On the screen on my MacBook Air, there are some little square marks from the keyboard.

Are they permanent, or can I clean them off? How can I prevent this from happening in the first place?

  • This happens on my Macbook Pro (early 2011) also. Fortunately, the marks might just be a transfer of finger oils to the screen because they wipe off quite easily (so far).
    – Matt
    Mar 26, 2012 at 4:35

7 Answers 7


If you are very lucky it is just dirt and can be wiped off but usually it is permanent and there isn't much way to avoid them. I have seen it happen even when a soft cloth is used to cover the keys when the lid is closed. In fact that may even make it worse as the cloth adds thickness to the sandwich and may make the contact between the high points of the screen and the keys firmer. The screen surface of an anti-glare display just isn't very hard - glossy glass is harder but can still be marked.

Using a quality micro fibre cloth with a 70% water/30% isopropyl alcohol solution is a good way to clean the marks off if they are not permanent. I have been using the cleaning solution provided by my optician for my glasses for years with no ill effects, and I love the iKlear blue microfibre cloths (for both glasses and displays). They call it "terry" as opposed to their "chamois" cloth.

  • In this case, they came off! They were pretty faint. I guess it's a good habit that I rarely stack anything on the MBA.
    – KatieK
    Mar 27, 2012 at 5:13
  • 1
    Great news, I love a perfect screen! Mar 27, 2012 at 5:15
  • "a 70% water/30% isopropyl alcohol solution" - whilst on the subject of cleaning screens... if you have a touch screen with an anti-fingerprint coating (eg. iPad) then you shouldn't use any liquids, just a microfibre dry cloth. (An iPad with the "official" folding cover also has a nasty habit of picking up these annoying marks where the cover folds.)
    – MrWhite
    Aug 10, 2019 at 12:51

The MacBook Air keyboard shouldn't be touching the screen when it's normally closed. This only happens when you've put the computer under pressure when it's closed. For example, maybe you put it in a backpack with heavy books surrounding it and putting pressure on it.

About whether they're permanent, it depends on how "etched" they are. If you try a moist, soft cloth and rub the screen gently for about a minute, and they don't come off, then unfortunately they most likely will not ever come off. If you're still under AppleCare, they might fix this for you.

You can prevent this from happening in the future by putting a very thin cloth between the keyboard and the screen when you sleep it. Also, try not to put pressure on the computer, then it won't happen in the first place.


I have MBP 2017 without touch bar. I usually cary it with Thule case which I am sure it does’t put pressure on my MBP. I have tried many solution to wipe the marks off still having marks of the keyboard’s edge on my screen and it seems permanent.

  • You should bring it to the store and get it replaced as soon as you can. They replace it for free.
    – gklka
    Mar 21, 2019 at 7:45

The short answer is you can't prevent these marks.

It's a design flaw. The screen doesn't have enough clearance, is in contact with the keyboard when closed, and gets marked.

My current laptop is a MacBook Pro 16 I bought in May, about four months ago, and noticed key marks on the screen straight away. I bought screen cleaner and a microfibre wipe, and with prompt cleaning can see marks appearing regularly.

I have a (Bellroy) sleeve to protect the laptop, and transport it in a dedicated bag that is very lightly loaded; just an A5 notepad, water bottle, and small zip case for cables.

The good news is that this is a known issue at Apple. I opened a support request yesterday, during which the rep acknowledged Apple recognizes this problem, and was offered service.

My previous laptop was a MacBook Pro 13, which I kept for five years due to waiting out the the butterfly switch fiasco.

The 13 inch laptop had the same issue, and over time the key marks became permanent, as sweat, debris, oils, etc on my hands would have degraded the screen coating over time.

My 16 inch has the extended warranty, and I am going to just use as normal keeping the screen and keys as clean as possible. I'll take it in for service & get a new screen just before the warranty expires. Hopefully I can avoid any permanent marks in the interim.

You can leave feedback for Apple here https://www.apple.com/feedback/ but be aware you don't get a response.


The Mac Book screen usually doesn't get marks, but if you put pressure on the mac, it will get marks. Since I go to school,I have layers of books along with my laptop, so it get marks. In order to get rid of it, just get a cloth and put Little water as possible. Then let it dry naturally, and it should be fine unless you got some water on the screen.


I had keyboard prints on my 16 inch and have tried Windex. But it didn't work at all. Guess what works? Glass cleaner from a Dollar store. I spent 15 mins wiping it off with Bounty kitchen towel soaked in the cleaner, and voila, it came out good as new! The glass cleaner is called "First Force, No Streak Glass Clear". I've installed a screen protector so that I don't have to go through this again.


I know this is old thread but I had to sign in to point one thing that no one here is sharing that for future references instead of going for a thin cloth or smth lol simply apply screen protector and I bet it won't ruin your panel it would only if you have a titanium key cap keyboard or smth lol

  • 1
    What is smth lol ?
    – mmmmmm
    Feb 1, 2021 at 13:41
  • 1
    I think it means something laughing out loud. The common way to protect a laptop screen.
    – RocketR
    Mar 25, 2021 at 10:58
  • I used cheap glass cleaner from Dollar store and it worked wonder. Just came out like a new one. Ya, now , i have screen protector.
    – KMC
    Nov 20, 2021 at 15:49
  • This person is right. A thin screen protector will help avoid contact between the plastic keys and the screen, but nobody talks about it. May 27, 2022 at 12:59

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