Replacing worn out buttons?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Dizzay, Jan 30, 2013.

  1. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2011
    #1
    My A button is worn out and my D is headed there too, on my 2011, 13in!

    [​IMG]

    I dont have apple care so I was wondering if anyone knew where to buy the buttons and steps to transplant them or if its even possible?
     
  2. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2013
    #2
    Go to the store

    Even though you do not have AppleCare, the apple store can replace specific keys on most computers. I would make a genius bar Appt at your nearest store just to see how much it would run you so you can get it installed correctly and the new keys will be under warranty for 90 Days.
     
  3. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2011
    #3
    yeah I thought about it but I've fixed tons of laptops before just never something as thin as this, and I don't want to pay their crazy prices.
     
  4. macrumors 6502a

    seveej

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2009
    Location:
    Helsinki, Finland
    #4
    That's positively weird. I'm not intending to get personal, but you've either typed 24/7 for two years, your fingers are unusually abrasive or it's a manufacturing error.

    If the first two options are not the cause, then there might be a way (depending on where you're at) as some countries have extensive legislation on manufacturer's liability. For instance I could (here) probably make a good case for having the keyboard replaced based (free of charge) on the fact that the keyboard does not withstand its intended use.

    Failing that, replacement of the keyboard is by no means an easy D-I-Y task. Even ifixit has no guide for that (only an upper case&keyboard - replacement) http://www.ifixit.com/Guide/MacBook+Air+13-Inch+Mid+2011+Upper+Case+Replacement/9427/1

    Unless you really need the keyboard to look pristine, I'd leave it be...

    RGDS,
     
  5. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2011
    #5
    Thats actually a good idea, I never had a button fade out like not even with cheap HP laptops heh. I did use to play tf2 a lot when I first got it but even then how would it cause that. I think I'll make an appointment tomorrow, I just feel bitter towards them since my charger cord ripped within the first year of warranty and they wouldn't replace it "due to personal use" causing it to rip. Hence why I didn't get apple care and just soldiered it back on.
     
  6. macrumors 68020

    JoeG4

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2002
    Location:
    Bay Area, Ca.
    #6
    You can pull the keys off and replace those, there are people that sell them, but they aren't cheap. Still, you'll want to be careful if you go that route.

    I don't think replacing a top case is all that crazy hard. Seems like that costs around $250 though.
     
  7. macrumors 68020

    Hankster

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2008
    Location:
    Washington DC
    #7
    Not weird at all. I have the original 11" MBA and my letter A is 100% worn out. It started chipping away about a year into ownership. Now, the entire "A" is done. I do notice that when I press the "A" key I use my pinkie finger's nail instead of the finger. Odd.
     
  8. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2007
    Location:
    Baltimore, MD
    #8
    i didn't even know this was possible.

    I guess it's good that I cut my nails as often as I do
     
  9. macrumors 6502a

    seveej

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2009
    Location:
    Helsinki, Finland
    #9
    I think a nail fits my term "unusually abrasive".

    RGDS,
     
  10. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2009
    Location:
    Singapore
    #10
    My keycap dropped off during typing and couldn't be popped back. Even though the mid-2011 MBA was under Applecare, Apple denied warranty. The quotation was SGD466 including labour to replace the entire keyboard. I spent almost an hour with the Applecare hotline before they escalated to Customer Relationship who then gave me an exception. The repair was just completed last week.
     

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  11. eric/, Feb 3, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2013

    Guest

    eric/

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2011
    Location:
    Ohio, United States
    #11
    Idk how true that is. I went to have 3 keys replaced, only for them to tell me they would only replace the entire assembly. :rolleyes:

    OP be careful about what keys you buy. I ended up replacing mine, and it can be a bit tricky, if the Apple store will do it then you should definitely go there. Otherwise I bought my keys from www.replacementlaptopkeys.com.

    If you've worked on laptops before, you shouldn't really have a problem replacing the key. Just go to Youtube and follow the instructions.

    Actually, I think you have the same laptop as me, so if you go to that site, select the AC06 as the key model, to ensure you get a backlit key.

    To replace, basically you are going to take a small flathead screwdriver, get under the key, and pop the plastic grips holding the key to the assembly off, then you grab the new key, and just press and pop it in. It's pretty simple and easy for keys like the one you want to replace. It's really worth it to do it yourself in this case.

    I had to replace my delete, enter, and a regular key. Not so fun.

    Hope that helps.
     
  12. Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #12
    OP, that's considered wear and tear so applecare wouldn't replace them anyways. You can probably find replacement keys on the net, though I've not had great luck personally fixing laptop keys. I've easily replaced desktop keys but laptop keys are a bit trickier (At least for me)
     
  13. macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2012
    #13
    Go to the Apple store - they'll probably have some spare keys lying around that they can put on. They can order spares of keys, but normally will just order a new TC.

    Not sure if I believe bigbird888's story though - unless there's physical signs of abuse, broken key hinges is a covered issue.
     
