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MacBook, MacBook Pro owners suffer keyboard freezing with Leopard

post #1 of 91
Thread Starter 
Some users of Apple's Intel-based portables are reporting that their keyboards are periodically seizing up during use, especially after upgrading to Mac OS X Leopard.

Numerous posts in Apple's support forums for the MacBook and MacBook Pro, as well as AppleInsider's own forum, attest to the glitch. By most indications, the flaw effectively shuts down the keyboard at unpredictable intervals until either resolved on its own or else by restarting or waking the system. The trackpad and external keyboards continue to function normally, according to the claims.

More drastic steps such as resetting the PRAM on the system fail to return the keyboard to life, system owners say. The flaw also appears to plague Intel-based portables regardless of their age, as reports demonstrate the lockups occurring with original MacBooks from mid-2006, MacBook Pros, as well as the new MacBooks introduced early this month .

Third-party software is also being dismissed as the culprit by owners of the Mac notebooks, as systems with different combinations of third-party software and even untouched installations reportedly suffer from the problem.

In nearly all cases, the root cause appears to be Mac OS X Leopard, whether preloaded with a new system or installed afterwards on an existing computer. The freezes may not begin immediately, but sometimes pick up in frequency over time and are not affected by the 10.5.1 software patch or similar updates.

"This problem has only occurred with Leopard," one user at Apple's forum says. "Everything has been fine for the last 6 months on Tiger."

No readily identifiable fixes or specific errors have been found, although some report success by forcing Finder to quit and relaunch. One user also notes that his internal keyboard disappears from the USB device list of Apple's System Profiler utility when unresponsive.

Apple is not known to have characterized the random freezing as a widespread issue and is so far attributing the flaw to hardware, offering to replace keyboards for at least some users who contact technical support. And to date, those customers aware of the apparent connection have been unable to persuade the Mac maker's representatives that a common link exists.

"I took my MacBook into the Apple Store today," notes one MacBook owner. "I told [Apple's Geniuses] about this thread and they basically dismissed the idea that it could have something to do with Leopard. [...] I think it's strange that they don't even want to listen to any ideas."
post #2 of 91
A big thank you to AI for highlighting this issue.

I have experienced the trouble on a Core 2 MacBook Pro but not nearly as bad as some of the situations explained.

But I do suffer with the keyboard almost being asleep, I can start typing and it only seems to start recognising what I'm typing two or three characters in, anyone else got this?
post #3 of 91
This is not a Leopard-only issue. This has happened to me 5 or 6 times on Tiger, on my 1st gen black MacBook. It doesn't happen whilst using it, only when waking from sleep. Normally I put it to sleep and then re-awaken it but sometimes it requires a full restart.
post #4 of 91
"I think it's strange that they don't even want to listen to any ideas."

Apple Geniuses hear a ZILLION crazy things, and forums are filled with zillions more. There aren't enough hours in the day for them to go poking through every forum thread people mention, looking for the gems of truth--which still will be no more than theory, not final proof. So I'm sure they HAVE to go with what Apple has found to be proven and passes along to them.

Still, I'm sure they log the data of the incident, including the OS, which helps Apple track these things down.
post #5 of 91
I sympathize with those having the problems. I have had no such problems yet on my MacBook Pro 2.2 running Leopard. I am keeping my fingers crossed. These sorts of problems have to be hard to pin down. From what I have read on the forums, this is happening with laptops with various configurations, various models and with both Tiger and Leopard. It is quite possible that different factors may be involved in different cases. I am certainly no expert but finding a common thread throughout all the complaints seems to be quite difficult. While some seem to rule out third party software conflicts, I suspect that such conflicts are responsible in at least some of the cases. I would be interested to know if this is a widespread problem or how many others, like myself, are not having the problem yet.
post #6 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by nagromme View Post

"I think it's strange that they don't even want to listen to any ideas."

Apple Geniuses hear a ZILLION crazy things, and forums are filled with zillions more. There aren't enough hours in the day for them to go poking through every forum thread people mention, looking for the gems of truth--which still will be no more than theory, not final proof. So I'm sure they HAVE to go with what Apple has found to be proven and passes along to them.

Still, I'm sure they log the data of the incident, including the OS, which helps Apple track these things down.

