Spacebars malfunctioning on new 12-inch MacBooks

MacBookProIconXIf you have purchased one of Apple’s new 12-inch MacBooks (Early 2015), then be aware of a potential keyboard issue where the space bar may not respond, especially when pressed on the left or right edges. When this happens, the bar will feel as if it has hit the bottom of its range without sending the keypress to the system. Additional force may ultimately activate the key, but with standard typing this problem may make it difficult for affected users to enter spaces.

Despite this, affected space bars will usually work when pressed in the center. This along with additional pressure activating the key suggests the issue is a mechanical one, meaning that it cannot be addressed by a software or firmware update. Therefore, instead of adjusting your typing habits to accommodate this problem, be sure to take advantage of your Mac’s warranty and bring the system in for servicing.

If you have just purchased your system within the past 14 days and are noticing this problem, then as per Apple’s purchasing agreement you can bring it back to Apple for a full refund or exchange; however, if not then you can still take the system in for warranty service coverage, which for US customers is a single year from its purchase date.

This problem might affect a large number of systems, or may be only with a few that came off one or two production lines; however, regardless of its extent, Apple will likely be very eager to investigate the issue and correct it, especially for one of its newest products. Therefore, you should have no problem in contacting Apple for an exchange regarding this or any other obvious defect in your new MacBook.

Since this problem may be inherent to the keyboard design on the MacBook, be sure thatย you thoroughly test any replacement (though this particular issue will likely present itself, given the space bar is so commonly used). Be sure to retain all documentation for your purchase and servicing.

58 thoughts on “Spacebars malfunctioning on new 12-inch MacBooks

  1. tokai

    I had this issue with my normal Apple keyboard (the one with cable) too. Using some sharp object to slightly lift the space bar at the respective edge and then blowing a bit air under the key has fixed the issue for me. Might worth a try on those MacBooks too. Probably just some dust collecting.

      1. Steve Tyrrell

        You shouldn’t have to press in a special area of the spacebar for it to work. If your fingers are correctly placed on the keyboard for typing, then the right thumb is going to click the space bar on its RIGHT side, and the left thumb is going to hit the spacebar on the LEFT side.

        I’m on my second 12″ Mac (both of them 2016 models) and I’ve had several keys become unresponsive. The spacebar is just the latest. It’s been ONE WEEK since the Apple Store blew out my keys to fix the other ones (before I knew that was the solution that I can do myself) but seriously… after only ONE WEEK and my keys are so susceptible to invisible particles that the keys stop working? It’s ridiculous. And after using Macs for seven years, I don’t expect to have to perform special maintenance on a weekly basis OR press my keys in certain places or with extra force.

        1. Paul

          True but Apple doesn’t care, they will just conceal the problem until they sell all the 12-inch-retinas they have and can switch to a proper keyboard. All the reviews out there are for new computers so the never mention this problem which takes a few weeks for the dirt to lodge. I now use my old MacAir for typing and my new 12MacRetina for surfing.

  2. Jody

    I had this space bar issue too, when my Macbook was just one month old. Then apparently the space bar problem caused the whole computer to short out. It died and had to go in for repair for a week.

  3. Terry

    I am on my third MacBook with this issue (Space bar and other keys). I am about to return for 4th replacement, or do I demand a refund as this problem seems it will continue to happen.

  4. Ka Tech

    Looks like a big issue with keyboard design. My ‘r’ key is spongy and I am waiting for my new replacement laptop from apple. I am a bit disappointed especially when you consider this is a premium product with a high price tag. I did not have any issues what so ever with my surface pro 3 and now starting to regret replacing the unit with the mac12inch.

  5. Tim

    Same issues for me. MB bought July, 2015 here in BC, Canada. By September I noticed both the spacebar (R side) and enter key (L side) were spongy i.e. had lost their positive recoil function. Kept missing enter as expected key pressure not the same as other keys. Returned to Simply Computing (reseller) who arranged repair under warranty. New keyboard & battery installed (assuming this is an integrated unit). After 3 days of its return, noticed the inferior (downwards) arrow key has the same issue (spongy, no recoil, no positive “tap”). Given this is a main selling feature of this new MB, rather disappointing. Have we become unwitting gamma (or spamma) testers for Apple? More hassle finding time to return it, traffic, gas, parking, downtime. Wondering if returning the product is in order in case this is a widespread problem i.e. one waiting to happen for all customers, or do I persist under warranty assuming this is a lemon. Perhaps a MBP with increased functionality at similar price would be better. Downside is I really can type faster on the MB & it’s portability is useful. Or, a sleek Windows machine??

