Best way to protect keyboard keys?

I had the battery and keyboard on my late 2013 MBP retina replaced last year when the battery started bulging. So this keyboard is only about 1 and a half years old. This always starts happening to keys after a while. Note the A, S, and C keys.

Since my new MBP M1 Pro 14 inch is arriving any time now, I was wondering what the best way of protecting it might be. Daily rubbing with a wet cloth?

Wear white cotton gloves while handling your Mac? :wink:

I’m curious about this too, but don’t know the real answer, if there is one.

Do your fingers rest there? Could it be that? All commonly used letters, though ‘e’ is the most used I think.

Wary of any wet cloth near my keyboards but this needs less friction not more.

You may be hitting them hard, and these more than others. One of my sons is a thumper on the keyboard, he has no idea how lightly you can touch the keys. We’ve shown him but he’s happy pounding away.

I might be hitting them hard. Not sure. The C seems like a strange one though. I doubt if I’m hitting that one too often, or resting on it. But it must be something like that.

So nothing to do about it I guess?

With my current MBP late 2013, Apple replaced the keyboard for me just before AppleCare ran out because so many keys had become unreadable. Then I replaced this one myself last year when the battery went crazy.

Well there’s a call you can make on AppleCare if needs be. Good to know they cover it.

You should see my wife’s keyboard. She has nails, and few of the keys are readable after a year or two of use. Then one day she remembers she can’t touch-type (when in fact she has been slowly but unintentionally training herself to do just that) and has to rush out and buy a new MBA just to be able to see the keys!

The best way is probably to buy a keyboard cover (aka “keyboard skin,” “keyboard condom”), a very thin, flexible sheet shaped to the keyboard’s keys. It may feel weird when typing but it prevents wearing off the characters and keeps liquids, crumbs, etc. from getting in the gaps. I’ve never gotten one but a colleague was a happy user for years.

When I saw a brief video about the new MacBook Pros, it looked like they had even tighter tolerances between the top and bottom when closed and I wondered if even the thinnest keyboard covers could fit. Apple already recommended removing keyboard covers before closing their laptops (posted in the summer), which would be pretty inconvenient if you carry it around often. Apple’s statement may be a broad, made with an abundance of caution. Other users may report using a particular product without problems.


It might be worth trying if there is no daily cleaning protocol that will help protect it. I have an air duster, for example.


How about just covering the keyboard with plastic wrap? Glad Press’n Seal works very well.

Sounds messy. Am I the only one with this problem? If it’s a pressure-related issue (tap tap on the keys) then how would a cover help anymore? Hm…

Anyway - it just arrived and I’m going to unbox soon!

I have had the same problem with the same keys (A, S, D, C) on a few 17-in MacBook Pros, but not with others of the same model, so I have a feeling it’s due to a manufacturing defect of some kind.

Unfortunately I don’t know how to prevent it though.

Clëarly the “answer” is to buy an external Magic Keyboard with Touch ID and then use that until the keys start to wear out, and then replace it. Repeat until the computer ages out.


You’re welcome.

An external keyboard is a good idea whenever you are at home, but not just because of wear and tear; ergonomically it’s far better. There’s no way to have proper posture when the keyboard is attached to a display. My GF and nephew both have keyboards with worn keys because they use them day in, day out, but my laptop is perfect because I only use it when I am traveling.

That’s nothing. Attached: my wife’s keyboard. She learned to type on a mechanical and probably does ~130 wpm. She also plays the piano. Yes, she hits the keys pretty hard.

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It looks like my 2013 MBP keyboard did before Apple replaced it under AppleCare warranty at the end of 2016. And like it did last year before I replaced it myself.



This got me thinking about other preventive measures one can take. Protect your keyboard’s keys from fading into oblivion is an older article that proposes using clear, cellophane tape, cutting it to just the size of the individual keys that need more protection. I don’t really like this idea, I think the tape edges could collect dust. The dust could then transfer to the display when closed, not the end of the world but could mean it needs to be cleaned more often.

The article includes a short video, showing someone trying the technique but it also briefly shows another idea that I like more, applying clear nail polish to the keys. I would first try it on an old keyboard you don’t care about, to practice applying it and to see how it feels.

Less DIY are these MacBook keyboard stickers that come in a variety of styles, including transparent. They have a dropdown list of MacBook models, including the 2021 ones, so they should fit.

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The keyboard stickers sound interesting. Have you actually tried them? Is the wearing of the keys due to hitting them or residues? I’m not convinced of either explanation. But I always tended to think it was due to residues and wondered if a daily, safe cleaning of some sort might be easiest.

I think the primary cause is friction, if it was primarily a chemical reaction, I think you’d see more wear on the “home” keys the fingers are resting on.

I haven’t tried those MacBook keyboard stickers, I once put stickers to add a language to an external PC keyboard but it was only lightly used by others.