Although I like Apple, I swear the majority of the geniuses are ignorant. It seems as though they drank the kool-aid and would die for Jobs himself. They typically play the role of a guilty plaintiff, deny, deny, deny. Apple has great products, but their employees desperately need customer service training. (They ARE getting better though, it used to be a whole lot worse)
post #7 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by JustBrady View Post

Although I like Apple, I swear the majority of the geniuses are ignorant. It seems as though they drank the kool-aid and would die for Jobs himself. They typically play the role of a guilty plaintiff, deny, deny, deny. Apple has great products, but their employees desperately need customer service training. (They ARE getting better though, it used to be a whole lot worse)

There is a difference between being a genius and being wise. This is why I like this quote:

"Best be the idiot that learnt, than the genius who won't."

At the end of the day it is a matter of attitude.

As to them being given a zillion crazy ideas, then it is very possible, but then again it doesn't mean that none of the ideas have a grain of sense. The truth is it is much easier to evaluate an idea if some reproducible evidence is provided. The worst thing as a developer are bugs that happen once in a while, since they are hard to debug.
post #8 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by JustBrady View Post

Although I like Apple, I swear the majority of the geniuses are ignorant. It seems as though they drank the kool-aid and would die for Jobs himself. They typically play the role of a guilty plaintiff, deny, deny, deny. Apple has great products, but their employees desperately need customer service training. (They ARE getting better though, it used to be a whole lot worse)

I was an MG for a year, and they are trained not to speculate beyond what Apple officially states about a situation. Minimal personal commentary, and no comment on third party or even Apple discussion forum posts. In the back room, I would say most MG's ARE aware of such posts in places like this, but you can be reprimanded and ulitmately terminated if you stray from this approach.

If you really think about it, it's the right way to do things, provided the ultimate goal is to help fix a problem, not push it aside. If they didn't control it, you would have all sorts of conflicting he -said, she-said scenarios depending on which MG at which store you spoke with. And many issues are end-user specific, not systemic. And, of course, forums are filled with ill-informed people who don't always follow proper troubleshooting procedures, and our quick to blame the vendor or take a "me-too" approach.

Clearly, Apple, like any other company, has problems with their products. But overall, Apple does a pretty good job in figuring these things out internally and then releasing a fix or at least an offical position that everyone in the company can operate from. Whenever appropriate for example, they will issue EFFs, which are early-field-failure captures of defective units so engineering can quickly ascertain what's going wrong.

I think Apple's bigger challenge, and where they're actually failing a bit more, is in the testing of their software prior to release. As OS X becomes more popular, there is more and more third party software being release and installed, more HW options, and thus many more configurations to test, so yes, their success breeds this problem.

But some of their recent .0 OS releases had bugs that it seems should have been impossible not to find with proper beta testing (firewire drive data loss, keychain, blue screen on boot, etc.) iLife apps are often buggy and not-optimized on intial release. Apple needs to institute a better testing, or tell Steve not to set unrealistic release goals as it appears to be affecting quality.
post #9 of 91
Really! It looks like Apple is aware of the problem and has addressed it with a keyboard update. At the very least people should try the keyboard update to see if it fixes the problem.

It is not unusual for a software update in one piece of the "pie" to cause a known issue to appear worst someplace else. So try the update and report back to us. Give Apple the benefit of at least trying their advice before whining about it.

It is sort of like tier inflation. Each tire and car combo has a specific inflation point for best wear, safety and traction considerations. You can ignore it all you want but don't complain to me if your SUV rolls over 70 times due to running your tires on 2 psi of air.

Dave
post #10 of 91
I loaded Leopard on my macbook two days ago so my son could use his itouch.
7 hours later I finally resolved major issues which resulted from the leopard install. Am amazed that apple do not seem to be listening to what people are saying. I am a big apple fan but may sell the shares after this experience.
post #11 of 91
Did the default install on my MBP and my wife's MB. I had a few minor issues but my wife suffered the freezing keyboard. She had had zero issues using TIger. Under threat of divorce for screwing up her computer, I reinstalled Leopard using the Archive and Install option. For whatever reason, she has not experienced the freezing keyboard after the A and I install and I'm still married. I have no idea why everything is working now, but I've been knocking on wood frequently. I also, for good measure, reinstalled Leopard on my MBP using the Archive and Install option and the very minor issues I experienced under Leopard have not resurfaced--been about three weeks now.
post #12 of 91
i bought my wife a new macbook 2 weeks ago and she has experienced this several times. i also found the threads online about the problem and hoped the 10.5.1 update would fix it. not sure if she's had the problem since then.
post #13 of 91
For anyone who has experienced this issue does this affect only the built-in keyboard or does it affect external keyboards too?
post #14 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by qntmfred View Post

i bought my wife a new macbook 2 weeks ago and she has experienced this several times. i also found the threads online about the problem and hoped the 10.5.1 update would fix it. not sure if she's had the problem since then.