  6. stefan

    Yeah have this problem myself, iv had my macbook for just over two weeks when my spacebar started for lack of a better word “stick”, only when pressing hard did it work again. I am wondering how long it will last before i need to take it in. Really disappointed ! As an early adopter and an avid apple customer/supporter this falls well short of what i expect from one of the most powerful technological innovation companies in the world.

  7. none

    Been through 3 replacements so far and have just basically up on getting a working one. Total waste of money.

  8. bruce

    Same problem with my return key. I can’t afford to not have my computer with me for the repair period. Especially if this is going to be a recurring problem.

  9. Bruce Benjamin Thomas

    I have the same issue. Just got my computer a few days. Makes typing very very difficult. It’s mostly the lower right side of the space bar which is causing me the most issues. Really need my computer for work so I might just try to adjust my typing. Frustrating as I’ve had a lot of Macs over the years and have had different defects with many of them. Not that most of the Macs are defective, but just I keep lucking into getting only those which has reported issues like this.

    I will say I was originally concerned when I heard they redesigned the keyboard. I wondered if it’d be an issue as it’s an untested change. I was right with my fear.

    Other than that, I am loving the machine. I actually have several other Macs here I could switch to while they attempted to fix this but I prefer using this one. I also doubt they can really fix this issue.

    Let me also point out that the design of the case also causes some space bar issues as many times I am pressing the lower part of the space bar and i hit the raised case just before the trackpad which prevents me from pressing down enough to activate the space bar. That and the issue about the corners not working means typing is slow.

  10. None

    I’m glad I checked this website, I wish I had before I purchased the new MacBook. I just got back from the Genius bar because the space bar stopped working. After running tests, they said it has to be sent out to get replaced — after two months?! I need my computer for work, as do most people, and when it’s down, my business is down. Had a read these reviews before, I would’ve purchased something else. I didn’t get the extended warranty, which I remember the sales guy really pushing, and now I know why. I think Apple is aware of this issue, but is it going to take a class action lawsuit for them to fix it? Shouldn’t they be proactive and do a recall on certain books, or are we all just stuck with this bad apple? I agree with the other writer on here, maybe we’re all beta testers on this one in advance of the one without issues. Really sucks and not sure what to do if another problem arrises? I really like all the features on this new apple, just wish it worked.

  11. Jenny Smith

    My spacebar also stopped working at the right and left hand side after only 2 months of usage. I noticed it, so booked in for an appointment at the Genius Bar the next day. However, when I went to check it out the next morning (just to make sure I could show demonstrate the problem), the spacebar was working perfectly again.

    I’m wondering if a bit of dust / crumb shifted or if it had to do with the macbook being quite warm when I noticed the problem the first time, but had cooled down when I tried it in the morning? I’m wondering if the plastic spacebar expands when hot it might prevent the ‘butterfly’ mechanism working properly.

    Has anyone else experienced intermittent problems?

  12. usha

    I’m having this problem too. Takes forever to get the spacebar to work. Almost feel like I can get away with it if I just put a # before my sentences. #TrytoclaimIhaveatwitterspacebar #nonexistent

  13. Jo Anderson

    I have this exact problem on a macbook air (latest 2015). The keyboard has been replaced twice and I still have the issue as bad as ever and Apple refuses to replace it again, telling me is is normal to have to hit the bar at the top or middle. I don’t believe that because many macbooks I’ve typed on do not have this problem. I am quite unhappy with their response.

  14. Andrea

    Same problem. I got my Macbook in June and lately I have to hit the space bar straight on and pretty hard. it is really frustrating.

  15. Robert Petty

    before taking a non-performing space bar apart to clean it, I tried a canned air high-pressure blow on my stuck space bar, and it worked!
    So, try the simple and inexpensive blowing out the crud under keys or space bar first.

