2017 Macbook Pro Mysterious key repeats

tomcam

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Dec 17, 2016
4
5
My MBP randomly starts repeating a key in password fields (so I can't figure out what key is). Anyone else having this problem?

Rig:
2017 MacBook Pro (15") purchased December 2017
3.1 Ghz i7
16 GB RAM, 1 TB SSD
 

jerryk

macrumors 603
Nov 3, 2011
5,920
2,990
SF Bay Area
Try typing in words and sentences that use the keys in your password and see if you have issues. Also see of the password entry will display the password in plain text.

From a programming point of view they should be no difference from a password field. The only caveat to that may be that requirements for the password changed, ex. must have a uppercase, or special character like !, or cannot be your name, etc.
 

r.harris1

macrumors 6502a
Feb 20, 2012
922
1,935
Denver, Colorado, USA
My MBP randomly starts repeating a key in password fields (so I can't figure out what key is). Anyone else having this problem?

Rig:
2017 MacBook Pro (15") purchased December 2017
3.1 Ghz i7
16 GB RAM, 1 TB SSD
Does it do it anywhere else? In other words, are you seeing it in documents you type or emails? The new apple keyboards (2015 MacBook, 2016 & 2017 MacBook/MacBook Pro) are atrocious in my opinion. And I like Apple products a great deal. My wife's keyboard (2016 MacBook) repeats on 'e' and/or 'k' sometimes (didn't get AppleCare - out of warranty - $750-ish to repair). Both of our spaces bars on her 2016 MacBook and mine (also 2016, also out of warranty), as well as my 2017 MacBook Pro can occasionally take several tries to register, as well as the up arrow on my 2017. The 'x' on my MacBook, the same (multiple hits to register). Yuck. The keyboards are to me the weak point.

Can you take it in under warranty?

Oh, and to replace the keys yourself (only option I could see out of warranty) is unfortunately like brain surgery, at least for the space bar. Not at all like a "normal" keyboard.

Is it how my wife and I treat our machines? Possibly, but my 2013 MBP and her 2010 MBP had keyboards that worked flawlessly for years in the same house, same behavior.
 
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adamh10

macrumors member
Mar 20, 2009
71
24
Bradford, ON, Canada
Strange; I have an almost identical machine that I purchased in November (2TB SSD, however) and I have had no such issues. In fact, my machine has performed flawlessly since purchase.

The only advice I may offer you is to perhaps run the hardware diagnostics on your computer to see if it finds any keyboard faults. The second piece of advice that I would advise you to use, should you be consistently able to replicate the issue, is to make a Genius Bar appointment at your local Apple Store and take it in to show them and have the keyboard replaced. Do you have AppleCare on the computer? It doesn't matter at this point since you're under warranty anyway - but a good thing to note down the default "cost of repair" to see what a potential future out of warranty repair may cost you - and perhaps get AppleCare if you haven't yet :).

Also, does it only happen while entering in password fields, or does it happen when typing normally anywhere, say in a Pages/Microsoft Word document?

By the way, here is my Rig - very similar to yours, I assume.

- Space Gray, 15" (2017)
- Purchased November 2017, Manufacture Date October 9, 2017)
- 3.1GHZ i7
- 16GB RAM
- 2TB SSD
- Raden Pro 560 4GB VRAM
- Official Apple P/N for custom rig:Z0UC0LL/A

upload_2018-3-5_23-25-47.png
 
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537635

macrumors 6502a
Mar 7, 2009
651
566
Slovenia, EU
My MBP randomly starts repeating a key in password fields (so I can't figure out what key is). Anyone else having this problem?
Welcome to the club. You need a keyboard replacement.

(passwords are muscle memory, so you are typing them faster than pretty much anything else... slight irregularities in key sensitivity show here first)
 

Fishrrman

macrumors Core
Feb 20, 2009
19,660
6,846
There's nothing mysterious about it.
Looks like you have an infection of "KeyGate™".

IMPORTANT:
It's still under warranty.
Take it to a brick-n-mortar Apple Store genius bar WITHOUT DELAY.
They'll fix it.
This is a $700 repair. Yes, you read that correctly.
It involves replacing the ENTIRE TOP CASE (even to fix only one broken key).

