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This started happening suddenly yesterday, and it's annoying/making my life impossible, to say the least.

I've tried searching for a solution but every solution given points toward a hardware issue. However, I'm sure I don't have any. I've checked in pages such as http://keyboardchecker.com and http://whatkeyamipressing.com and the SHIFT key doesn't appear as pressed—unless I actually press it, and when I release it, it shows as no longer pressed. However, my MBP still acts as if I were holding on to that key for dear life!

I use a USB keyboard, and have done so for a long time; nothing has changed in that respect, so I don't know what could be going on. I will say it's a Logitech MX Keys and, if you know that product, you'll now it's the buggiest thing in the world! So I disconnected it to see if perhaps a happy firmware update was culprit, but the issue continues with the USB keyboard off and/or disconnected.

Because this only leaves the internal keyboard as the possible culprit, I've tried disabling it to see what happens but apparently in MacOS Sierra 10.12.6 you can't do this. I've tried disabling it following instructions given in this forum. I've entered the following into Terminal:

sudo kextunload /System/Library/Extensions/AppleUSBTopCase.kext/Contents/PlugIns/AppleUSBTCKeyboard.kext

All I get is:

(kernel) Kext com.apple.driver.AppleUSBTCKeyboard not found for unload request. Failed to unload com.apple.driver.AppleUSBTCKeyboard - (libkern/kext) not found.

And although it says you probably get an error but the keyboard is disabled anyway, I'm not seeing that: my internal keyboard still works fine and the issue persists.

Elsewhere I also read the workaround/solution for when this happens was to press SHIFT and, simultaneously, press CAPS LOCK several times (5-10 times). But this doesn't work either.

I've also checked, and Sticky Keys isn't enable. I've enabled it, pressed SHIFT 5 times, pressed SHIFT 5 times again, disable it again, etc., and the issue persists.

The only thing that's changed in my setup is that a week ago I added an external monitor connected to my MBP through the HDMI port. However, this was a week ago and the issue I speak of started yesterday.

What solves it? Well, clearing my Mac's cache folder and rebooting it seems to be the only way to fix it. That is, until it comes back late run the day.

Has anyone run into something similar? ANY input will be highly appreciated!

P.S. As you can see, this text has been written in normal sentence form, i.e. not entirely in Caps, which is weird, right? Because I'm having the issue right now, as I'm writing this message. So how do I know that my MBP thinks the SHIFT key is pressed? Well, when I click on a link it sends it into my reading List instead of opening it (to send stuff to your RL you click holding down SHIFT, of course); when I click somewhere on this text, for instance, it paints the text from the last place the cursor was to the place I've clicked, as if SHIFT were pressed; when I click on 2 or more files on my desktop it selects them, as if I were group-selecting them pressing SHIFT; etc.

P.S.S. Nor does my computer boot in Safe Mode when restarting. When I restart it starts out fine; it's later on it become wacky.

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    Try NVRAM Reset that will also might help if it is something related to inbuilt keyboard... and when you try to reboot, if you press shift, your machine should boot in SAFE mode. Does it happen to you, if not then NVRAM reset should help your case.
    – Udhy
    Jan 31, 2020 at 11:27
  • Check the built-in On-Screen keyboard (rather than websites) to see if Shift is held down. If it is then it is a hardware issue. See Show the On-Screen Keyboard Viewer in macOS Sierra
    – lx07
    Jan 31, 2020 at 11:30
  • @Udhy Thanks for your response! I had thought of that right after I finished my post. And will be trying that out as soon as I finish trying to work through the urgent stuff I can't save before rebooting. I also add that when I boot it boots as normal; the issue is in fact solved by rebooting. And, as I mention, it only affects certain behaviours, as clearly it's not affecting the actual writing of capitalised letters characters, which is strange. Jan 31, 2020 at 11:45
  • @lx07 Hi, yeah, sorry about that... I forgot to mention it. I also tried and it still doesn't show SHIFT as pressed. But, anyway, as I mentioned, it only affects certain behaviours, as clearly there's no impact on what I write, because it's not writing everything as capitalised. So I'm sure it can't be a hardware issue, or my computer would act as if I were pressing the SHIFT key in all instances, right? Jan 31, 2020 at 11:51
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    @QuestionerNo27: great. do NVRAM reset and it should resolve this.
    – Udhy
    Jan 31, 2020 at 11:57

6 Answers 6

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In your case, when you reboot and if it has a shift button press then it should boot in SAFE mode. As you are not facing this, I am sure this is not a full hardware issue. So NVRAM reset should help because temporarily you are able to fix by a quick reboot.