  16. Rainyvanc

    Sameproblemforme…..abouttotakemyMacinforthethirdtime…thistimeforthespacebar…..eachtimeit’sadifferentkeysoit’snotjustthespacebar….it’skeysthatareusedfrequently….

  17. Amy

    ny updates? I bought m macbook and promptly went on vacation forth weeks. Now cannot return it because it is ore than two weeks after the return period. Oh, btw, I am an excellent and really speedy typist and this comment was typed without my corrections. This is how my macbook works (DOESN’T WORK.

    The space bar isn’t m problem…it is man keys that don’t work.

  18. Paul Adams

    I’m now on my third Mac 12 inch retina keyboard and already the “w” is sometimes failing. The problem seems to be that the new type of keyboard is much more prone to dust, probably because of the shallow travel. A Mac that only works in a hemetically-sealed pressurized environment is not much good, even with a superb screen and ultrathin size.

    1. Andrea

      I did cure this problem with an air can, but it keeps coming back. Originally it was just the space bar but now it is impacting several other keys as well. For those of you who had your keyboards replaced, I wonder if you could tell me how long it took? Did they have to send it out? How long did you have to do without it? I run a local database system on it and can’t imagine doing without it for a long period of time. This is my first mac and other than this problem I love it.

      Thanks for any info you can provide!

      1. Paul Adams

        In both cases the replacement was fairly quick – about a week after I took it to the Apple Store. But first you have to get an appointment at the store. I suspect that Apple will be discontinuing this line.

  19. Trevor

    I haven’t had spacebar problems, but the keyboard takes some getting used to.
    There are lots of complaints about the lack of ports but the real issue (problem) is charging and usb from a single port.
    Sometimes the VGA stops and only works again when the lid is closed and opened again, which suggests a sensor issue.
    I had the Gen 1 MacAir, which overheated then shut CPU down to half speed, and had other issues. Now Gen 4 is a great piece of kit.
    Early adopters are hardware developers for Apple!

  20. shamon

    wow i just had the same problem they sent it out for repair and told me they no longer exchange the macbooks but has to send out . kinda sucks seeing how i paid close to $2000 for the 500gb model of the new macbook plus applecare which like a close to $200 . my macbook is set to be return to me by next week the space bar started acting up then the macbook died .

  21. Sarah

    Ooh! This is an interesting thread. I bought the new MacBook last summer – June – and by October the keys were intermittently useless. Sent back for a repair about two months ago, which took ten days. It’s come back and the space bar is now back to its appalling self. I’ve had some fun in Apple Chat sending them links to threads such as this. The last time, I said I wanted a different machine and they got very tetchy. Will be sending this one back again for a replacement and if a second machine has the same problem, I will be demanding a different model. I suggest we all do – their customers made Apple great, we can also make them listen

    (typed, backspaced and retyped with enormous patience)

  22. Caitlin

    Bought my machine in September 2015. Just noticed the space bar issue yesterday, so it seems I was luckier than most on here. But just as annoyed, because, like most people, I use my computer daily. Trying to finish a final paper now for school and having to retype every other word is infuriating. This perfect gold macbook was too good to be true. ๐Ÿ™ ๐Ÿ™

  23. Meggin

    Mine just started “sticking” – i was scared to death something had spilled on it unbeknownst to me. Now I’m convinced its just the same issue that all of you are having. Will bring it in when I get home from vacation – still should be covered under applecare.

  24. James Holloway

    My Spacebar on my macbook is also not working this after repeated cleaning and blowing. I am in for first appointment at Apple to get fixed. Lets see if they can fix it.

  25. Sylvia

    Ihavethesameproblem.MyspacerkeyisNOTworking.The”l”buttonisspongyandthedeletebuttonisspongy.

  26. AMY

    Hi have this issue with the letter D and my return key – they are spongy not clicky and require extra pressure! Off to Mac on Wednesday to get it sorted out. The Mac is 5 weeks old….

  27. LeeAundra

    Same issue here. Had it replaced a few months back and now its sticking again. Unfortunately, its now out of warranty so I can’t get it replaced without a charge not to mention the incredible hassle of being without a computer for a week. Heartbroken because I love every other aspect of it but this problem is unbearable…

    1. Paul Adams

      Yes, it’s rather frustrating this otherwise stellar machine has an almost fatal flaw. But clean the keyboard carefully and regularly and you might just be able to live with it.

