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Repair guides and disassembly information for the 16-inch MacBook Pro released in October of 2021, featuring Apple-designed M1 Pro and M1 Max SoCs. Model A2485.

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Keyboard backlight not working, even when enabled/in a dark place.

Hi. I purchased a refurbished A2485 MacBook (not from Apple though), M1 Pro, 16 inch, and everything seems to work except for the backlight on the keyboard. I'm new to MacOS, but from what my Mac friends have told me, the backlight brightness slider in control center/settings should have enabled it. Does anyone know if perhaps a simple ribbon cable could've come loose to cause this, or if I'm looking at board-level issues? I'm still within a year warranty from the seller, but I'd love to avoid the headache of returning it if there's something I could fix myself. I don't currently own the correct screwdriver set, but I wouldn't mind buying it if this is a common issue anyone's aware of.

To be clear, the backlight doesn't come on at any point. I've tried booting into safe mode and restarting several times but I've never seen it come on once. Ambient light sensor also seems to be working, because putting my thumb over the notch dims the display.

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1 Answer

You could be onto something! It’s possible the backlight cable is not connected! Review Step 43 in this guide to see the connection point on the logic board. MacBook Pro 16" 2021 Logic Board Replacement. The connector is a lever ZIF so it’s possible the latch is just not folded down. It doesn’t take much effort to flip it down as well as check it’s inserted properly. Just follow the first steps to disconnect the battery before you jump to the connector.

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3 Comments:

Before I go through the process of opening it, would replacing the keyboard assembly entirely also replace this connector? Just want to make sure there's no soldered items I'd have to worry about replacing or breaking if they're missing or broken, since the keyboard seems like a pretty easy part to acquire.

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@cannonmiles - Why are we making this harder? We are just checking if the cable connection is secured. There is no risks if you just want to look. Just pop the bottom cover off and look at the connection, take a picture and post it here so we too can see what’s up.


Replacing the keyboard is quite hard in these systems! Frankly, if that was the issue I would return the system and get my money back. If the issue was within the logic board it might be a simple fix someone with deeper skills could fix (we are not all brain surgeons) but that too might be a bigger issue that might again make sense to pass on the system too.

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@danj True. I'd look now, but I don't have one of those P5 Pentalobe drivers on hand. I've done some smaller electronics repair in the past, but not with Macbooks in particular. I see now that the connector is immediately exposed when you take off the back cover, didn't realize that at first. I'll comment again once I get a chance to open it.

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Cannon will be eternally grateful.
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