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Spacebar not working on 13'' Macbook Pro Unibody

edited January 2012 in General
Hi there,

I recently had a liquid incident with my macbook pro. The keys were a bit sticky, but other than that everything worked as normal. Apple care wouldn't cover cleaning the keys, so I decided to do it myself. Now, after cleaning, the spacebar will not work (all other keys & power button work like new). The spacebar hangs when the computer is first turned on, and otherwise will not respond. It works fine with an external keyboard and with the on screen keyboard.

Can anyone recommend what I should do? Logic board replacement (please no!), keyboard replacement, top case replacement?

If it is a keyboard replacement, I feel confident that I could get the components taken apart, but not so sure I could get them back together in working order (with the cables might be glued/mic wires/bluetooth, etc.) - Any resources you would recommend?


  • Hi! I don't know what approach you took while cleaning the keyboard, but I would literally pull the spacebar off the keyboard (you can snap it back on afterward), and thoroughly clean everything under the key with 90% rubbing alcohol and a q-tip, as well as the underside of the key itself, and see if that loosens it up to the point where it's not sticking.

    If that doesn't help, you are "stuck" with two choices -- replacing the whole topcase and keyboard, or replacing the keyboard itself, which is more difficult. I would go to, where you can find a guide to replacing the topcase and keyboard as one unit. It's a moderately difficult procedure, but not too bad. You can get the replacement part on eBay for $125 or so, but make sure you have the right one, as there are several models. I would even go so far as insisting on e-mailing the seller pictures of the ports on the side of your machine, as well as sending them the serial number, so they can confirm it's the right one. Chances are it's going to be coming from China, so you don't want to have to return it.

    Replacing the keyboard itself is potentially cheaper, $50-$75 or so on eBay, but it's more difficult. Make sure to get one with illumination, because the Pro has illumination, and a lot of keyboards out there are cheaper but don't have the illumination layer. If you click on the "tutorials" link at the top of this website, you'll find a video overview of what is involved to replace the keyboard itself, and this will let you decide if it's a challenge you want to tackle. I generally favor replacing the whole topcase/keyboard as one unit when possible, just to avoid the difficulty.

    Don't worry, it's not the logic board! :-)

    Anyway, I hope that helps, and good luck!

  • Thank you very much for this information!

    Just so other will know, I did pull each key off and clean with Q-tips and (70%) alcohol - (which could have been my problem). It definitely took care of the sticky-ness, though.

    I am very glad to hear its not the logic board. I will post again with the results of what I decide to do.

    - Megan
  • 70% is fine -- it's just got more water and less alcohol, so it is slightly less effective, and requires more time to dry before powering up (because of the water). Good luck!
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