Released June 2012, Model A1278. Intel processor with Turbo Boost, Up to 512 MB DDR5 Video RAM

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Why does some of my keys stop working every now and then?


Every now and then the keys "rtyuio" stop working on my keyboard. I have to press them quite hard to get them working. Do you know what the problem might be?

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Most likely you have spilled some crumbs or liquid into the keyboard. If you are up to it you can pop off the key caps and using some distilled water (not tap or spring water! They have minerals which you don't want) just dampening a cotton swab wipe down the caps and the frame. Make sure not to allow any water to drip in! You can also use a high quality Isopropyl alcohol but it tends not to cut though the sugars unlike distilled water.

Here's a good vid on how to pop the keycaps: How to remove and clean Macbook Pro keyboard keys

If cleaning under the key caps didn't fix things you'll need to attack the problem from the other side which is a very big job! Often I don't even try to go that deep as the liquid damage has damaged the parts. As you are able to get the keys to work you maybe lucky!

Here's the IFIXIT guide you'll need to follow to take the system apart: MacBook Pro 13" Unibody Mid 2012 Upper Case Replacement. I tend to replace the complete upper case assembly.

To take the keyboard apart: Unibody Macbook Pro Keyboard Replacement - Liquid Spill Damage Repair by Rossmann Group. Louis does make it look easy. You'll need to take out 50+ odd screws and/or snap rivets depending on the age and model.

If you need a replacement keyboard you can google to find them just be careful! As some are 2nd's which may not work well.

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This answer is totally wrong. It has nothing to do with dirt. If "RTYUI" keys are not working then it has something to do with the mouse and trackpad settings in the Accessibility ( go to system preferences) I'm in the process of trying to speak with apple to rectify the problem so can't offer more info now but I just wanted to correct the previous poster that the issue isn't to do with dirt. Anyone googling the problem will get referred to the Accesibility setting in system preferences.


@achenstrasse22 - mmm... I've fixed quite a few MacBook Pro's both 13" & 15" better than 300 in the field where I work over the years. Liquid spilled into the keyboard is a good 80% of the problem with bad keys.

I have not seen people remapping their keyboard to the point the keyboard fails to work at all 'RTYUIO keys stop working'.

The only other possibility is a swelled battery which is pressing from the back. Running CoconutBattery should rule that out.

If you didn't spill anything in then I would say you have a battery issue.


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Try to take to a specialist it is because the dust and grease has tampered with the sensors! :)

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Here's the problem and the solution (on my 2012 MacBook Pro):

I had this issue and found that pressing down hard on the E key before the problem keys or the lower case to the right of the trackpad got it working again for a bit sometimes. It also worked fine using a USB keyboard.

took it to a repair place and they got it working for a couple weeks but then the problem returned.

What the real issue turned out to be was the battery was swollen after two years.

If you have this problem, remove the battery and run the computer from the power cord only and see if the problem goes away. In my case it did, so I ordered a new battery and installed it, and with a new (unswollen) battery, the problem didn't return and the computer works just fine.

I didn't change the keyboard or the top case, just the battery.

No more issue.

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