I would like to turn off my Macbook Air in order to clean the keyboard and not repeatedly press buttons. However, when pressing any button, the MacBook immediately turns on again.

Is there any way to disable this behavior, so that for example only the unmarked button in the top right turns it on?

  • 5
    In the absence of direct answer to your question, an alternative would be KeyboardCleanTool
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Apr 11, 2021 at 12:59
  • Please make that an answer. It’s really the best option @Tetsujin
    – bmike
    Commented Jan 21 at 3:19

7 Answers 7


Open a text editor, save a new file called Cleaning_My_Keyboard.md ...and clean away!

This will allow you to clean your keyboard with all the depressed keys being "swallowed" by the document which you can then Trash when done.

Yes, exactly what I meant. No need to save the file unless you want to try track trends on the dirtiest / most used keys. Also, clean one key at a time to avoid combo shenanigans.

  • 2
    I understand what the user is saying...create a throwaway text file, clean your keyboard and allow it to fill up that file with the keypresses. When done, delete the file. Not an elegant solution, but it works.
    – Allan
    Commented Jan 21, 2023 at 23:42

I finally found something that somewhat works and is easy to do!

  1. lock the screen using Command+Shift+Q
  2. turn the brightness all the way down on the screen by pressing the F1 key!

It isn't identical to having the computer off as some of the keys still register, but because the mac is locked they really don't do anything and even when you press them the screen stays dark enough to see the smudges!


Log out

It will render most keys and actions useless (opening Music when pressing Play/Pause)


After comments…
KeyboardCleanTool (freeware) is ideal for this. It disables the entire keyboard, though not the mouse/trackpad. Click to start, click to stop.


I find this annoying as hell. It would have been better that just the TouchID button would have turned it on.

Anyway, what I do is locking it so that it unlocks just with TouchID and then proceed in cleaning the keyboard, since just some FN keys will actually do something in this state, namely brightness & volume.


You can turn off the Mac using the power button or the Terminal (sudo shutdown -h now).

This prevents the keys from turning on the Mac. The only disadvantage, as soon as you accidentally press the power button, it starts.

Another option is to run third-party software that blocks accidental keystrokes, such as Keyboard Clean Tool.

  • 5
    I'm sorry, but this did not work for me. I tried turning my Macbook off using the power button, and as soon as I touched any key on the keyboard, it turned back on again. I had to ask a friend what you meant by the Terminal, where I typed "sudo shutdown -h now". This turned my Macbook off, but again, as soon as I touched a key, it turned back on. Commented Apr 11, 2021 at 22:54
  • You can also go to  and click "Shut Down". Your computer will completely turn off, with the caveat that if you press the power button, the computer will start immediately Commented Apr 12, 2021 at 1:29
  • 1
    This answer is wrong for all currently shipping hardware. Perhaps an edit to explain which older models this was true for might help avoid down votes…
    – bmike
    Commented Jan 21 at 3:22
  • Too late! (at least temporarily) Downvoting for being wrong for all currently shipping hardware)
    – uhoh
    Commented Jun 5 at 7:45

command + shift + Q - lock your screen is the best answer to clean your Mac

  • 2
    This alternative has already been provided. Pls write an answer only if it really is different from the existing ones.
    – Alper
    Commented Oct 15, 2023 at 11:33

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