Clean Apple Keyboard (2003 Model)

WalnutSpice

Suspended
Original poster
Jun 21, 2015
456
91
Canton, Oh
A few days ago I received my 2002 Apple Keyboard (The model that came with the G5s) and it looks alright for it's age, the seller definitely did an okay job at cleaning it up. But, it is not as bright as it once was and there is some dirt and dust under the keys. Any suggestions how to remove the dust below the keys and possibly make it whiter as it was in 2003? My schools iMac's use these same keyboards and I don't think they've ever seen direct sunlight so I have an idea for what it should look like.
 

bunnspecial

macrumors 604
May 3, 2014
7,168
4,204
Kentucky
Start by brute force cleaning.

Take a photo of the keyboard, then pop off every key cap-yes every single one. If you have access to it, clean the keycaps ultrasonically-just chuck them in a glass with some soapy water and let the ultrasonic work its magic for 30 minutes or so. After that, rinse them thoroughly(multiple water changes) and then spread the caps out on a paper towel to dry. I usually give them two or three days. If you don't have an ultrasonic cleaner, clean each keycap by hand.

While you have the keycaps off, put the whole keyboard under the faucet and use a scrub brush to clean all the crap out of the nooks and crannies. Again, give it a few days to dry.

If you're still not happy with the appearance, you can try Retrobrite-the formula is online.

Once everything is cleaned to your satisfaction, be sure it's dry and put it back together. The keycaps snap back on.

BTW, I don't know which keyboard you're talking about, but if it's the M7803 Pro Keyboard you'll want to disassemble it to access the colored bezel. You may need to Retrobrite this also.

The above will generally get the A1048 looking good.

BTW, I've been working on an IBM Model M the last few days and have folks amazed that it's even the same board.

Cleaning a keyboard well takes a while, and there are very few I will even bother doing it with. I took a Bondi Blue KB(M2452) down to the membranes a few weeks back. It had several dead keys, and I found evidence of an old orange juice spill-once the membranes were clean(deionized water and Kimwipes) and the board put back together, it worked perfectly. In general, I only bother cleaning Apple keyboards and IBM/Lexmark/Unicomp Model Ms. I also rebuilt key switches on Apple Extended Keyboards, a process which involves unsoldering the key switch from the circuit board, disassembling it, and adjusting the spring pressure to get it working again. Commodity PC keyboards are better off in the dumpster when they are dirty or don't work completely.
 

WalnutSpice

Suspended
Original poster
Jun 21, 2015
456
91
Canton, Oh
Start by brute force cleaning.

Take a photo of the keyboard, then pop off every key cap-yes every single one. If you have access to it, clean the keycaps ultrasonically-just chuck them in a glass with some soapy water and let the ultrasonic work its magic for 30 minutes or so. After that, rinse them thoroughly(multiple water changes) and then spread the caps out on a paper towel to dry. I usually give them two or three days. If you don't have an ultrasonic cleaner, clean each keycap by hand.

While you have the keycaps off, put the whole keyboard under the faucet and use a scrub brush to clean all the crap out of the nooks and crannies. Again, give it a few days to dry.

If you're still not happy with the appearance, you can try Retrobrite-the formula is online.

Once everything is cleaned to your satisfaction, be sure it's dry and put it back together. The keycaps snap back on.

BTW, I don't know which keyboard you're talking about, but if it's the M7803 Pro Keyboard you'll want to disassemble it to access the colored bezel. You may need to Retrobrite this also.

The above will generally get the A1048 looking good.

BTW, I've been working on an IBM Model M the last few days and have folks amazed that it's even the same board.

Cleaning a keyboard well takes a while, and there are very few I will even bother doing it with. I took a Bondi Blue KB(M2452) down to the membranes a few weeks back. It had several dead keys, and I found evidence of an old orange juice spill-once the membranes were clean(deionized water and Kimwipes) and the board put back together, it worked perfectly. In general, I only bother cleaning Apple keyboards and IBM/Lexmark/Unicomp Model Ms. I also rebuilt key switches on Apple Extended Keyboards, a process which involves unsoldering the key switch from the circuit board, disassembling it, and adjusting the spring pressure to get it working again. Commodity PC keyboards are better off in the dumpster when they are dirty or don't work completely.
Yes, it is an A1048.
Thanks though, I will definitely try this as soon as I can get all those supplies together.
 

happyfrappy

macrumors 6502
Oct 14, 2007
343
49
Location eh?
If you're not into removing keys, a mini keyboard-vacuum found at Frys/Microcenter is worth using as the brushes reach between keys. I'd suggest being extremely careful with older translucent Apple USB keyboards/mice, on Low End Mac there was a report the plastics from the Bondi to iMac G4 is prone to becoming brittle if exposed in too much sunlight... my old puck mouse for example the matte texture flaked off and became shiny instead.

As far as cleaning the "white keyboards" of that era Macs, they were bright white and as they aged from UV/skin oils it would get that Olympic White guitar cream look. Most keyboard keys don't always age equally from usage and going the Retrobrite direction might be necessary.
 