  28. Tom Powers

    We are going to replace the keyboard for the 3rd time. Apple always acts surprised by the spacebar failure and claim they never heard of this happening. I really think they should replace the computer. To make things worst when we had it replaced in Cambodia the technician apparently put down the wrong code so it show up as the problem was cause by an accident, which it wasn’t, although there was a language issue. Also we have had the battery replaced as well as the power cord. I would discourage anyone from buying a 12 inch Macbook.

    1. Sylvia

      I left my laptop there on a Monday night and received a message Friday morning that it was ready. That was a few weeks ago. My space bar works now. The other keys are fine now, too. I’m still happy with my purchase because this laptop is so lightweight and small. It’s easier to travel with.

      1. Paul

        Yes of course it’s a gorgeous machine, but almost impossible to live with (rather like a too-beautiful wife) because of the keyboard problem – you will find other keys start sticking too, unless your environment is hermetically clean . Learn to carry a can of compressed air with the computer, as well as all the USB C adaptors you will need (and ply the pretty wife with money!).

  29. Denise

    I thought it was just me!

    Does anyone know if this is a problem with larger MacBooks or just the 12inch? Please advise.

    I can’t type without having to manually cursor under a letter and hit the spacebar hard between words!

    My Mac is a year and a half old. Out of warranty so I am screwed unless I want to pay for a repair which I see here might not last long. Frustrated and annoyed too!

    1. JoRene Anderson

      Ii had a similar problem with a MacBook Air. I had to hit the spacebar really hard in the middle to get it to space and often had to go back to do this. It was quite annoying. I could depress the space bar all the way to the bottom without it registering. I took it for repairs several times and they said they replaced the keyboard, but it continued to act the same way, so I think it is a design fault. The ends of the spacebar didn’t have the same small rubber bumpers that were in the middle, and I think that might have been why it didn’t always register. I finally sold the air and got a different laptop.

      1. Paul Adams

        Doesn’t work for me – my * key stays stuck (of course it’s not actually the * key, which I’m using as a proxy), and even when I get it unstuck (massive blasts of air do help) another one will start sticking. It’s the basic design of the ultrathin keyboard that’s at fault, as well as not working in a hermetically clean environment. But at least the 12 inch doesn’t explode.

  30. Marja

    I just had the spacebar problem now that’s why I started to google about it. I fixed it by turning my Macbook 12″ (rose gold) upside down and flicking it rapidly but gently with my finger. I was guessing there were just particles stuck in between that needed to be dislodged…It worked ๐Ÿ™‚

  31. Himanshu

    A SOLUTION FOR 12 INCH MACBOOK SPACE BAR ISSUES

    well you dont need to bring it to your apple store or ask for a replacement , i also have a macbook 12 inch grey i faced the same issues of not just my spacebar but often the f1 key the A key used to get stuck , a very simple solution is close the lid , lift ur mac in the air and tap gently a few times on the back side or the bottom., under ur spacebar / or any other stuck key and voila it will work just fine ,

    you are welcome …..

  32. Katy

    I’m having the same issue with my space bar and various other keys. I am on my second replacement keyboard. I am so frustrated because I loved the original keyboard on the macs! My brother knows someone who works at apple and is going to try and get me an exchange for an air! I’ve been told this is not possible- but I will print out all 50 of these comments and will demand an exchange as for such a huge company and one who strives to provide the best customer service – this is ridiculous!!!!! I am a second year uni stundent who needs a reliable laptop!! I can’t even write a bloody essay without getting frustrated with the keys!!!

    1. Paul Adams

      It’s a great computer with a lousy (almost unusable) keyboard. But try blowing lot of air under the stuck keys, and avoid dust. Good luck!

    2. gogo

      Try to refund your Macbook 12″ and buy (second hand) Macbook Air 11″. Almost the same portability, but much more reliable, with MagSafe, USB3, TB – and standard “old fashion” durable Apple keyboard… ๐Ÿ˜‰

      1. Paul Adams

        a good plan – a 12 inch retina macbook is little better than an Ipad when the keyboard fails, as it probably will. But Apple will deny the issue till the last dog dies.

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