How to Replace or Clean a MacBook Key

How to Replace or Clean a MacBook Key

Nick Helen
7 September 2022

Usually, you’d require a complete keyboard replacement after breaking one or two keys which could cost quite some money. However, you can skip professional laptop repair if you can manage to replace the key yourself. From the keycap and key hinge to the rubber cup, the required parts can be bought online. There’s a catch though. If the key works fine after replacing it, then good but if it still malfunctions, your MacBook might need a keyboard replacement.

Before we start this guide, you must know that the process of removing keys whether for replacement or cleaning requires your utmost attention and care. So, you don’t end up damaging more keys. If in the process, you can’t put the keys back in place, don’t panic and give up. You can contact your local Macbook repair shop and take expert help.

For instance, Geekscall Out is a reputable PC/Mac repair shop in London, UK  that provides expert repairs. You can contact them and get a direct quote via their 24/7 helpline. Their experienced technician can come to your home or office and help you with the task.

Now, let’s move on to the process of removing the keys from the MacBook. We’ll also give you tips on how you can clean them.

How to replace and clean the MacBook keys?

You may find two types of key retainer clips, also known as switches in the Macbook. One type is scissor shaped and the other is butterfly-shaped. The butterfly keyboards didn’t sit well among the users due to their bad design. The butterfly keys would collect dust and grime so quickly that the keys would become non-usable.

Apple started a program for fixing the butterfly keyboards free of cost but many are still stuck with this keyboard. Finally, Apple has given up on butterfly switches, bringing the design of the scissors back. So, let’s see how you can remove the keys.

1- Take out the keycap:

  • Use a flat screwdriver or a guitar pick to take out the keycap.
  • Put the tool under the bottom corner of the key and slide it over to the other end while exerting minor pressure upwards. Be gentle as you perform this step to prevent keys from breaking.
  • The keycap should pop up and you can move to the next step.

2- Remove the mechanism:

For scissor switch

After you take off the keycap, you’ll find the scissor-switch behind the keycap. Gently use the tool to pry out the mechanism. Insert the flat screwdriver under the top center and lift it upwards, popping the switch out.

To put it back, place the switch fitting the three hooks present on the keyboard membrane of the MacBook. After the switch is fitted, put the keycap on it and press on it with your finger from the center point until you clear a click sound. Now, check if it types fine.

Watch this video to get a visual demonstration of how to do this.


For a butterfly switch

The keycap removal process is identical for both types of keyboards. However, you will not find the mechanism attached behind the keycap in a butterfly keyboard. The switch would be present on the keyboard membrane. So, after you pull out the keycap, use the flat screwdriver to remove the mechanism, applying the same technique. The switch should pop up and you may get your supplies to clean it.

To put it back, fit the switch in the hooks and place the key back on it. Press on the key with your finger until you hear a clicking sound.

Watch the video below for a better understanding.


How to clean the keys?

Now that you know the process of removing the keys and their mechanism, get cleaning supplies. Note that you must shut down your laptop before starting the key removal and cleaning process. Also, disconnect all wires connected to it.

  • Make a mixture containing water and isopropyl alcohol in equal ratios. Put all the keys inside them and soak them for 10 to 15 minutes. Next, take the keys out and let them air dry. Meanwhile, use a mini vacuum cleaner or canned air to blow the dust away. Afterward, take a dry cloth and wipe the keyboard.
  • In the case of sticky keys, follow the same step for cleaning the individual keys. However, use a damp lint-free cloth and rub it against the keyboard to wipe the stickiness away. Ensure the cloth doesn’t drip liquid or else you could damage the keyboard.


The process of removing, replacing, and cleaning the MacBook keys is pretty straightforward. It just requires your utmost focus and cares throughout so you don’t mess up.





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