2011 Macbook Pro Keyboard light sensor not working propertly.

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Eternal 28, Mar 9, 2011.

  1. Eternal 28 macrumors 6502

    Apr 22, 2008
    Hello, I have the new 2011 15" Macbook pro and they keyboard sensor is not working correctly. It seems like the light is always on even under bright lighting conditions. To turn it off i have to use my iPhone flashlight to turn it off. Compared side by side on my older Macbook Pro the backlit keyboard would turn off while the 2011 macbook pro keyboard would still stay lit. Anyone else having similar problems?
  2. Hackintosh Sr. macrumors regular

    Dec 11, 2008
    YES! 17" here. Backlit stays on all the time. Settings somewhere?
  3. Eternal 28 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Apr 22, 2008
    I know there is a setting to turn it off but it should be done automatically. I think they moved the sensor on the new Macbook pros. To turn it off go to settings, keyboard, and uncheck illuminate keyboard in low light conditions.
  4. Hackintosh Sr. macrumors regular

    Dec 11, 2008
    ah yeah i see that. I think the sensor is next to the camera. iphone 4 sensor problem in the new macbook pro. Brilliant!
  5. imaginex20 macrumors 65816


    Jun 17, 2009
    yep, my 2011 13" MBP i5 has the same issue. The ambient light sensor has a problem adjusting my screen's brightness and my backlight on the keys are on most of the time. If I shine my phone's led light at it then it would turn off...

    Hoping a firmware update can fix the issue...
  6. Hackintosh Sr. macrumors regular

    Dec 11, 2008
    so maybe I will bring it into the store? Seems not too widespread?
  7. a.y.n macrumors regular


    Jul 7, 2009
    San Francisco
  8. knwctrl macrumors newbie

    Mar 15, 2011
    I just got my 13" i5 today and i have the same issue. works fine when i shine my iphone light at it. obviously moving the sensor beside the camera isnt recieving the proper lighting to work it.
  9. Manacit macrumors member


    Feb 19, 2011
    New York, NY
    I'm getting the same issue, my room is very well lit, but the keyboard light is still on. When I turn on the flash of my phone and shine it into the sensor, the keyboard lights immediately turn off, and then a few seconds later, the keyboard turns right back on. Is this something that merits Apple Storing, or is it a feature?
  10. StandardMeth0d macrumors member


    Jul 2, 2010
    I'm sure this can be fixed in a firmware update.
  11. wonder-boy macrumors newbie


    Mar 15, 2011
    that sucks that you are having that problem, 2011 mbp 13" light sensor works great, actually one of the coolest things about the mac.
  12. Krafty macrumors 601


    Dec 31, 2007
    La La Land
    Mines is kinda weird. It works perfectly in my dorm, turn on the lights and they go off. However, on campus, under direct lighting it stays on. But since I mostly keep it plugged in it doesnt bother me too much.
  13. sdeleng macrumors newbie

    Jan 10, 2011
    mine never goes off

    same problem here with my 13 MBP - only worse. Shining a bright light, iphone flashlight app, or anything else except pointing the screen at the open sky has no affect at all. I have tried moving a beam all over the keyboard to no effect. So I have to turn the option off altogether as I work off-grid a lot.
  14. octium macrumors newbie

    Mar 18, 2011
    Having the same problem on my 13". The sensor has been the camera or around the camera in previous models so I don't think putting it up there is new. (I used to sell for a large retailer and the training apple gave us for doing demoing this feature instructed us to cover the camera to block the sensor.)
  15. macsnack macrumors newbie

    Mar 29, 2011
    Just got the MBP a few days ago, and noticed this quirk as well. The funny thing is that mine lights up during the day when it's bright, and does NOT light up when it's dark... how odd is that...

    Tried to reset SMC to no avail.. wondering if I should bring it in or wait for an update... but given how I have updated with an SSD and replaced the optical drive with a 7200rpm 750gb drive so not keen to revert back to factory spec for now...

    Hope this is solved in some update soon!
  16. gr8whtd0pe macrumors 6502a


    Feb 21, 2008
    Belle, WV
    I know this is an old thread, but I just got my 13" and it bugs me that it is always on. It does not dim the screen either like it should.

