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macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 19, 2018
Okay so first of all it's an early 2015 13-inch MacBook air, running High Sierra 10.13.3. It's never had any problems in the past.

After using it the other day, I closed it and sat it next to me. When I reopened it about an hour later, the keyboard was not working properly. Keys were not reacting, or were producing the wrong letter (sometimes multiple letters). Some keys ('p') were repeatedly pressing themselves Shift and capslock were turning themselves on and off, and I couldn't do anything about it. After an hour of trying I managed to type my password in, and enabled the virtual keyboard. I ran an avast full scan which came back clear (didn't have antivirus before this though.).

I then got a usb keyboard, which helped most of the problems. The shift key was still intermittently pressing itself though, and I started to notice flickering lines across the screen. I tried resetting PRAM, VRAM but the problems persisted.

Because I still wasn't sure if it was software or hardware, I decided to try getting everything important off, and wiping the whole thing. Unfortunately, none of the USB drives I inserted worked. They worked fine on a different Mac, and showed up under system report and disk utility, but clicking on the mount option did nothing.

At the moment, the random pressing seems to have subsided, though shift continues to turn itself on and off. Oddly, I seem to have a few seconds after turning it on where the problems aren't as bad? There's some sort of error where text docs are showing up behind photos on my desktop - these disappear as soon as they're highlighted. I tried downloading a different anti-virus from malwarebytes, but the website was unusable: flickering black.

I have no clue what's wrong; does anyone have any ideas? Software or hardware? Anything obvious I haven't tried yet? Does this seem like something that Apple would be able to (cheaply) fix, or should I be expecting to buy a new laptop?

Thanks to anyone who read all of this, and for any help.


macrumors 65816
May 25, 2017
Western Europe
So you already wiped the whole computer and did a complete fresh install/reset of MacOS? If not: try that. If that helps: problem solved!

If that did not help, you most likely have a hardware problem.
Best case scenario: some cabling (for instance between your keyboard and your screen) is worn and broken. Worst case scenario: some component on your motherboard failed.

The repair can vary between relatively cheap (repair the cabling) to very expensive (replace the motherboard). The only way to find out is bringing it to a repair shop or an Apple store, let them diagnose the problem and let them make a quotation.
After that you can decide for yourself if it is worth the repair.

Be warned about the (unreliable/failing) butterfly keyboards on the newer MacBooks though (2016 and newer). You can read about this in other threads. If you are out of warranty those keyboard repairs can set you back around $700! If you want to stick to Apple and need to buy a new MacBook you should seriously consider a refurbished 2015 model (or wait until Apple announces newer MacBooks with the keyboard failure problem solved).
Last edited:


macrumors 604
Apr 19, 2017
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Was the Air exposed to moisture or dropped?

If there is a nearby Apple store, take it there and ask for a diagnosis.

If you are comfortable with removing the bottom casing, remove it, disconnect the battery right away, replace the bottom casing, don't insert the screws, connect the charger, don't touch the machine, and see if it turns on by itself. If it does turn on and seems to function normally, perform an SMC reset.


macrumors member
May 21, 2014
Sort of a stretch, but check Bluetooth and see if it's connected to anything.
Good suggestion.
I had an Apple keyboard under the desk which I'd forgotten about. Something ended up on top of it and was generating keypresses on my MBP. I though I'd spilled something into the Macbook, given the symptoms.
Took me a while before the lightbulb pinged on above my head
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macrumors 68020
Apr 23, 2010
Good suggestion.
I first became aware of this a few years ago, where my trackpad and keyboard started going crazy. I rebooted - still crazy. I carried a Magic Mouse in my backpack, and got switched on and then compressed. Once I realized that all was good. Glad this helped.


macrumors G3
Feb 13, 2011
Baltimore, Maryland
If none of the suggestions are working and you need to get data off of that computer you might want to do it via another device on the network...before it's too late.


macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 19, 2018
Turned Bluetooth off, no change. I did get the USBs working, so I got everything off, and did a full reset. Now the only problem is the caps lock and left shift don't work, but that's easy enough to work around. I'll take it in to get fixed next week. Thanks for all your help and advice.
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