Again, take it to Apple, right away, and get it repaired under warranty.
If you snooze, you're gonna lose. And lose BIG TIME.
 

groove-agent

macrumors 65816
Jan 13, 2006
1,203
890
I feel sorry for those with these machines after the warranty expires. $700 for a simple keyboard replacement is going to hurt. I can see a ton of people flogging their machines just before Applecare expires. If you look at the refurbished store, you'll see a ton of 2016/2017s while the 2015s sell out quickly.
 

smirking

macrumors 68030
Aug 31, 2003
2,626
2,288
Silicon Valley
On the contrary to everyone who thinks a repeating key is a red alert to get an urgent warranty replacement, I'd advocate just putting up with it to see if it'll go away on its own (unless your warranty was about to expire soon).

I own a lot of mechanical keyboards. Lots of them are prone to having odd key repeat issues. Sometimes the keyboards get less cranky with some breaking in. Sometimes they get worse.

Yeah, it's not cool that any keyboard on a laptop or otherwise doesn't work flawless under all conditions from day 1, but that's not the reality we're dealing with. I have a 2016 MBP and I've had keyboard issues with mine too. They were all temporary (so far) and went away with some key jiggling or repeated keypresses.
 
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537635

macrumors 6502a
Mar 7, 2009
651
566
Slovenia, EU
On the contrary to everyone who thinks a repeating key is a red alert to get an urgent warranty replacement, I'd advocate just putting up with it to see if it'll go away on its own if your warranty isn't about to expire anytime soon.
Well, I've had four keyboard replacements in the first 14 months (so far). So from my perspective get as many replacements as you like, because these things will fail. So best timing is just before the warranty runs out. This will give your $3000 laptop a lifespan of approximately 18 months.

(A little bit of sarcasm here, but the point is that an expensive keyboard replacement isn't a big deal if you know that keyboard will last. But if you expect it to fail sooner rather than later, then it is something completely different.)
 

smirking

macrumors 68030
Aug 31, 2003
2,626
2,288
Silicon Valley
Well, I've had four keyboard replacements in the first 14 months (so far). So from my perspective get as many replacements as you like, because these things will fail. So best timing is just before the warranty runs out. This will give your $3000 laptop a lifespan of approximately 18 months.
What I'm saying is that some people may be running off to get a keyboard replacement for something as typical as a jammed switch that might be resolved by nudging the keys in a certain way to get the switch to reset. As the owner of a number of mechanical keyboards, this is a common problem with certain types of switches. Sometimes it's indicative of a bigger problem, but sometimes its just the damn type of switch being a pain.

Sometimes I just hope it goes away and it does. Sometimes I try a few tricks I've learned to resettle glitchy switches and that works too. I'm not about to spend time at the Genius bar getting keyboard replacements when there's no guarantee that the replacement keyboard is going to be any different (as your 4 trips suggest) nor can I afford to be without my main work tool for however long it's going to take to get the top replaced.

I've had my 2016 MBP for 14 months now. I've had three keyboard problems. One of them just went away on its own and the other two I managed to resolve on my own. This isn't to say the keyboard is fine and that you're all using it wrong. What I mean is that your malfunctioning keyboard may not actually be defective (in the sense that it wouldn't pass the factory inspection) and your new keyboard might simply be just as defective. If that's the case, then wasting lots of time at the Genius bar getting a fix that won't make the keyboard flawless would be throwing good money after bad.

If you have the time to do that and want to do it to prove your point with Apple, that's your choice. Even though that's not the choice I would make, I'm actually glad people like you exist because you might cause enough pain that they'll think twice about radical designs that compromise on mechanical stability the next time around.
 
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537635

macrumors 6502a
Mar 7, 2009
651
566
Slovenia, EU
Well after getting a brand new keyboard (with topcase and battery and keyboard and trackpad) from service, running a FCPX for an hour and a few keys started jamming... I honestly didn't consider any DIY solutions.
 

smirking

macrumors 68030
Aug 31, 2003
2,626
2,288
Silicon Valley
Well after getting a brand new keyboard (with topcase and battery and keyboard and trackpad) from service, running a FCPX for an hour and a few keys started jamming... I honestly didn't consider any DIY solutions.
I had one key physically jam. I could still use the key, but it wouldn't click. I fixed it by holding it down and gently jiggling it around to all sides and then pressing it a whole bunch of times. It unjammed and I was able to avoid a warranty trip.

