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I am using a MacBook Pro and facing the following problem:

My keyboard is not working properly. Some keys don't work and it looks like the Shift key is always pressed because the machine always opens in Safe Mode. When the machine starts up I can work using my external keyboard and disable the internal keyboard but while starting up I can't, or at least don't know of a way to, disable the internal keyboard.

Is there a way out of it or do I have to take a trip to the Apple Store?

Edit: By a way out of it I mean is there a way I can change the start-up combination for Safe mode?

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On the basis of your current issue where you want to bypass Safe Mode, then

  • Hold the Option button down on boot to bypass the Safe Mode ensures a normal boot

However, you have mentioned that your keyboard is not working as expected. If you can afford it, I would recommend replacing the top case and keyboard. But, as an alternative

  1. Download and install KeyRemap4MacBook.
  2. Use a combination of the functionalities of the Keyboard Viewer and KeyRemap4MacBook to figure out which shift key is the problem.
  3. Disable the left/right shift key on KeyRemap4MacBook and click on the 'Reload XML' button to make that take effect.

If only one shift key was the problem, then you are done. If both shift keys were shorted, then its likely other keys are too. In which case you should probably just replace the entire thing. If you think other keys are not affected, then you can use KeyRemap4MacBook itself to remap the shift functionality to a lesser-used key like the Left Option key.

  1. Under System Preferences > Users & Groups > Login Items , add KeyRemap4MacBook as an application that should start on login. This will ensure that you disable/remap of the shift key is active every time you log in.

Things to remember

Remember to hold down the Option key every time the computer boots or reboots to bypass safe mode. The fix above is at the software level.

The key is physically still shorted at the hardware level and will affect boot.

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    Hey. Thanks for taking the time to write the answer. I'll try out the options highlighted and get back to you.
    – Vizag
    Dec 30 '19 at 12:40
  • Hey. Holding down the Option key worked for me! Thanks a ton!!
    – Vizag
    Dec 30 '19 at 14:21
  • @Vizag: Awesome and good to hear it. Would you be kind to accept my answer?
    – Udhy
    Dec 30 '19 at 14:31
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I had the same issue with stuck left Shift forcing me into safe mode and couldn't fix it in software from macOS as the Shift is processed by the firmware before the operating system (or in fact anything) is loaded from disk.

I didn't know about the Option trick in @Udhy answer and have now replaced the keyboard but it would be a better workaround than what I did which was to remove the keyboard ribbon cable from the logicboard. You can see how to do this in step 24 in this iFixit guide but make sure to check the guide for your model.

If you unplug the keyboard though you then have an issue turning the thing on so I therefore removed the battery as well and could then just turn it on by connecting the Magsafe cord but this means the CPU gets throttled in macOS. In all not a great workaround.

The standard solution is to replace the whole top case (with keyboard, trackpad and battery) but this is expensive and you don't need do this if you are reasonably handy with a screwdriver. You can get a kit with replacement keyboard/backlight and about 200 extremely tiny screws from ebay for around £20 and it is a slow, tedious but fairly easy process to replace just the keyboard. I followed this YouTube guide and it took me about about 4 hours but I'm slow and had never done such a thing before.

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