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I had a problem with my Caps Lock key -- occasionally it was getting stiff and I struggled to press it -- probably some dust or other object fell underneath it. So every time I just had to pressed a little bit harder and it started to work again. So the problem came and go and wasn't too bad.

But when it happened again today I decided to clean it. So I googled how to remove key caps, found this video: How to Remove and Clean Sticky Keys on M1 Macbook Air Step by Step Repair (Very Detailed Fix)

But I am unable to reattach the key back. The bottom part fits it without problems, but the top part just refuses to click in. It looks normal and it works fine but when I press on the bottom of the key, the top part gets detached (like on the image I attached).

Either the upper part is very tricky to attach correctly or, I guess, I've broken the hinges on the upper part of the key.

Do you have any idea? I am not sure what the hinges are supposed to look like (thus I don't know if they are damaged) as I can't find a clear picture and I even struggle to see them myself as they are so tiny.

Also, if I go to Apple to replace the key, do you have an idea how much it would cost? My manager is not very happy with me going to a third party repairer (it's a company laptop), as he said this would void the warranty. Thank you very much for any help or suggestions.

Caps Lock key switch

Underside of Caps Lock key

Keyboard showing missing Caps Lock key

Bottom of the Caps Lock key attached to the side hooks

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    It tough to definitively say, but it appears you broke the plastic “clips” at the far end of the butterfly hinge where the distal ends of metal bar would attach (the curved portion). Unfortunately, this is a live with it or replace the keyboard situation
    – Allan
    Mar 29, 2023 at 17:07
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    The top part doesn't 'click in', it slides in. Set the metal loop in place, keep the key low & pull towards you, then hold the top down & slide the key away from you, then click the bottom in. [Apple have no interest in selling you a key you should in their minds never have taken out, they'll replace a keyboard…]
    – Tetsujin
    Mar 29, 2023 at 17:15
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    It’s a 2D Image looking downward so I can’t tell but the part that holds the metal rod looks missing/borken. You can try ordering a key mechanism but be certain you getbthe associated repair manual
    – Allan
    Mar 29, 2023 at 17:24
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    Correct @Allan - we would need side angle photos or a 3D high resolution scan - I'll answer since I'm certain either the key cap or topcase is damaged - just not sure if it can be cajoled back into "tolerance" but for sure it's compromised and not in spec...
    – bmike
    Apr 4, 2023 at 17:03
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    Thanks and I agree @bmike, the pics are of very good quality, but we need a better angle to see the condition of the mount points.
    – Allan
    Apr 4, 2023 at 17:09

1 Answer 1

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The shift key itself is damaged - the plastic is so small, it's easy to happen on removal / bumps / reassembly. You will want to source another key that's still intact for your exact model and exact key layout to determine if the topcase as well is damaged. The damage visible on the key alone is enough to cause the problem you report (SUPER PICTURES and work on documenting the question, by the way) so with luck, the topcase is still perfectly functional when mated with an undamaged key.

I'm sure some people are skilled enough to build up / melt / fabricate a repair on those keys, but for me - I get a quote from Apple after trying another key or inspecting very closely the other shift key (which you might damage as well removing - so that's a heck of a risk to potentially break both sides.

Sadly, using the nubbin there bare and getting an external / bluetooth keyboard and using it clam shell or just open and aesthetically / functionally compromised is the alternative to a professional repair. Topcase repairs are much more challenging than many will think - I wouldn't recommend DIY them to anyone that doesn't have a bunch of Mac specific repair experience already under their belts.

Apple's new self service might let you source that key alone, but my hunch is they want to sell the ENTIRE set.

Followup from the OP is:

I just brought the laptop to Apple and they replaced the key for free. Never going to try to repair it myself again 😂

So that's a great outcome for this Mac.

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    :) Hi. Sorry, I forgot to post the update. I just brought the laptop to Apple and they replaced the key for free. Never going to try to repair it myself again 😂 May 9, 2023 at 10:55
  • Hey! Great news. My wife’s key is missing on her 2yo air, Im gonna try this May 9, 2023 at 16:16

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