MacBook Pro Retina keyboard problems-- heat related?

in Genius Bar edited November 2015

The "r" key on my beloved mid-2012 MacBook Pro with Retina display is no longer working. A week ago it was fine, but over the course of a couple of days it pretty much stopped working. I have checked under the keycap and scissor mechanism. There is no damage and no significant contamination. I've blown it out with compressed air and even tried a few carefully selected residue-free solvents to wash out anything that might have been under there, but these efforts had no effect (positive or negative) on the key's behavior, which is what I'd expect given that the actual contact surfaces are permanently encapsulated within the laminated membrane assembly. It still works if I push down on the key and wiggle my finger around, but otherwise it's inert.


In looking around online for solutions, I ran a lot of Google searches, and I discovered an odd thing. This model of MacBook seems to be associated with more failures of individual keys than others, and the keys right around the "r" key seem to fail far more than other keys on this machine, based on the raw number of search hits and my own analysis of hundreds of individual hits to exclude those not related to this problem.


And then I found this:



This is an image from a Japanese article (described here in English: ) showing thermographs of this same computer. (Note that the Japanese keyboard has slightly different key locations.) I know my own machine has always felt hottest right under the 4/5/6/e/r/t/y keys, and it probably runs hotter than a lot of people's machines since I keep it pretty busy.


And now I'm wondering if maybe the failure of the key is related to a design problem, with this heat causing premature ageing of the keyboard membrane.


So I figured I'd stick my nose in here and find out if, as Raymond Wolfinger observed in 1969–1970, the plural of anecdote is data. (Commonly misquoted now, of course, but see for the true story.)


Have you had, or heard of, key failures in the 2012 MacBook Pro with Retina display? Which key(s) were affected?


If there IS a clear trail of evidence here, maybe we can get Apple to authorize a warranty extension for new failures and cover the (very expensive! $800 or so at the Apple store) repairs that people have had to pay for in the past.




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NoMercyavon b7


  • Reply 1 of 5
    maxitmaxit Posts: 214member

    first time I heard about that, but it's hard to believe at some heat related issue for a keyboard failure. The logic board should have failed first (like it happened on 2011 MBPs)

  • Reply 2 of 5

    The thermograph image is pretty compelling - but it's far from conclusive. 


    That said, your best action is preventative: keep the fans blowing, especially on hot days or when doing demanding computer work. 

  • Reply 3 of 5
    I have the same problem on a mid 2014 13".  I'm pretty sure it's heat related because mine started happening after playing video games too long with the power cable plunged in. My Trackpad pad stopped moving too.
  • Reply 4 of 5
    Definetly my problem. My "E" and "R" keys are most of the time are not working :'( 
    I am looking into self repair options currently
    (mid 2012 mbpr 15")
    edited August 2017
  • Reply 5 of 5
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 3,785member
    I haven't heard about this problem but it seems feasible. The closest machine I have to your model is an early 2011 MBP that is working fine.

    Of course wear and tear might also explain the problem. If more people chime in you might be able to get a better idea.
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