When I press the left shift key a ± appears on the screen. It is a bit hit and miss, but for the most part it happens.

Googling I found this seems to be a common problem. The common recommendation is to reset the NVRAM and SRAM.

  • I did both of those things
  • It was recommended to try to reset the NVRAM several times so I did that
  • uninstalled my logic mouse driver (which uninstalled the related kernel extensions)

How can I get this fixed?

[EDIT] This is a 16" MBP. I am using a matias keyboard. It is a $100 keyboard from Fry's. Pretty high end; the action is really good.

[EDIT] I plugged in an old MS keybaord I had laying around. IT was working when I traded up to the new keyboard. IT throws garbage on the screen when I press the shift keys.

  • What kind of Mac are you running (and, if it is not a laptop, what kind of keyboard)?
    – nohillside
    Sep 10 '20 at 19:32

Solved: For my Matias keyboard, the Mac combination for NumLock is simply the 'Clear' key. Simply pressing the 'Clear' key resolved the issue!


So ±I have this same problem with a ±Matias keyboard. ±At first ±I thought the ±Num ±Lock was pressed, as there is no numlock on the keyboard. ±Funny thing is that my keyboard is Bluetooth and was connected to Windows 10. Both the Windows and ±Mac exhibited this same behavior.±

±Pressing 'fn + N' on the keyboard stopped the behavior on Windows, but not my ±Mac ±(as you can see from this post±). The best part is that pressing Shift on my ±MacBook's built-in keyboard does not insert ±!

±Checked keyboard mappings and nothing seems to be set incorrectly. Reconnected my ±Bluetooth connection to a different key ±(keyboard has 4±), and still have the same problem. ±I'll probably let the battery drain on my keyboard and see if that resets it.

Thanks to da4 for the keyboard mapping for the normal ±.


I went and bought a new keyboard and it works fine.

I had my friend plugin my broken keyboards and they have similar behavior on his Windows 10 PC (garbage on the shift keys).

I consider this solved but I am stumped that I have two keyboards with similar failure.

I would delete this question but there are other people reporting the ± on the left shift key too so I am just going to leave this question undeleted.


By default on macOS, typing ⌥ Option ⇧ Shift = (equal key not on an extended/numeric keyboard) results in the plus-minus sign (±). It seems likely that one of the keys being used as Option was stuck.

Since a second external keyboard also created unexpected results, it's possible that the stuck or malfunctioning Option key is on the laptop's internal keyboard.

  • I like the way you think, but I tried the keyboards on my friends windows computer and they did not work there either. I am chalking it up to a really strange coincidence. Sep 12 '20 at 15:52
  • Not just the option key has to be stuck, also the = key, which seems most. unlikely. Sep 12 '20 at 16:08

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