I ahve two MacBooks on 10.5.1 with very little sonftware on them outsife of Office and the like and the only way to get my keyboard back is to reboot the computer. I hope Apple can come up with a fix, it is getting annoying. Never had this issue with Tiger as someone else posted before.

Rippey
post #15 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shookster View Post

This is not a Leopard-only issue. This has happened to me 5 or 6 times on Tiger, on my 1st gen black MacBook. It doesn't happen whilst using it, only when waking from sleep. Normally I put it to sleep and then re-awaken it but sometimes it requires a full restart.

Correct we have a fleet of Macs running 10.4.8 and late MacBook Pro's on 10.4.9 It affects them
post #16 of 91
Oh Yes, Confirm it. My Mac Book Pro has Seized up since my Leopard upgrade twice. Yikes.
post #17 of 91
Just wanted to say that I just bought a new macbook pro three days ago and have this problem as well.
post #18 of 91
As a recent Windows to Apple convert, I must say I never expected these sort of nagging issues with a Mac. First the Time Machine problems and now this. Yes I have the same darn keyboard problem on my brand new 17" MBP. This is ugly.
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post #19 of 91
Hi
I have confirmed this annoyance on 4 MBP, including my own 3 mont old 17" MBP

To replicate the problem, which does NOT seem to occur with Tiger,
alow the computer to go into deep sleep (hibernate).
Remove the battery, wait 2 minutes
Replace the battery and allow the computer to turn back on.
Inititally the keyboard ALWAYS works, but within 5 minutes of use, switching just between tabs in Safari will cause the keyboard to stop oerating for 30 seconds to one minute Once it works again, within 5 minutes the problem will repeat.
Since I own 5 batteries for my own, along with a charger at home and one at work - this is really a pain. The only way to change battery is to keep power applied while removing the batery, or power off entirely the computer.

I hope this helps show the problem, and that it gets fixed soon
post #20 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by christian heretic View Post

I am a big apple fan but may sell the shares after this experience.

Selling shares because of an upgrade issue, even though most people breezed through? You might want to cool down for a few days before making a decision like that.
post #21 of 91
Mine happens mostly is web pages and doesn't seem to have anything to do with sleep mode or battery. It just seems to happen most of the time. I type something and then look back and the firts one or two letters I typed don't appear. I would never have bought this if I had know about this from the start. For $3000 I should expect a working kepboard.
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post #22 of 91
I'm one of the folks who reported the problem with a new MacBook Pro in AppleInsider's forums.

I _BELIEVE_ the problem started after I'd installed 10.5.1 and repaired permissions (after reading the thread here debating the value of repairing permissions; it was something I believed was standard practice under 10.4, so I went ahead and did it a few days after I'd done the 10.5.1 update).

I read through the Apple support forums and found one post saying to do a safe start (hold down Shift), repair permissions, and restart. Since doing that - a few days ago - I have not had the lockup problem again (knock on wood).

FWIW, I also have an x3100 MacBook that shipped with 10.5.0. I performed the 10.5.1 update on it, but have NOT repaired permissions. That machine is working fine.

- Jasen.
post #23 of 91
I upgraded my dual-core MacBook Pro (purchased in Sept.) to Leopard a couple weeks ago and installed 10.5.1 the day it came out. I experienced this keyboard lockup problem for the first (and only) time a couple evenings ago so am not sure it's directly a result of the upgrade. I tend to think it has something to do with Safari, since normally I use Firefox and coincidentally or not, the first time the keyboard locked up was when I had Safari running, preparing to migrate my bookmarks over from Firefox! Maybe I'll stick with Firefox a little longer... -Steve
post #24 of 91
From reading many threads and my own experience, I am almost certain this issue is due to the keyboard on newer MB/MBPs not waking from hibernate (sleep mode 3) correctly. As soon as the MB/MBP hibernates, the problem may occur until the system is rebooted. You can also check some variable and see that the keyboard is in state 3 (hibernate) when it is nonfunctional.
post #25 of 91
This issue is definately not a 10.5 related one.

