The MacBook Pro does a really good job keeping dirt and stuff from getting under the keys, but none-the-less there is some dirt under a few keys. Can I pop these keys off and then easily replace them?

In the past when I've done this, the key never really went back on correctly.

This is the newer Unibody MBP with the black backlite chiclet keys.

  • 2
    Stating which model of MBP you have will help, as the architecture changes over time. Assuming Unibody, at least? – Scottie Aug 17 '10 at 20:55
  • The key caps themselves are all of similar mechanism whether it's a chicklet key on a unibody or a unified keyboard bed on the pre-unibody MacBook Pro. The only difference is where the mounting hardware and switches are mounted. You could replace the whole keyboard (including mounts, switches and springs) in one fell swoop with pre-unibody models. Replacing all that on a unibody mac would be a ridiculous amount of work should a spring or mount fail (or get broken). – bmike Jul 18 '11 at 18:47
  • You should consider getting a Moshi Clearguard Keyboard Protector. It is great! It protects from spills and keeps dirt from getting under the keyboard. – daviesgeek Nov 4 '11 at 17:04

If they keys are square without beveled edges then no. Removing it would require major surgery to remove.

I recommend a can of air duster, some q-tips, and alcohol to clean the keyboard.

  • I also recommend an air duster instead of removal, but they do come off at the risk of breaking fine plastic parts. When new, the plastic is much more forgiving and less likely to break :-) – bmike Jul 18 '11 at 18:44

Without knowing which specific model you are referring to it would be hard to tell. The keyboards on the newer unibody macbook pros are one assembly and it would not be advised to try to take off the keys.


Yes - all keys on all mac portables in the past 10 years or so are individually removable.

There are very delicate plastic scissors hidden under the key caps.

Also - the scissors are not necessarily all oriented the same way. The return key may have two vertical scissors where an H key may have one horizontal scissors mechanism underneath. Also - the size of say a small arrow key may not be the same size as a function key at the top.

Large keys such as the space bar and the option keys have added metal supports and you may need a large amount of patience to get them back.

If you damage the very small delicate nubs - you will have broken that key and have to press the little rubber nubbin by hand until you can get a replacement. If you bend the metal rings that hold the scissors (or the actual switch) - the repair cost is much higher. Most lighted whole keyboards go for $65 to $300 plus labor.

Do your research before starting so you won't be that person with a plastic baggie of parts that are close but not identical waiting in line at the genius bar for help with a tedious repair. :-)

If you know the cost to replace and have a steady hand - dive in and go get those crumbs :-)


A bit offtopic answer, but sometimes get handy:



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