  14. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2012
    Location:
    UK
    #14
    Good luck. Your best bet is to just buy the ones you need from a 3rd party.

    I've owned 4 macbook airs (2012) in the last month. 3 returned for keyboard problems. Really loose keys and a broken one after only a weeks usage. First time I visited the Genius Bar they said it wasn't even broken. They should rename it to the Idiot Bar.

    I had to remove a piece of plastic because it was stuck under the cap stopping it from being pressed. The key wasn't even sitting on properly and when I got home I took it off myself and yep it was broken. So either the person at the "genius" bar was blind or just wanted rid of me.

    Friday there I took my 4th air down because the shift key was really loud and very loose. The genius could even hear it in the store and the place was packed. He said either he can book it in to get the full keyboard replaced or I could get a replacement machine. If you're in warranty then it'll be free but if you aren't then expect a big bill. They have to dismantle the entire computer to get to the keyboard. No easy job.

    He said he couldn't replace the key/scissor mechanism because it was "stuck to the actual computer" what a load of crap. It would take no more than 5 minutes to replace it. What a joke.

    Take it in and see what they say. You might be lucky but in my experience its just an absolutely waste of time.
     
  15. Hankster, Feb 3, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2013

    macrumors 68020

    Hankster

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2008
    Location:
    Washington DC
    #15
    A keyboard should be able to take a nail hitting it. Many women type with their nails. It is not abrasive at all. I also have two other computers I use and the A letter on both are fine. Plus, my nails are short. There is no way to cut your nail to where if it's pointing straight down that it doesn't hit.

    I don't know why, but for some reason this only happens on my MBA. I'm 36 years old and I've owned laptops since I was 15-16 years old. While I think the MBA is the best laptop I have ever used, it's odd the A letter chipped off. And seeing the OP has the same issue I'm glad I know it's not just me.

    PS: Just to be clear, I am not stating there is something wrong with the 11" MBA. The reason some people have issues with the 11" MBA is because the laptop is smaller. When using the 11" you tend to move up your palms so they are on the resting area, but for some that is not the natural typing position. That is why my left pinkie finger has to press straight down to hit the A letter. I probably have slightly longer fingers. I own two MacBook Pros and neither of them have any keyboard issues. The only keyboard that shows any wear is the MBA 11". I'd still buy it though.
     
  16. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2011
    #16
    I had the same thing happen to my S key - I figured I will just deal with it till its time for me to scrap this air for the next one. (By scrap I mean give it to my wife) hehe
     
  17. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2009
    Location:
    Singapore
    #17
    I have attached three pictures: (1) condition of the keyboard, (2) initial quotation for replacement, (3) invoice after repair.



     

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  18. macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2012
    #18
    Wow that's crazy - key caps that have broken off without signs of damage are a warranty issue.

    I have a feeling they were trying to get a paid repair (where they can charge more) out of you.
     
  19. Guest

    eric/

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2011
    Location:
    Ohio, United States
    #19
    For the love of all that is Apple that is definitely the most outrageous price quote I've ever seen in my life.

    The key cap is less than $10, shipped, and takes 3 seconds to pop off and replace. $100 to diagnose a keycap?

    Jesus that's crazy.
     
  20. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2009
    Location:
    Singapore
    #20
    It was not QCD but Apple which declined to cover the repair by Applecare. When I first visited QCD, they told me Applecare would not cover based on experience. I told them they should check and give me a formal reply. QCD checked with Applecare and gave me the S$466 quotation (dated 25 Jan) for the keyboard replacement. As mentioned, I spent almost an hour with the Applecare hotline before they escalated to Customer Relations who then gave me an exception. That is why it was S$0 in the final invoice (dated 28 Jan) with a statement "Key cap came off and cannot be fixed back. Escalated to Applecare for approval. After escalating with Applecare (***), it was being declined for warranty replacement."

    So in the end, the problem was still not covered by Applecare but the cost of the replacement was covered by an exception from Apple Customer Relations.


     
  21. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2013
    #21
    I just got my keys replaced today under applecare. My computer is about 17 months old. I made an appointment over the weekend and went in to see them (late!) and the genius just took the unit to the back and replaced 3-4 keys for me in 20 minutes for free! I've always had issues with keys being worn despite how clean or short my nails are regardless of PC or mac. I make an effort to wipe down my computer every weekend and use blow air.

    I honestly believe applecare is the best damn thing out there. I've gotten both keys and frayed adapters replaced within moments and for free during the lifetime of my laptop. At face cost, this could have been the price of the applecare package. I still have about a year and a half on my warranty as well so when other (or the new keys) wear again I hopefully will still have a computer that looks new applecare expires. :) I really regret not getting the applecare package while I was a student, which included an extra year (4 years total) and free loaner computers for the duration of your applecare package!
     
  22. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2015
    #22
    I am going to Napierville, Illinois and will set up an appointment ahead of time. I use my keyboard all day long, everyday - so this is not much of a surprise that the letter on the key A and E wore down so much. :eek: Just hoping it won't be too expensive to replace the keys!
     

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