Xandros

macrumors regular
Sep 19, 2010
211
11
Yes, it is an A1048.
Thanks though, I will definitely try this as soon as I can get all those supplies together.
This isn't related to your problem (sorry) but I am interested in your keyboard. Out of interest could you flip it over and tell me what the copyright year is written on the back in the small black text (odd request I know but I've often wondered how many revisions of the A1048 there actually were and I've got a feeling the copyright year didn't change every year, only when a new revision came out).
 

bunnspecial

macrumors 604
May 3, 2014
7,168
4,204
Kentucky
This isn't related to your problem (sorry) but I am interested in your keyboard. Out of interest could you flip it over and tell me what the copyright year is written on the back in the small black text (odd request I know but I've often wondered how many revisions of the A1048 there actually were and I've got a feeling the copyright year didn't change every year, only when a new revision came out).

If you're studying this, I will gladly provide you with a bunch of numbers as I have several of these KBs. They are inaccessible to me at the moment, but can get them to you next week.
 

WalnutSpice

Suspended
Original poster
Jun 21, 2015
456
91
Canton, Oh
This isn't related to your problem (sorry) but I am interested in your keyboard. Out of interest could you flip it over and tell me what the copyright year is written on the back in the small black text (odd request I know but I've often wondered how many revisions of the A1048 there actually were and I've got a feeling the copyright year didn't change every year, only when a new revision came out).
The Copyright on mine 2003
 

Xandros

macrumors regular
Sep 19, 2010
211
11
Thanks for that. Ultimately, what I'm looking for is an A1048 with a particular year on the back to prove a point.
 

WalnutSpice

Suspended
Original poster
Jun 21, 2015
456
91
Canton, Oh
2004, 2006 or 2007 would do it.
I could definitley see these keyboards in production up to 2007. They shipped with G5s, so I'm sure they were still making them as long as G5s were in production. And G5s must've been in production up until at least late 2006 or early 2007 to replace G5s that were under warranty that may have broken
 

bunnspecial

macrumors 604
May 3, 2014
7,168
4,204
Kentucky
I could definitley see these keyboards in production up to 2007. They shipped with G5s, so I'm sure they were still making them as long as G5s were in production. And G5s must've been in production up until at least late 2006 or early 2007 to replace G5s that were under warranty that may have broken
That keyboard shipped with earlier Intel Macs also, including the Mac Pro and the polycarbonate iMac. It was replaced by the "low profile" aluminum one, which I think came out around 2008 along with the aluminum iMac and the like.
 

MagicBoy

macrumors 68040
May 28, 2006
3,904
933
Manchester, UK
Mine is dated 2005, although it's UK layout. Was bought new in mid-2006 for my MacBook Pro.

Might even have the retail box for it somewhere...
 

Xandros

macrumors regular
Sep 19, 2010
211
11
Interesting MagicBoy, thanks for that. You see you guys are right, they A1048 was in production between the years of 2003 and 2007. But here's the thing; I've only ever seen the copyright date on the back of these keyboards read 2003 or 2005. I've never seen any other year on them.

I once read a long time ago about how the A1048 keyboard was "updated" somehow in 2005, though it didn't elaborate on how, and that web page seems to have since disappeared. If Apple didn't bother updating the copyright year every year unless the keyboard was actually revised (which makes sense) then that would mean the keyboard was revised in 2005 somehow or other.

The only way I thought I could prove myself wrong would be finding a keyboard with the years 2004, 2006 or 2007 on it, since that would suggest they did update the year every year. (possibly). But, so far I haven't.

If there was a revision in 2005 I haven't got a faintest clue as to what it was. From what I can tell the 2003/2005 keyboards look identical and have all the same keys and functions so if it was revised it was under the hood so to speak.
 

MagicBoy

macrumors 68040
May 28, 2006
3,904
933
Manchester, UK
I think there's another one at work somewhere, in the spares cupboard. Not sure if it's originally came with a G5 or Mac Pro 1,1 though. I'll check tomorrow.
 

MacCubed

macrumors 68000
Apr 26, 2014
1,618
487
Florida
I can check 2, they are in one of my classes in a drawer. My teacher is chill so I can do whatever
 

Xandros

macrumors regular
Sep 19, 2010
211
11
Anyone got a Mac that boots into OS 9 and an A1048 with 2003 on the back?

Edit: actually forget that, I just remembered the a1048 was never listed as being compatible with OS 9 so the eject button probably doesn't work on the 2003 version either - my 2005 A1048 eject key doesn't work when I'm booted under OS 9 and I suddenly had a brain lightbulb moment and thought ah, maybe there was a revision in 2005 and it dropped support for OS 9! Nope, didn't support OS 9 in 2003 either lol.
 
Last edited:

bunnspecial

macrumors 604
May 3, 2014
7,168
4,204
Kentucky
I checked 7 KBs out of my personal stash(I could have sworn I had more, but that was all I turned up) and all were either 2003 or 2005.
 

Xandros

macrumors regular
Sep 19, 2010
211
11
I wonder what they did to it in 2005 to warrant updating the copyright then? I suppose it could just be as simple as they ran out of the old stock and had more made.
 
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.