Password field filling with dots on startup

spiritlevel

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Nov 5, 2007
373
58
I lent my daughter my MacBook Pro 2018 for schoolwork while we are on lockdown, and rather as I had feared might happen, she told me tonight it was 'broken'...

Problem is that when starting up, the password field immediately starts filling with characters (dots) and therefore you can't type your password in. Its a bit like a key is stuck.

However I realised that if you immediately hold the delete key down when the dots start filling - you can delete them and they will not refill - you can then enter the password.

Once the computer starts up properly there is no issue with the keyboard - characters do not try and auto-type - which suggests it is not a stuck ket after all - the issue only happens in the password field on startup.

Not come across this one before so wondered if anyone might know what the issue might be and how to fix it please?

Thanks.
 

glenthompson

macrumors 68020
Apr 27, 2011
2,045
172
Florida
Any possibility of a Bluetooth keyboard being attached? Might have something on top causing characters to type. Did you set her up as a separate user? What happens when a different user logs in?
 
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sakagura

Suspended
Feb 29, 2020
83
119
I lent my daughter my MacBook Pro 2018 for schoolwork while we are on lockdown, and rather as I had feared might happen, she told me tonight it was 'broken'...

Problem is that when starting up, the password field immediately starts filling with characters (dots) and therefore you can't type your password in. Its a bit like a key is stuck.

However I realised that if you immediately hold the delete key down when the dots start filling - you can delete them and they will not refill - you can then enter the password.

Once the computer starts up properly there is no issue with the keyboard - characters do not try and auto-type - which suggests it is not a stuck ket after all - the issue only happens in the password field on startup.

Not come across this one before so wondered if anyone might know what the issue might be and how to fix it please?

Thanks.
Create a new user account and see if it still happens. If it doesn't, it means a bug or some kind of malware could have been installed on the main user account that is attempting to fill the password field.

Delete the old user account after transferring documents to the new user account.
 

spiritlevel

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Nov 5, 2007
373
58
Thanks for the advice everyone.

I created a new user account and exactly the same thing happens with that one.

For the record, the password field also auto-fills with dots when waking from sleep - not just on startup.

The password field that appears when installing updates etc does not auto-fill.

There is no bluetooth keyboard paired with it.
 

sakagura

Suspended
Feb 29, 2020
83
119
Thanks for the advice everyone.

I created a new user account and exactly the same thing happens with that one.

For the record, the password field also auto-fills with dots when waking from sleep - not just on startup.

The password field that appears when installing updates etc does not auto-fill.

There is no bluetooth keyboard paired with it.
That's unfortunate. You're left with the final choice of wiping the drive and reinstalling the OS from scratch. Before you attempt that install a fresh OS to an external drive and boot from that to see what happens. Don't import any data or settings from the current install. Reset the PRAM too of course.
 

Fishrrman

macrumors Core
Feb 20, 2009
19,110
6,552
OP wrote:
"I created a new user account and exactly the same thing happens with that one."

You almost certainly have a failing key on your keyboard.

Apple has a 4-year extended warranty for problems like this, but right now, you may have to send it in to them for repair, since most Apple Stores remain closed.

You should call Apple support. They will send you a "prepaid shipping box" for the return. The turnaround is usually pretty quick on these.

Don't put this off. If you were to wait until the extended warranty expires, the repair will cost you something like $750. And yes, that much for "just one key", because the entire top portion of the case has to be replaced (they can't just "fix the broken key"). That's why the "butterfly keyboards" on these laptops have been such a problem for users...
 

spiritlevel

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Nov 5, 2007
373
58
I wondered if it might be a hardware issue (while hoping it wasn't!)

I will contact Apple support. Thanks for your help :)
 

bill-p

macrumors 68000
Jul 23, 2011
1,871
373
Don't reinstall. Don't listen to other people. Please try this first:

Also reset SMC 3-4 times:

Sounds like Bluetooth is freaking out at boot, thinking there is a keyboard connected, but there isn't one. I saw this issue once and resetting both NVRAM and PRAM (essentially purging all of my bluetooth devices from record) worked.
 
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