Reset NVRAM or PRAM on your Mac

NVRAM (nonvolatile random-access memory) is a small amount of memory that your Mac uses to store certain settings and access them quickly. PRAM (Parameter RAM) stores similar information, and the steps for resetting NVRAM and PRAM are the same.

Settings that can be stored in NVRAM include sound volume, display resolution, startup disk selection, time zone, and recent kernel panic information. The settings stored in NVRAM depend on your Mac and the devices that you're using with your Mac.

If you experience issues related to these settings or others, resetting NVRAM might help.

How to reset NVRAM:

Shut down your Mac, then turn it on and immediately press and hold these four keys together: Option, Command,P, and R. You can release the keys after about 20 seconds, during which your Mac might appear to restart.

More detail from the Offical Apple Support page

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  • Hi again, @Udhy. Unfortunately the issue returned after about 12 hours using the computer, so I'm guessing it's not the NVRAM. I've never had this happen since I have this computer and now it's happened 3 times in 2 days. Somehow I feel like it must be connected to the fact I'm suing the HDMI output for a second display. Although I can't understand why that would happen... Feb 1, 2020 at 1:04
  • @Udhy It's interesting that I'm having a VERY similar problem - every once in a while (could be after days) my MBP will suddenly act as if the left shift key is stuck in the same way (it's clearly not and it toggles, but inverse to normal). Additionally, the other keys stop working (trackpad/top bar are fine). Reboot, and it's like it never happened. I use a Logitech mouse (via their Unifying receiver) and rarely a keyboard (usually not til this happens) but which is normally off. I suspect it's some driver in the stack that's doing this, but it's so rare I haven't narrowed it down. Sep 25, 2020 at 18:06
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This happened to me. I solved it by turning on sticky keys on the mac under the Accessibility -> Keyboard -> Hardware. Not sure why turning it on fixed it but it worked.

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I found out what is Going on. I TURN ON Sticky keys to SEE if my shift is really being activated when the issue appears. Indeed it is. If it comes to a point that the shift is STUCk, pressing the Shift twice (it sort of has 2 shift levels as the indicator would show) to deactivate it. So weird. By the way, I have the latest mbp16 M1 Pro. The problem does not occur when I use a bluetooth kb.

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i got the same problem and searched google and see your question, and i see no solution on the internet, after struggling myself to find the solution for probably an hour, i found a solution myself

basically you go to system preference accessibility and then keyboard, enable sticky keys and the problem is pretty much fixed fixed!! except if you turn that off the same problem appear again. but who cares sticky keys is not annoying

i was so scared that i have to waste money to repair the computer at first

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  • If a repair fixes a hardware problem, it's not really a waste of money, is it?
    – benwiggy
    Jan 8, 2022 at 17:15
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Are you using any graphic tablet with your Mac and, when this happens, is that graphic tablet connected to the system?

It is mostly happening with Shift or Alt because the graphic driver uses this key as a speed key. In more than three different cases, it was the case. Just my 2 cents.

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This is a serious problems with most of the macs I guess. Even I am facing the same problem. Out of nowhere this macbook m1 generates everything in caps. It is pretty evident that shift key is pressed somehow. I have been facing this issue intermittently. It gets fixed at certain intervals and suddenly next minute it arises. There is a hardware glitch I guess. It is catching moist or something. Apple should really fix this problem.

Resolution: Enabling the sticky keys in Accessibility does work, no doubt. As soon as you turn it off, the issue is back. How this is solving the problem, have no idea, but this is not one off case. Most of the users are facing this problem, hence Apple should really look into this. At this point I had really considered of switching from Mac to a different laptop.

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  • This is nothing more than a rant in disguise as it doesn’t add anything that hasn’t already been provided for in existing answers.
    – Allan
    Aug 24, 2023 at 15:17
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    This does not really answer the question. If you have a different question, you can ask it by clicking Ask Question. To get notified when this question gets new answers, you can follow this question. Once you have enough reputation, you can also add a bounty to draw more attention to this question. - From Review Aug 24, 2023 at 16:11
  • Do you have references for the "Most of the users are facing this problem," claim?
    – nohillside
    Aug 25, 2023 at 4:59

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