How to remove keys from a wireless Mac keyboard

November 20, 2010

Gadget, Journal

I hear you sighing. That’s right, I’m trying to help the world again.

Many weeks ago I spilled some pop while eating, and since I eat in front of the computer, some splashed on the keyboard. (The last time that happened we had an ancient computer and Lloyd just frowned at me, disconnected the keyboard, and told me to wash it off in the bathtub. I was aghast, but apparently it was fine once it dried. Either that or he just replaced it after I’d learned my lesson.)

Well, you can’t wash off a wireless keyboard. I’ve just lived with a sticky ‘2’ and ‘Q’ for a while now, and it hasn’t been such a problem. Tonight, though, I thought I’d try to clean it. (Warning: this is very, very boring.)

I first watched this video, which is good, but shows the guy removing them from the bottom, since his is an iMac laptop. I learned (by kinda breaking my ‘2’ key a little) that Mac wireless keys need to be removed from the top. Here are some photos:

First I tried a bamboo skewer, since that was the video showed. This is a re-enactment, though, since the first time I tried from the bottom, and I snapped apart an important little piece inside. It was fixable, though. (This is when Lloyd figured out that the key needed to be popped off from the top. He didn’t know what I was doing until I said, “Oops”, then he sighed heavily and came to my rescue.)

So pokey, yet so green.

Instead, use a nail file. You can get under the key, lift it, then turn it until it pops off. Go slow.

remove a key from a mac wireless keyboard width=

Here’s what the underside of the key looks like. The bottom of the key is toward the left. The pieces on the right are what ‘pop’ when you twist the nail file, and the pieces on the left are hinged onto little pegs on the bottom of the mechanism under the key. It lifts right off.

Man, that is a weird close-up of my fingerprints.

Why is careful spelled with only one l?

I cleaned the pop residue off with alcohol on a cotton swab, and put it back on. (I was able to snap back together the part I broke. It’s like a little folding chair inside, and my ‘axle’ had popped apart.) Anyway, lift the top (my keyboard is upside-down) of the folding-chair thing so you can slip the bottom hinge on, then press down on the key.

Oh snap!

Done and done.  They work much better, but I realized a bit ago THAT I ALSO NEED TO CLEAN UNDER THE CAPS LOCK KEY.


About Lauren

Lauren Sommerer is a preschool teacher who likes to build prototypes, grow cats, cook things once, save money, reduce, reuse and recycle.

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20 Responses to “How to remove keys from a wireless Mac keyboard”

  1. Brad Said on:

    Well, if your memory card post is any indication, you should be enjoying a period of internet popularity for a while. It’s like you opened a bar tab for everyone, then gave them an ice cream sundae bar, then gave them your grandpa’s watch. 🙂


  2. Peggy Said on:

    Gee, now it’s really getting difficult to determine where you end & Lloyd begins & vice versa!


  3. Jane Said on:

    I was about to go back to my wired keyboard, as I couldn’t tell how to pry those little buttons off -- But I did a search, and up this came! Perfect timing! Thanks so much.


  4. Jane Said on:

    Just to let everyone know, the bigger keys have little wires. Make sure you guide them back into their eyeholes before pushing the key back down into place; otherwise the key will make a noise and not contact properly. I even got the spacebar off and on (and off and on)! Never drink wine near your keyboard!


  5. peanutmom2001 Said on:

    Thanks for the pictures and directions! My 7777777 key is now working beautifully! I think one of the kids had dripped airheads melted popsicle into the key while using photo booth. My kids thank you also for saving their summer from impending doom.


  6. Brian Said on:

    Thanks for taking the time to post this. My _ key is now working again.


  7. Erin Said on:

    Ahhhhh THANK YOU! That was not a boring post, that was an excellent and incredibly helpful post. My H key has been driving my crazy for months, and tonight it had gotten really bad but it’s perfect now! 🙂


  8. Bruce Said on:

    Super-helpful post. I didn’t have a nail file, but an X-acto knife seemed to work similarly. I, too, had problems with my “2” key, but as you can see in this response, I am now typing “2” much more easily now. Thank you for taking the time to post this! 🙂


  9. Inger Said on:

    Sweet! Very helpful, thanks!

    Just got a free wireless keyboard out of this! ;D


  10. Hilary Said on:

    Thanks for this, very helpful.

    A few months after I got my brand new Mac I spilled a bit of coffee on the wireless keyboard. After doing a bit of research I found that having spilled stuff on it the warranty was now void anyway, so I removed the batteries and gave it a good rinse before the coffee (with milk and sugar) had time to dry. I then left it in a ziploc bag full of rice (to absorb the moisture), on top of the hot-water cylinder for at least a week to dry completely. It’s worked perfectly ever since, this was a couple of years ago.

    The key to rinsing a keyboard is to remove the power source as soon as the spill happens. Then rinse and dry absolutely completely before using it. I’ve read you can save mobile phones the same way.


  11. Heather Said on:

    So…. I knocked my Scentsy warmer over onto my wireless keyboard at work and coated the thing in melted (then dried!) wax. It smelled awesome, but I was pretty sure my boss wasn’t going to think a non-typing, vanilla-suede-scented keyboard was cool. Searched this morning for “how to removed keys from a wireless mac keyboard” and BAM! here you are… So thank you. I was able to get the keys off using a toothpick (I brought Q-tips, toothpicks, and Goo Gone gel from home) and a binder clip (What CAN’T you use those suckers for???) and break up the wax under the keys with the toothpick. A quick wipe down with a small amount of the gel on a Q-tip, popped the keys back on, and VOILA! Good as new. So thank you for saving me from having to tell the man-in-charge that I had to run to Apple to replace one of my keyboards.

    Bonus: The keyboard totally still smells like warm vanilla suede. SCORE!


  12. Dani Said on:

    You actually CAN wash a wireless keyboard! And it works perfectly!


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