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Touchy subject: Users are complaining about malfunctioning keys on the 12-inch MacBook

Why it matters to you

If you own a MacBook 12-inch laptop, it might be a good idea to clean the keyboard regularly.

A number of users of 12-inch MacBooks have been reporting to Apple that they have had problems with keys sticking. Users claim that the keys do not actuate properly, and lack any sort of tactile feedback, and there also appears to be no auditory click designating their actuation.

MacBooks have, like many laptops, low-travel-distance keys. This helps save on weight and size in a computing form factor that is aimed at being lightweight and portable. However, in this instance that appears to be causing some problems, as dirt and debris getting under those keys is proving hard to remove and possibly causing some issues with keys no longer functioning.

The keys in question don’t appear to be any specific keys, with some users reporting problems with particular letters, while others have found the larger shift and space bar keys to be the culprits.

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Some users have reported finding success in cleaning out their keyboards, using compressed air or some sort of scraping tool to clear things out. However that doesn’t fix the issue for everyone.

Some of those people returned their laptops to Apple for repair, and some users are already on their second repair job after receiving a replacement MacBook. 9to5Mac reports one user who is already on their third MacBook, having seen this problem several times.

“First the delete key. On my next machine the right shift key,” claims one user on the Apple Support thread. “On my third machine I checked all the keys very carefully before I left the store and they all worked. Always one edge or one corner that failed. Now the left shift key failed three days ago, and today the right arrow key stuck at the bottom left corner.”

It should be noted that this problem with 12-inch MacBooks has been ongoing since the end of 2015, so it seems to effect multiple generations of the notebooks. The latest complaint is from January 24, 2017, so whatever the issue with MacBook keyboards is, it’s ongoing.

Apple’s official support guide suggests users use compressed air to clean out the keys, though that obviously doesn’t work for everyone.