I've also read of a technique that has you press firmly along the lower edge and push your finger toward the top edge to reset the switch. I haven't had a chance to try that yet. I hope I never need to.

Compressed air also seems to be a pretty common DIY repair for the MBP keyboards.

I had a couple of issues of repeating keys after I wiped my keyboard down because it got greasy from my hands. I wiped it pretty casually and I think that got a couple of switches askew. It caused some temporary key doubling that went away. Since then, when I wipe down my keyboard, I push firmly and wipe slowly in straight lines instead of diagonals and circles. I haven't seen a repeat of my key doubling issue.

Here are some other tips that might work.
https://www.cnet.com/how-to/stuck-key-learn-the-right-way-to-clean-your-macbooks-keyboard/
 

Falhófnir

macrumors 601
Aug 19, 2017
4,630
5,134
As others have noted, this is a now very well documented problem with the keyboards of the 2016 and 2017 MacBook Pros. The ‘solution’ is to take it for a top case replacement from Apple, but the real stinker is it will be replaced with the same design of keyboard so could quite possibly happen again. I don’t know if there will be a further design change with the 2018s to fix it, but I have my doubts (if it was an ‘invisible’ fix it would be rolled out as soon as ready, not kept back for a new model). So unless apple announces the 2018s with a significantly reworked keyboard (slightly more travel to increase the key caps’ rebound force?) I’d assume the new model will continue to suffer from this problem.
 

jerryk

macrumors 603
Nov 3, 2011
5,920
2,990
SF Bay Area
What I'm saying is that some people may be running off to get a keyboard replacement for something as typical as a jammed switch that might be resolved by nudging the keys in a certain way to get the switch to reset. As the owner of a number of mechanical keyboards, this is a common problem with certain types of switches. Sometimes it's indicative of a bigger problem, but sometimes its just the damn type of switch being a pain.
If you are seeing jammed switches with a mechanical keyboard you should switch brands. I have several mechanical keyboards and the cheap gaming ones are the ones that jam. I quit using them for regular work. We spent the money, $150+, and got quality keyboards. In my case Das Keyboard 4 Pros. We have a dozen in the office and not a single one has jammed or otherwise failed in 3 years. Even when people do things like eat and drink while using them. It is really disgusting to turn one over and shake it out. Skin, food, hair, lints, and other crap rains out of them.
 

smirking

macrumors 68030
Aug 31, 2003
2,626
2,288
Silicon Valley
In my case Das Keyboard 4 Pros.
Hey congratulations. The Das is a beautiful keyboard. I would have gotten one myself, but I already have a couple of similar keyboards that work well.

If you are seeing jammed switches with a mechanical keyboard you should switch brands.
True, but the exact keyboard that feels right in my hands don't always come in other makes. The reason why I own so many mechanicals is because of repetitive strain injuries. Some of mine are the more exotic looking keyboards. One of my main drivers until just recently was the Matias Ergo Pro which uses a low force replica version of the ALPS switch. ALPS style switches have a reputation for developing key repeat issues, but as long as the issue isn't the circuitry, you can usually jiggle them a certain way and get them back to normal.

Ironically, Apple might be the company that made the ALPS switch famous. It was the switch used in the old school Apple keyboards like the Apple Extended Keyboard II.

The Das uses Cherry switches. None of my Cherry switched keyboards have key repeat problems stemming from the switch itself. If any of those start repeating, I know it's time to pursue further action.

When one of my ALPS boards goes bonkers, I know it might just be acting up... and so that's how I deal with my MBP keyboard. It seems to be a switch type that has a reputation for acting up once in a while so I won't freak out until I know for sure that it's not recovering.

This isn't to say I'm indifferent that such an expensive laptop is doing this to me (nor am I happy that my $200 Matias Ergo Pro also does it to me), but I can't change the nature of these keyboards, so I'm doing my best to understand and live with their limitations without causing any further aggravation to myself.
 
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