The March 2015 update of Apple's 13" MacBook Pro Retina Display, model A1502, features fifth-generation Intel Core i5 and i7 processors and introduces the Force Touch trackpad.

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Only power button works on keyboard

A friend recently spilled liquid on their 13" Retina Macbook Pro. Opening it up, there is clear corrosion on the trackpad board.

The machine wasn't booting consistently at first, until I disconnected the trackpad cable. I've been using it for several days and it performs completely normally - except that no keys besides the power button work on the keyboard. Of course, the keyboard cable is still connected.

Could the disconnected trackpad be affecting the keyboard? Or do I need to get an entirely new top case?

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Sounds like you've shorted out the keyboard, which in normal on a keyboard spill, Hook up an external keyboard and see if it works well with the machine before doing the repair. I have not done this repair on the 2015 model but have on the 2014. The keyboard from earlier models could be replaced with a lot of effort and removing about 86 screws. The 2014 was the best protected (in that I mean the cover on the underside of the keyboard is very good). This really helps to preserve the logic board. The problem with the 2014, and possibly the 2015, is Apple started using a type of peg instead of screws to attach the keyboard to the frame. There are a few screws around the perimeter of the keyboard. It looks to me like these screws are used to position the keyboard on the frame and then a machine presses these pegs in all at one time. Makes for much faster assembly but really complicates replacing it. On the 2014 I had to remove the screws then use strength and pliers to rip the keyboard out. Then had to go back and dig and drill some of the remnants of the pegs out. I then bought a keyboards and a set of self threading screws. I then replace the original perimeter screws to position it and hand drove the new screws in creating my own threads in the aluminum.

A. Here's the easy fix: replace the upper case, here's the $525 part: MacBook Pro 13" Retina (Early 2015) Upper Case Assembly

Still requires a complete tear down of the machine, This is assuming the trackpad is not involved.

B. Attempt to do what I did yourself.

C. Send it to a really good Mac professional. It's still going to take him four hours to do it correctly. But will probably only cost $350 to $400 to do it. According to what you spilled and how much clean up time the frame may need.

MacBook Pro 13" Retina (Early 2015) Upper Case Assembly Image

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MacBook Pro 13" Retina (Early 2015) Upper Case Assembly

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Thanks for this. Perhaps I should reiterate - the only visible corrosion is on the board below the trackpad (with the machine open). I've been using an external keyboard and mouse with no issues.

I also should have mentioned - I am an Apple Certified Technician and have done similar repairs before. Sorry - could have saved you most of that explanation!

My question was really this - how likely is it that replacing just the trackpad will restore keyboard functionality?

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@wisebeardy Colin - different story. I had a very similar case about six months ago and it drove me up the wall. Apparent liquid, even one drop of sweat hitting that trackpad can mess things up. I'll see if I can find my question and answer and send you the link. It will surprise you!

See if my problem helps you: Trackpad Does not Function Properly

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WOW. I can't believe this! It works again. I did two things: Reset the SMC, and reconnect the trackpad cable (after cleaning the trackpad board a bit with isopropyl alcohol). And everything works. I simply can't believe it!

I also learned something interesting in the process - the trackpad does have to be connected for the rest of the keyboard to work. Without it, only the power button works.

Thanks again!

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@wisebeardy - Colin - I'm so glad you got it up and running. The newer machines are very interdepend on everything working correctly. You can now see why doing my first one took me so long to figure out and was so frustrating. I must have spent 50-60 hours to get it. This was just not the case with older machines. This new trackpad is something I still do not understand but at least know what to look for.

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A couple other questions - I noticed when the machine was open that sometimes it gave off a fine crackling, typically when the system is under load. At first I thought maybe something was in the fan, but it seems to be coming from the processor. And only when the machine is on its side, not when it's upright. Have you come across this?

Also, the fan doesn't seem to idle like on other machines I'm accustomed to. By default the fan is off - it only spins up when the system is under load. I've run TechTool Pro's fans test on it, and it passes. Is this normal on newer Macbook Pro's?

Finally, I'm debating whether to proactively replace the trackpad now, in case it could cause failure in other components. Do you think it's safe to use it as long as it works? A replacement is only $50, so I wouldn't mind doing it sooner.

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