    Anyone figured out a fix?
  17. Elucidesign, Jun 28, 2011
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2011

    Elucidesign macrumors newbie

    May 13, 2011
    Try this: If Sensor o.k., but F-key Control no.

    For the 2011 MacBook Pro, maybe others.

    One screw factor can be too much light on the sensor.

    Things I've learned.
    1. "Illuminate keyboard in low light" MUST be checked. Always. If this is unchecked, neither the sensor of F-keys will have any effect, and backlighting will NOT be on, ever. It should read: "Use Keyboard backlighting, or not"

    2. The sensor is near (or in) the camera, if you're sitting with daylight streaming in from a window behind you, it maxes out the sensor control, and the F5/F6 keys will 'appear' not to work. Don't do this. Make the light illuminate the keyboard (from above), or move yourself, don't let it light the sensor & LCD screen plane (from light behind you).

    3. If these points above aren't followed, you will get the Barred Circle "Not allowed" Symbol when trying to control the keyboard backlight from F5/F6, as other users have reported.

    This is a functional design flaw, because with a window behind you, low raking light may not sufficiently illuminate the keys, (you'd prefer the backlight) but since the sensor gets 'maxed out' the backlighting won't turn on. However the Catch-22 is that simply placing the sensor in the plane of the keyboard keys (where it should be) would then also read the light from the LCD, which would screw with the backlighting calculation, and get more complex. Read: Becoming even more flawed in unusual conditions.

    Photographers: You'll be saying, well YEAH! Lighting is complex! Tell me about "controlling it."

    Really, Apple is saying: "If you're in lots of daylight, don't allow the backlight, at all." I HAD thought something was malfunctioning, but it was just too much light at the wrong angle.

    If you get this far and the Damned thing still won't trigger, RESTART, sit in a Medium-bright room with diffuse light, touch Ring and Middle finder to thumbe and put some frickin' tape over the sensor for Gawd's Sake. At least you'll have DONE something, entertaining.
  18. Elucidesign, Jun 28, 2011
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2011

    Elucidesign macrumors newbie

    May 13, 2011
    Ah, but your in MY House now, says the Mac.

    @Eternal28 & Others.

    It just occurred to me the expectations you have, vs. the designed intent. This not withstanding, I still have issues as will others, with tough lighting situations. (Tough for the designed intent)

    You expect the backlight to turn ON when its dark? and OFF when its Light. Right?

    Ennng. Wrong.

    Thats not how this 'hyper-intelligent' obtuse system works. (Sometimes too-smart to work right, if you ask me.)

    Look, why would the backlight DIM when you put your finger over the sensor? Because Apple is thinking:

    Case A: Sensor: Whoa ! It just got Darker, therefore we need LESS backlighting to compensate and make it visible, but not glaringly bright. This mode may piss you off, if the sensor is getting light, but the keyboard is not... damn it, not enough backlighting.
    Case B: The opposite also: Sensor says: "It's pretty bright out there, I need LOTS of backlighting to illuminate the characters with sufficient CONTRAST. This mode may piss you off, if you want it OFF during the "daytime."
    Case C: Sensor: "It's so damn bright out there I'm going blind, and no one shouldn't be able to see the Keys, without ANY backlighting. This mode shouldn't piss anybody off.

    The reality is that without a diffuser over the light sensor, (which is inset and damn tiny, probably shared with camera), and given its necessary "LCD-plane" location, it is next to impossible for it to make the right decision in all lighting circumstances, which vary FAR MORE widely than an engineer can account for with 100% effectiveness.

    Doesn't it suck to say: "Well, they did their best..."?

    When the "Illuminate keyboard..." Pref is checked you're saying: Here, Mac, why don't you control everything, turn it ON, turn it OFF, adjust it for me, 'cuz damn, obviously I don't have the brains (or attention) to do it all myself. While you're at here's some stocks I need trading.

    Sound like a Mac? Sho 'nuf.

    The reality is though. Sometimes we just want the damn thing ON, or OFF. When it's dark, when its light. Suck an egg, Mac.

    That's not something their switches allow. Picky, picky engineeroids.
    How's that for more than you wanted to think about light sensors.?

  19. WhiteIphone5 macrumors 65816


    May 27, 2011
    Lima, Peru
    did u find a fix for this? thanks

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