is almost always the case, the key was working fine while the tech looked at, so I was out of luck. I would have to bring it back in when I was having the problem. I've got an intermittent space bar and it's driving me nuts.

Are your MacBook Pro keys all working fine? Any suggestions on how to unstick a sticky key?

Topic: Hardware

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

13 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Same Here with iBook G4

    Same here with iBook G4... kinda frustrating...comes and goes...
    Amyisraelchai
  • sticky trackpad button

    My trackpad button on my MacBook Pro started sticking and
    exhibiting a stuttering click several weeks ago. I took it into the
    Apple Genius Bar where (fortunately) it was immediately apparent.
    He has ordered a replace top cover surrounding the keyboard.
    They are supposed to call me when it arrives so that they can
    replace the part. Hopefully this will solve the problem.
    powderhound
    • sticky space bar

      I am sympathetic to your instinct to pull the key and fix it- but with
      that ol 20-20 hindsite thing, it might have been better to just take
      it in so the Apple Techs get to see the problem- I know- who knew
      that your efforts would result in a "partial fix"- part of the
      mysterious, (sometimes frustratingly mysterious), tech world we
      live in..
      chris102@...
  • MacBook or MacBook Pro?

    Please try and differentiate between MacBook and MacBook Pro.
    You can't just say "MacBook" as an abbreviation for "MacBook Pro"
    since it's an entirely different product.
    icruise
    • I don't see "MacBook" anywhere

      Did he update the article, per chance?
      anythingbutmine0
  • Same with my last 2 Acers!

    I am writing this on my PowerBook which never had this issue, but I had 2 Acer laptops that did. My old TM 4600 had this problem numerous times. And my new TM8204 also had the problem once.

    What happens is that suddenly, the space bar - on the old machine, the entire right side of the keyboard - has a weird feel so that I often miss a space while typing fast. It still works, but the click point is different, and the keys don't seem to come out 100% after being depressed.

    What fixed it on both the old and the new machine was banging pretty hard on the keyboard for a few times. After that, normal feel was restored.

    I never had this problem with previous laptops.

    I am convinced it's the same issue and it's not unreasonable to assume that all manufacturers use the same keyboard tech. Something's changed that makes this - always intermittent - issue happen. Maybe banging the keys hard will work for you too... it's clear that something's stuck and banging makes it un-stuck.

    I got the idea from a hardware guru at the depths of the Apple hardware labs in Cupertino. I was an intern at Apple and working on a hardware project and I had a microswitch that wouldn't work right. It seemed broken and I needed it to work right away.

    So I was sent to the hardware guru. I forgot his name, but it was clear he was considered a hardware genius by the way people talked about him. I went there, and didn't explain much when he suddenly took my precious last-of-its-kind, need-to-demo-tomorrow microswitch and banged it on the table pretty hard a few times, then proclaimed that it would now work. I was shocked, but lo and behold, it did work! Inconceivably, he had fixed it by banging it on the table.

    He explained to me that there are some parts inside (bearings? I forgot) that get stuck and banging it against a hard surface can get them unstuck. It was a similar problem to the hanging keyboard, really.
    orthorim_2
  • It just takes a little WD-40

    Gotta keep those keys lubed!
    anythingbutmine0
  • RE: Sticky space bar

    Hey I have found one solution for these kinda laptop keys problems. Whenever any of my key stuck a bit, i take help from a video guide which is available on internet and it has simple instructions on how we can remove our laptop keys and reattach them after cleaning. So try it out, may be this will help you out too........http://www.laptopkey.com/blog/?cat=7
    juba889
  • i really need help to resolve this problem!!!!

    Q. My new laptop has started to fall apart, M, N, F and O keys are out of keyboard? I need to attach them again, help!
    juba889
  • RE: Sticky space bar

    Hey, you can get replacement keyboard keys from this company , they sell individual keyboard keyboard keys ... and have Installation video guides which help out a lot while installing the keys .
    www.laptopkey.com
    kyledaniel98
  • Why you don't need the "apple genius bar."

    Mine was just sticking due to coffee that i'd actually cleaned out about 2 weeks ago. However the problem came up again.

    This time I popped the spacebar off and removed the underlying hardware. I cleaned all of the little scissors things, the metal attachment things and the spacebar with warm soap and water. I dried it all off and put it back together, and now it works like new.

    Make sure those little pivots and hinge-like connections are all clean, otherwise it's bound to bind.

    My tools were a butter knife and a modified paperclip.

    Apple "Genius" Bar? - - - - I don't think so!
    Aman014
  • zmpcwwn 33 fje

    esmred,noslsuqy65, loxrd.
    bmakrekwe92-24378994348394162792597038958432
  • Replacing laptop keys

    A great place I have found is http://www.laptop-keys.com

    In my opinion they have the bast prices, fastest shipping and outstanding customer service. I have been going through them for years and made dozens of orders.
    billyjones55