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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Keyboard not working, told trackpad needs replacing


My computer received a coffee bath and wouldn't turn on without the power cord connected, so I sent it in to a repair shop in CA to get the logic board repaired. Once they finished repairing the logic board, they told me the trackpad also needed to be replaced. I found this odd because I seem to recall it working when I had sent it in. There is a bit of corrosion on the trackpad PCB by the battery, but it seems to mainly be around the connector for the cable that leads back to the motherboard.

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The repair shop told me not to reconnect the trackpad cable until the trackpad was replaced, lest I cause more damage to the logic board. I've tried asking them a couple of times now if there was anything repaired on the logic board that was caused by the trackpad, but they have not answered my question.

Is it even possible for that board to short anything out on the main logic board? Isn't it primarily low-voltage signals being sent over the trackpad cable?

Basically, I'd like to know if I can reconnect the cable to test it without damaging my computer. Given that it was working before, I'm inclined to say they just saw the corrosion and told me it needed to be replaced (for $150, where only $30 of that is parts).



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Chosen Solution

Unlike the older trackpads which had a mechanical click system this trackpad uses a hepatic feedback system which is a mass which is moved via a magnetic coil (similar to how the old solenoid door bell would chime). This is the problem here as the rest of the logic is at a low voltage the feedback system uses a higher voltage.

Sadly the damage I see on the trackpads logic board is enough to cause issues. You'll need to replace it, and I agree with the repair shop it wouldn't be smart to chance damaging things.

The only question I have here is did you send the complete system or just the logic board alone? If you did send them the complete system why didn't they fix this Vs telling you to get it fixed?

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@danj thanks for your response. The repair shop did offer to replace the trackpad, but they wanted $150 to do it. I knew I could do it myself for a fraction of that, so I told them to just send it back with only the logic board fixed.


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Most Helpful Answer

On 2015 13" models, the keyboard will not work at all if the trackpad is not plugged in or is not fully recognised due to liquid damage. Basically, once the trackpad is replaced/cleaned using 95%+ isopropyl, the keyboard should work fine. This is why the shop has quoted for replacement of the trackpad.

The repair shop is correct, don't plug in the cable, since the corrosion inside the trackpad connector could burn the cable (unlikely, but possible). Clean it first, then try it, it will not cause damage to the cable if the corrosion is cleaned out, worst case scenario the trackpad won't work.

You can buy a test trackpad and cable, then plug this in to ensure the keyboard is definitely fine. To replace it, you will need to remove the glued in battery using isopropyl and a long, straight painting knife. The battery will explode if punctured, so send it elsewhere if you have no experience.

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@reecee - Not sure if cleaning things will be enough here. If you look carefully the at the connector base I suspect some has leached under the header. I think its safer to replace then to clean here.


@danj preferably it is better to replace the trackpad, but I would suggest @mightymaus to try cleaning before this, since it is a big job for someone who hasn't replaced this before.

Would recommend replacing anyway, but there is no harm in cleaning and testing first, to see if it does resolve the issue.


Hi guys, thanks for the responses. I've gone ahead and ordered a new trackpad. I have successfully replaced a trackpad in one of these later-model unibodies before, but I can't say I'm looking forward to doing it again.


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Kyle Combes will be eternally grateful.
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