How to fix sticky keys on MacBook Pro

Updated: February 16, 2023
6 min read
How to fix sticky keys on MacBook Pro
by Samanta Jones
Tech Expert & Writer
Checked by
Quality Control team

Sometimes users notice that MacBook Pro keys sticking. If the keys on the laptop stick, it means that they are not fully pressed, that is, there is no characteristic click, and the short stroke of the button disappears altogether. A sticking button is a sign of a malfunction of the keyboard mechanism or the key itself. The reasons may be liquids spilled on the keyboard, crumbs, dust, or an old keyboard. In our guide, we demonstrate step-by-step solutions on how to fix sticky keys on MacBook Pro.

Before we start

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If you still haven’t solved the problem after reading our tips — don’t waste time and contact Howly specialists. Our service includes diagnosing and troubleshooting your MacBook Pro keys sticking.

Clean the dust from the keyboard

If you find your Mac keyboard sticking, you can clean it from dust. Butterfly keyboard users often ask how to clean sticky MacBook Pro keyboard. A special soft brush and cloth will cope with surface contamination.

Check the fastening of the keyboard loop

There are issues when the Mac keyboard sticking and the touchpad stops working at the same time, which is typical for some models. You need to reset NVRAM memory settings. Click Shift + Control + Option and hold the power button. The cause of cable breakage and MacBook keys sticking may be liquid that could get into the keyboard. For the keyboard to start functioning correctly, it’s necessary to order a cable replacement at the service center.

Turn off your laptop

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The most important rule before cleaning Mac sticky keys: completely disconnect the equipment from the electrical network and remove the battery.

Turn the laptop over to clean

Turn laptop over

Position the laptop so that its keyboard and screen are at an angle of 75 degrees to you — it isn't necessary to place it vertically.

Start cleaning

Blow out the keyboard with a can of compressed air. If there is a vacuum cleaner that can work on a blower or a compressor, then you can use them.

Place your laptop on its left side and then on the right side


Put the MacBook on its right side and do the same. Put the device on its left side and repeat the procedure. When working with compressed air, a small amount of liquid may be released from it, just wipe it off the keyboard with a tissue.

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Wipe up or vacuum away


There are also USB vacuums that are specifically designed for Mac keys sticking and cleaning laptop mechanisms. Even in a specialized store, you can buy napkins for cleaning the keyboard of a laptop.

Other ways

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Most often, it isn't the entire Mac keyboard sticking that fails on a MacBook, but only some keys. There can be many program issues here:

  • MacBook battery is low.
  • MacOS software bugs.
  • There are applications installed on the laptop that affect the operation of the keyboard.

Add a new user

To do this:

  1. In the menu, select System settings.
  2. In the window, select Users and groups.
  3. In the window, at the bottom left, you need to press the lock to make changes.
  4. Enter your account username and password.
  5. Press + to add a new account.
  6. In the form, fill in all the fields, select the type of account and click Create user.

Reset the PRAM and SMC

When your Mac keyboard sticking, you can reset PRAM and NVRAM:

  1. Turn your MacBook off and then on again.
  2. Hold down Option + Cmd + P + R on your keyboard.
  3. Step 3 After a while, the image on the laptop screen will turn off and it may seem to you that the Mac has restarted.

For Mac models released before mid-2016, you will hear the startup tone again, after which you can release the keys. For newer models, the keys can be released a few seconds after the restart.

Turn off voice typing


This can be done in the computer settings, go to the laptop settings and find the Dictation and Speech tab. Check the Disable box. You can also use Command + F5. If VoiceOver is turned on, pressing these keys will turn it off automatically. If your keyboard can use the Touch ID sensor, you can quickly tap Touch ID three times while holding down the Command key.

Boot in Safe Mode

Restart or turn on your MacBook. Immediately after you hear the startup beep, hold down the Shift key. When the Apple logo appears on the screen, release the Shift key. Restart your computer without pressing any keys during startup to exit safe mode.

Turn off slow keys

It’s necessary to check whether you have enabled the functions of slow keys and sticky keys MacBook Pro:

  1. Click on the Apple icon on the screen.
  2. Find System Settings.
  3. Then universal access.
  4. In the menu on the left, scroll to the keyboard item.
  5. Go to the Device tab and remove the check marks opposite enable slow keys and disable Mac keys sticking.


What to do if the MacBook doesn’t respond to the keyboard?

Open notes and try to type something. If nothing happens, then you should restart the Mac or update the device.

What to do if some keys don’t work on a MacBook?

Check whether you are connected to the network and whether the battery is in place. Also, check the fastening mechanism. Check if there is any dirt and dust inside the keyboard, if not, it may be a system error.

How to clean the keyboard?

Use compressed air, a brush, and a laptop wipe. You can also use a vacuum cleaner.


In this guide, we showed the most frequent cases of why your Mac keyboard sticking. Remember that you can contact the Howly experts for faster and better care. We'll find out why your Mac keyboard sticking and give you tips on how to prevent it from happening again. We will quickly determine why the shutdown occurs and offer an adequate solution to the issue.

Howly expert is ready to help you with your Mac OS problem

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