It may be more prominant on newer machines etc, maybe a component change? or 10.5 may bring it out more. But it was definately an issue within 10.4. We manage circa two thousand macs and have noticed it before 10.5
post #26 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve_W View Post

I upgraded my dual-core MacBook Pro (purchased in Sept.) to Leopard a couple weeks ago and installed 10.5.1 the day it came out. I experienced this keyboard lockup problem for the first (and only) time a couple evenings ago so am not sure it's directly a result of the upgrade. I tend to think it has something to do with Safari, since normally I use Firefox and coincidentally or not, the first time the keyboard locked up was when I had Safari running, preparing to migrate my bookmarks over from Firefox! Maybe I'll stick with Firefox a little longer... -Steve

It's not Safari. I only use Firefox and have the issue all day long. It was present long before 10.5.1, but I upgraded to Leopard as soon as I bought the PBP, so I can't speak for 10.4.
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post #27 of 91
Completely standard. Every update has a segment of users with problems. Some of those users band together on message boards.

As it's not ALL MacBook users, it's obviously configuration-related. Users will have to be patient with Apple and be completely forthcoming with details about their configurations, both software and hardware.

As for the people who think they're getting the runaround because Apple won't join in solely blaming a "buggy" Leopard - if MacBook A works and MacBook B doesn't, MacBook B is different than MacBook A in some way. This is Testing 101.
post #28 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by xgman View Post

It's not Safari. I only use Firefox and have the issue all day long. It was present long before 10.5.1, but I upgraded to Leopard as soon as I bought the PBP, so I can't speak for 10.4.

Thanks. I used 10.4 for a couple months on my MBP before upgrading to Leopard and never experienced the lockup under that OS. I wonder if there are multiple bugs that have the same symptoms?
post #29 of 91
My girlfriend's Aluminum iMac has the same freezing problem, which began once she installed Leopard. Apple has offered to replace her keyboard, but she has already tried connecting another keyboard and the problem persists. Although most of the freezes seem to be coming from MacBook/MacBook Pro owners, this problem is clearly not isolated to them.

She has finally given up and decided to downgrade back to Tiger, but that is not without it's own set of challenges, as she must re-install Parallels and XP, a daunting, time-consuming task. She is now grappling with getting her mailboxes reinstated, although with Mail being upgraded in Leopard, they are grayed out when she tries to import them. She is now attempting to do so by dragging the folders directly from the Previous System>Users>Library>Mail folder, which seems to be working.
post #30 of 91
I've had a laggy keyboard not accepting the first keystroke ever since I bought it. It doesn't happen always, just after the keyboard has been idle for a little. Had it under Tiger as well as under Leopard.
Probably a Leopard unrelated issue.
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post #31 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by JustBrady View Post

Although I like Apple, I swear the majority of the geniuses are ignorant. It seems as though they drank the kool-aid and would die for Jobs himself. They typically play the role of a guilty plaintiff, deny, deny, deny. Apple has great products, but their employees desperately need customer service training. (They ARE getting better though, it used to be a whole lot worse)

Oh give me a break. If I was that genius, I'd roll my eyes every time someone presented a forum thread as "proof". These forum threads come to illogical conclusions based on speculation and a lack of understanding of statistics. So what if one person said it happened in Tiger - may that person had a physically damaged keyboard. One person in no way disproves that it is a Leopard issue.

Even the AI article itself said "such drastic measures as resetting PRAM" - what? Resetting PRAM is neither drastic, nor does it solve very many problems. It's as bad as "fixing" permissions - it's a troubleshooting red herring that does little if anything to solve real problems. AI or other Mac sites are not the authority on troubleshooting.

