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I'm working on an Early 2011 MacBook Pro 13" which suffered a little water damage.

After cleaning the system I can get it to turn on by disconnecting the battery, then reconnecting it and connecting the charger. It automatically turns on and everything operates fine.

If I do a shutdown though, I have no way of turning it on without repeating the battery/charge sequence (which resets the date and time). It doesn't respond to the power button press, any keyboard key presses or lid open.

I was hoping there is a way to enable a "turn on when lid open and/or any key" type setting. Is this possible?

The system is running MacOS X 10.12.6.

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Opening the lid to turn on a Mac only works if the Mac is asleep/hibernating. If the power is off, it will need to be turned on.

The reason you have to disconnect the battery is because although your power settings may call for "boot after power failure," there's never really a power failure if you're battery is connected (and has sufficient charge).

There's two ways you can address this:

  • Short the power pads. This is a "stop gap" way to turn on a Mac so that you don't have to disconnect the battery. Simply bridge the two pads with the blade of a slotted screwdriver or, if you're really daring, solder a wire loop (long enough to come out of the case) with a momentary switch to make it more convenient. This way, you don't have to keep opening the back cover. It's a total bodge, but it'll get you by.

    A1278 MacBook Pro 2011 Power Pad Location

  • Replace the keyboard. I actually reference this exact keyboard in this question/answer: Keyboard key stuck or not being recognized; how to fix. Look under "Replacing Keyboard" in the Answer for specifics. It's actually very inexpensive. You may also be able to find the button by itself on eBay.

I advise the latter. You may be able to get away with only replacing the button rather than the whole keyboard, but either way, it's a better, more reliable fix.

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  • I have an old MacBook Pro of a similar vintage with a different fault, so I might try the keyboard out of that in this system. Thanks for the suggestion. – Reece Oct 30 '20 at 1:24

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