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Some Keys Not Working, Keyboard Replacement - MacBook Pro 13" Retina Early 2020 A2251

Posted by eFix Ltd on

In this case study, we have a MacBook Pro 13" Retina Early 2020 A2251 model where some keys are not registering when pressed.

Disassembling the device, there were no visible signs of liquid entry internally, and the logic board luckily did not suffer damage. Some parts did have visible liquid staining (the fans and bottom cover, which was minor), but no electrical components.

The next step was to try a test keyboard, to ensure the issue is definitely related to the keyboard. Plugging in a UK keyboard for this model, we were able to verify that the keys were now working correctly when pressed, so the keyboard needs to be replaced.

A2251 Overview

Unfortunately, before we can get to the keyboard, we need to remove a number of components covering this. Firstly, we remove the 10 screws holding the trackpad in; this is located underneath the centre battery cell which is glued in and partially overlapping the keyboard. We remove the trackpad to avoid damaging it whilst we remove the battery.

We unscrew a couple of screws for the battery PCB next, along with a couple more holding a shield over the keyboard, and we remove the fans and charging ports to allow easier access. The Touch Bar PCB is covering the top corner of the keyboard too, so we unscrew this and carefully pry it from the adhesive to lift it out of the way. We do the same thing with the microphone, carefully unsticking it from the keyboard backing.

Using isopropyl and a special flat tool, we soften and cut into the strong adhesive holding the centre battery cell in, which we can then lift out of the way from the keyboard as needed. With everything out of the way, we finally have access to the keyboard and can carefully peel and remove the keyboard backlight, lift the speaker cables out of the way and also lift the WiFi antennas out of the way.

A2251 Keyboard

Keyboards on these models are riveted in, like the 2012 and newer Retina Pro models, and the 2010 and newer Air models, which means they are not easy to remove. The 2020 models (which reverted back to the scissor mechanisms) are slightly more difficult than 2012-2015 Retina Pro models and 2010-2017 Air models, but are easier than the 2016-2019 Retina Pro models and the 2018-2019 Air models, simply because the keyboard can be pulled out in one piece, pulling the rivets with it, due to the metal backing (the butterfly mechanism keyboards are a PCB material which tend to break into pieces, making those models the most difficult to replace keyboards on).

Pushing and pulling on the keyboard, being wary of the overlapping battery and Touch Bar PCB (which overlaps the esc key), we remove the faulty keyboard. Next, we use wire cutters to pull each rivet out, which leaves a hole in each section of the keyboard; we do this in preparation of the new keyboard, which we will be screwing in using special screws.

After cleaning and drying the frame, we insert the new keyboard, using special screws to thread the rivet holes and lock the new screws into place, which holds the keyboard in, exactly the same as the original. The final step is refitting the old parts, and now this 2020 MacBook is fixed and the keyboard is now working fine!

A2251 Keyboard Replacement

If your MacBook Pro A2251 has some keys which aren't working, or other keys are being pressed when typing, you likely have the same issue with the keyboard. Feel free to book it for our free diagnostic service and we can find out what is causing the issue, and offer the keyboard replacement if this is what is causing your issue!

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