If you have a broken keyboard, don't offer forum threads. Say, "it is broken, and I expect Apple to fix it. Now what do we have to do to get this fixed?"
post #32 of 91
this is definitely NOT a leopard issue. i'm not saying it hasn't gotten worse since the leopard upgrade, but i had this EXACT problem last year with my brand new MBP under tiger. i had to take it to the apple store 4 times and they sent it in twice before it finally got fixed (works perfectly now). i ended up getting my entire motherboard replaced (during the second send-in, the first time, replacing the top case didn't do anything), most likely due to the fact that the usb bus that the keyboard/trackpad ran on was shot. hopefully this isn't the case for everyone (i couldn't possibly imagine that it is), but its definitely not restricted to just leopard. hopefully they do release a fix sometime soon or figure out something to help everyone. good luck to everyone!
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post #33 of 91
I've had the keyboard lockup problem erratically since upgrading my one year old MBP to Leopard with the default install. Both the integral keyboard and a wireless one. Seems to go away if I just change aplications, or even move between Excel cells. (I've mainly had the problem in Excel.) I hope Apple takes it seriously soon...
post #34 of 91
This has happened on my MacBook Pro since the update to Leopard.

The keyboard often will not respond, although if I sleep and then wake the machine, it starts working again for a period, though will often go unresponsive again after a few minutes. A reboot often sorts it out.

I had my MacBook Pro for 4 months prior to Leopard and never experienced this problem then, but have seen it four times since Leopard has been installed, so I think it is Leopard related.

I do note that each time it happened, I had been using the DVI port to plug into an external projector in the hours previous, so that may be related (or not).

Glad to hear it's not just me - hope Apple release a bugfix for it soon. This is a problem and it does exist!
post #35 of 91
Keyboard has stopped working 4 times since I bought the latest model MacBook a couple weeks ago. I have the stock hardware and software (Leopard). No third party software. No configuration tweaks.

The keyboard has stopped working while it was sitting in front of me and I was mousing around. Literally, the keyboard was working, I spent a minute with the mouse, then went to type and it did not respond. Hibernating had nothing to do with it.

The keyboard has stopped responding while I stepped away for 2 minutes. It worked fine, I step away to a computer next to me, come back and it doesn't work.

The keyboard has come back on its own one of the times. The first time I had this problem, I pressed various keys in an attempt to get it to come back. About a minute later, it did come back, and output almost everything I had typed while it was frozen into the safari address bar.

When this happens, wireless Mighty Mouse and trackpad both work fine. Two times, simply closing the lid for a moment, then reopening the lid brought the keyboard back to life. One time, I had to completely reboot.
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post #36 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by oadesign View Post

My girlfriend's Aluminum iMac has the same freezing problem, which began once she installed Leopard. Apple has offered to replace her keyboard, but she has already tried connecting another keyboard and the problem persists. Although most of the freezes seem to be coming from MacBook/MacBook Pro owners, this problem is clearly not isolated to them.

She has finally given up and decided to downgrade back to Tiger, but that is not without it's own set of challenges, as she must re-install Parallels and XP, a daunting, time-consuming task. She is now grappling with getting her mailboxes reinstated, although with Mail being upgraded in Leopard, they are grayed out when she tries to import them. She is now attempting to do so by dragging the folders directly from the Previous System>Users>Library>Mail folder, which seems to be working.



You don't have to re-install Windows XP in Parallels.... just install Tiger and Parallels and copy over your Virtual Machine (VM) from within your Library. Really easy to do.

Also, are you sure you're not talking about the iMac freezing problem that has plagued several people with the new Aluminum iMacs? That is the graphics card issue and Apple has put out a fix for that....Check your Software Updates or research it on Apple.
post #37 of 91
It's not just MacBook and MacBooks Pro's. My iMac G5 (as well as my friend's) has this problem as well, it happened AFTER 10.5.1 was issued...did they fix for intel but break for PPC?
post #38 of 91
The problem can be fairly subtle in nature. It would not surprise me if many users would not even notice it unless it was pointed out. At first I chalked it up to typing errors. Then I proved otherwsie. I think the issue may be more widespread than just a few isolated forum posters.
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post #39 of 91
I never had this issue before with Tiger on my macbook. Have now been getting almost daily after my upgrade to Leopard. I did not do a clean install, but that shouldn't matter.
post #40 of 91
I have an orginal MacBook. My keyboard never locked up under Tiger. It happened at least 3 times under Leopard (I chose to do a clean install with Leopard).

Dave
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