Missing letters when typing on a new Macbook Pro.

Macbook Pro Keyboard

Yesterday I received a brand new Macbook Pro, 2.2GHZ with 7200rpm internal hard drive. It has Leopard installed, an LED screen and all wonderful things you would expect from a new Apple Computer. It’s amazingly fast, bright, silent and I can’t wait to use it in a live situation. The huge boost in power is going from a 12″ 876MHZ G4 is going to open many new doors during the performance. I will be able to add a ton more effects and multiple video streams.

Unfortunately I am having what maybe a serisous problem or defect with my machine. Every now and then the computer won’t type a key I press. Often it’s the first letter in a word and many times it happens when I switch into a new window and start typing.The new keyboard does have a different feel from the old Powerbook so I thought it could be user error. But after this happening for a few hours I decided to look online for an answer to what’s going on and I found this thread:

ELP! – first letter always missing!

To my surprise this is a known issue that some people are having. I tried every suggestion recommended to see if it would fix the problem. First, under Trackpad in the Keyboard and Mouse System Preferences I disabled “Ignore accidental trackpad input” and clicked “Ignore trackpad when mouse is present”. Next, in the Universal Access panel under Keyboard I put the Acceptance Delay on Short. None of these things fixed the problem. I then thought maybe its a Energy Savings issue where the computer is going into a low power mode then having an issue waking up fully. I went into the Energy Saver System Preference panel and clicked off “Put the hard disk(s) to sleep whenever possible”. I also moved the sliders to “Never” for “Put the computer to sleep…” and “Put the display(s) to sleep…”. Nothing has helped and so today I will call tech support. If they don’t have a real answer for me I will ask them to exchange this machine for me.

Do you know anything about this issue?

Update: After going back and forth with tech support and trying a few other things like zapping the Pram and using a guest account the problem did not go away. Apple is taking this machine back and sending me a new one. I’ll do a follow up post when the new computer arrives in about 10 days.

Update 2: I received a new replacement Macbook Pro and have been using it for a week. Here are my findings. The first letter missing issue has been resolved. This replacement machine does not have that problem. However, there is something that I have noticed. This keyboard has such a short throw that unless I am sitting upright in a good position I mistype. I think many of the comments I have seen on the Apple Discussion forums are from people simply not liking the keyboard so much. I am now used to it and currently love everything about this machine. I highly recommend having your computer switched out for a new one or repaired if it has the first letter missing issue.

Update 3: I hate to say this but the replacement computer is now exhibiting the same ELP behavior. I am pretty surprised. My next action is to bring it in for a repair at Gravis.de in Berlin. It’s free but I will be without the machine for 5 days. I have up to a year of free repairs so I may wait a few weeks and see if anybody figures out the exact problem on the Apple Discussion forums.

Update, February 20, 2008: Apple today pushed a software update and firmware update for the keyboard issue. It details the problem exactly so I suspect this will fix it completely. link

photo credit: aditza121

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Oliver Chesler

"Hello my name is Oliver and I'm going to tell you a story." I have been recording music since 1989 under the name The Horrorist. I have released over 60 singles and 4 full length albums. To hear my music please go to: thehorrorist.com

13 thoughts on “Missing letters when typing on a new Macbook Pro.”

  1. Hi Oliver,

    A couple of co-workers, myself included are also experiencing this. We purchased 14 17″ MBP’s with the 2.4ghz processors and the 17″ hi-res display in September.

    We’re opening a support case with Applecare now for the 2 that are experiencing this.

    I’m looking forward to hearing how the replacement goes.

  2. I am having this EXACT same problem. After a search most of the delays other people are discussing are different. Mine happens when I go to a new window or a new typing box/field like the url address bar or a form online or even a new email or email address.

    its incredibly annoying and it just started a few days ago – computer is three weeks old.

    I’m totally bumming.

  3. Apple is now removing certain posts from the thread over there.

    It seems the only solution is to pay more money to Apple and get one of their external keyboard (they are nice).


  4. I have been struggling with this problem since first purchasing my MBP 2.2ghz 10 days ago, I had the missing letters from the get go. I am a pro audio user and needed this machine to use for playback of audio cues during shows and as you might guess, the spacebar is the one key giving me the most trouble now. And yes it is most troubling when typing in a new box like safari, firefox etc.

    I wanted to return the MBP but as far as I know few if any replaced units have been free of this defect..and in some cases it got worse….”the devil you know”
    here is a link to the apple discussion at this time it has over 500 posts and thousands of reads over 35 pages and still no acknowledment from apple: http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?threadID=1036890&start=510&tstart=0

    good reading!


  5. The problem with that long thread is no one has discovered the problem. Hardware? Software? And no one has reported they got a replacement that works or that they had it repaired and it now works.

    Very troubling for now. I don’t want to bring this computer in for 5 days if its going to come back with the same issue. God knows if the will even notice the problem.

  6. I think it’s time to start a class-action lawsuit over this issue. It’s been a known problem since May of this year….

    Let’s get together and get some high profile lawyer to accept the case!


  7. I have this problem and it wont let me turn the computer off when I try to put the missing letter in. the spinning rainbow comes up and everything is frozen, I have had to hit the actual on/off button at top right to turn the computer off. when I get started it’s fine for about 15 min then starts up again with missing letters. all of the fixit post that were on here have been eliminated by ‘apple’ and I haven’t found a fix yet….has anyone else????

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