9

I have a German keyboard-layout at my MacBook Air. Is it possible to replace every key to have a English keyboard?

Is the structure and the size of the keys the same in every country?

I want to switch to the English keyboard in the system preferences and also have the keys from the English one!

3 Answers 3

4

Replacing an entire keyboard on a MacBook (Air or not) is a hard operation or a delicate operation if you just do the key caps. It is in the realm of possible, but almost never is it practical. The systems are designed to have the top case swapped out and over time, the battery is also becoming part of the top case in some cases as are the keyboard caps. Where they require delicate tools and glue / adhesive skills to replace parts other than the whole top case.

In every case I've seen, there is at least one difference (typically a handful of differences on the 82 or so keys) in the key cap physical size between a US model and a european model. Total replacement of keycaps isn't a viable option.

Apple doesn't sell key caps to end users, so you will want to look up a Service Provider to ask them what they would charge you to sell you the black replacement caps if you ordered a set for the US model of your Mac.

You'll also ask them how much the scissors underneath would cost (and how long parts take to arrive) in case you break the delicate plastic parts while removing the caps. My guess is you'll get many of the keys replaced easily for not a whole lot of money, but the special keys will be shaped in a way that you can't replace them.

Source: How to identify keyboard localizations

German (G):

German Apple Keyboard -G

US:

US Apple Keyboard

3
  • 1
    I don't think that any of the letter keys are of different size between German and US International. One can have a look at support.apple.com/kb/ht2841 Commented Mar 15, 2014 at 21:18
  • @TomGewecke You are almost certainly right. Thanks for that link - saved for later as a gold standard KB article. Also, they illustrate the challenge of the return key and left shift key with missing and added square keys.
    – bmike
    Commented Mar 15, 2014 at 21:26
  • Please note that there are more than one English layout. Most important, there's "English - International" which has the same layout as German. Commented Jan 2, 2018 at 11:13
2

I changed my MacBook keyboard the other way around from QWERTY to QWERTZ and I had no problem changing the keys. There weren't that many actually only some special characters and some number keys. Totaling about 10 keys. A lot of amazing replacement videos are on YouTube to help!

I didn't exchange the Enter, Shift, etc. because the Enter is different between US and DE layout. The replacement keys were found on this site: my-laptop-setup.com. Keys look 100% like the original 💪🏻👌🏻

1
  • 1
    Super resource for key caps. As long as you don’t mind the enter / return and 11 vs 12 key row differences, some light cosmetic swaps of the scissors and caps are feasible.
    – bmike
    Commented Jun 26, 2022 at 12:18
1

Observe the pictures that bmike added. I found this out the hard way. The enter-key is differently sharped between US and Scandinavian layout. It seems like have to cut one aluminium space/bridge OR buy a scandinavian topcase. What a bummer :D

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .