Spacebars malfunctioning on MacBooks

If you have purchased one of Apple’s new MacBooks and find out that the spacebar isn’t working properly, you’ll probably be pretty upset. Usually though, there are a few quick things you can do to resolve the issue.

Why is my spacebar not working on Mac?

A malfunctioning spacebar on a MacBook can be due to several reasons, such as:

  1. Dirt and Debris: The most common cause is the accumulation of dirt, dust, and debris under the spacebar. This can prevent the key from registering a press or cause it to stick.
  2. Worn-Out Key Mechanism: Over time, the mechanism under the spacebar (such as a scissor switch or butterfly mechanism, depending on your MacBook model) can wear out or get damaged, leading to malfunction.
  3. Liquid Damage: If any liquid has been spilled on the keyboard, it can damage the internal circuitry or the mechanics of the keys, including the spacebar.
  4. Software Issues: Sometimes, the problem might not be with the physical key but with the software. This could be due to a macOS glitch, a conflict with certain applications, or incorrect settings.
  5. Damaged Key Cap: The spacebar cap itself might be damaged or improperly seated, which can prevent proper functioning.
  6. Connector Issues: The connection between the keyboard and the motherboard might be loose or damaged, affecting the spacebar’s functionality.
  7. Physical Damage: If the MacBook has been dropped or subjected to significant physical impact, it could have damaged the internal structure supporting the keyboard.
  8. Battery Swelling: In some cases, especially in older MacBooks, swelling of the battery can exert pressure on the underside of the keyboard, leading to key malfunction.
  9. Manufacturing Defect: Though less common, there could be an inherent manufacturing defect in the keyboard.
  10. Recent Repairs or Modifications: If your MacBook has recently undergone repairs or modifications, especially by non-Apple certified personnel, this could potentially lead to issues with the keyboard.

For accurate diagnosis and repair, it’s often best to consult with an Apple authorized service provider. They can determine the exact cause of the issue and suggest the appropriate solution.

How to Fix Your Macbook Space Bar

If your MacBook’s spacebar isn’t working, there are several steps you can take to try and fix it.

However, proceed with caution, especially if you’re not comfortable with DIY repairs, as you might risk further damage. Here’s a list of potential solutions:

Clean the Keyboard

The most common issue stopping your keyboard from working is simply dirt and debris underneath the space bar key.

The best way to fix this is to use a can of compressed air to blow out debris from under the spacebar. Hold your MacBook at a 75-degree angle and spray the air in a left-to-right motion.

Then, you can gently use a soft brush to clean around the spacebar. In most cases, this will solve your stuck spacebar.

Check for Software Issues

Another common issue is with the software on your Macbook, especially if it’s outdated. So, restart your MacBook to see if it’s a temporary software glitch.

Next, update macOS to the latest version, as software bugs can sometimes cause keyboard issues. Check your keyboard settings in System Preferences to ensure everything is configured correctly.

If you suspect a deep-rooted software issue, consider backing up your data and reinstalling macOS. However, run through the rest of this advice first, and use a reinstall as a last resort.

Reset the SMC (System Management Controller)

It may even be worth resetting your SMC, which is a common fix for problems like video not playing, fan issues and in some cases, keyboard issues too.

To do this, shut down your MacBook, plug in the power adapter, hold Shift + Control + Option and the power button for 10 seconds, then release and turn on your MacBook.

Inspect for Physical Damage

Carefully check if the spacebar keycap is broken or if it’s not seated correctly. If you’re confident, gently remove the spacebar keycap to inspect the mechanism underneath. Be very careful as the clips can break easily

You may also want to inspect your MacBook for any bulging or swelling, particularly on the bottom case. Swelling can press against the keyboard and cause issues.

Try External Keyboard

One of the best things you can do to help determine the issue is to connect an external keyboard.

What this does is it lets you know if the issue is with the built-in keyboard, or whether it’s with the software on your device. If your external keyboard works fine, then you know it’s probably a hardware issue.

However if it doesn’t work, then it’s probably something to do with the software you’re running on your Mac.

Seek Professional Help

If none of the above steps work, or if you’re not comfortable attempting them, it’s best to take your MacBook to an Apple Store or an authorized service provider.

Remember, if your MacBook is still under warranty or covered by AppleCare+, it’s advisable to avoid any DIY repairs and seek professional assistance directly from Apple. You can check whether you’re covered for AppleCare here.

Issues with 2015 Macbook Pro space bar

In older models of Macbook (2015 and earlier), you should be aware of a potential keyboard issue where the space bar may not respond, especially when pressed on the left or right edges.

When this happens, the bar will feel as if it has hit the bottom of its range without sending the keypress to the system.

Additional force may ultimately activate the key, but with standard typing this problem may make it difficult for affected users to enter spaces.

Despite this, affected space bars will usually work when pressed in the center. This along with additional pressure activating the key suggests the issue is a mechanical one, meaning that it cannot be addressed by a software or firmware update.

Therefore, instead of adjusting your typing habits to accommodate this problem, be sure to take advantage of your Mac’s warranty and bring the system in for servicing.

Conclusion

Overall, it’s usually fairly easy to resolve this issue. Since this problem with the spacebar on the MacBook keyboard is fairly common, by running through the above you should be able to get things fixed.

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Mac Issues

At Mac Issues, we're dedicated to helping you learn how to use your Macbook properly. With tutorials, how-to troubleshooting guides & real reviews, hopefully we can make your day that little bit easier.

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