My MacBook’s Keyboard Keeps Cracking

I bought my white mid-range MacBook in August, 2007. About ten months later, little cracks appeared on the keyboard’s faceplate. They were on the seam where the top faceplate meets the front of the laptop, and maybe half a centimeter wide.

Eventually little strips of plastic snapped off the top of my laptop. It was really only an aesthetic problem, but the thing was still under warranty, so I got it fixed. It’s a good thing, too, because I seem to recall the Apple technician telling me the faceplates were, like, $500 to replace.

Another six months later, my replacement keyboard faceplate is suffering from the same problem:

My Laptop Breaks, Again

I’m quite a heavy-handed typist. Maybe that’s it? Or is it my incredibly muscular wrists? In truth, it seems like an ongoing defect with the plastic and design of the faceplate. It’s not thick or strong enough to bear the ongoing weight of lazy typists who don’t pick up their wrists when they’re working.

After a year and a half with this MacBook, that and the overly-hot base are my only complaints. Later in 2009 I might upgrade to a MacBook Air, or I might go with another MacBook. Apple has given me little reason to return to the wayward Windows ways of my youth.


  1. I have the same problem with my MacBook. I’m waiting until I feel like parting with it for a few days before I take it in for repairs. Of course it broke the day after I purchased AppleCare (I usually wait until the one-year anniversary deadline). I was warned about the defect by a friend at Mesh last May.

    Looks like Apple has addressed this problem with the new MacBooks – there isn’t a separate faceplate for the keyboard – it’s “seamless”.

    I wonder if they’ll be open to making an exchange instead of a repair since two $500 repairs come close to the price of a new MacBook.

  2. I say keep on sending it back for repairs while under warranty. After 3 times for the same problem they might just replace it with a new one as they did with my powerbook which they replaced with a brand new macbook pro once the issue I had with it re-occurred after the 3rd time.

  3. I have the exact same problem with my MacBook. When I first saw it, I admit to feeling a tiny bit of pride – as if it were proof of hard work or something. Now I just look at it like a defect.

  4. I don’t have a MacBook (yet – although I hope the power of dreaming will allow me for some strong computing power!) but I had the same problem with my eMachines

  5. It’s a known design fault in the Macbook (heavens, did someone just suggest an Apple product wasn’t perfect?).

    We took our daughter’s Macbook in to have the same fault rectified & the technician said he sees this happen all the time and it’s fairly certain that it’ll happen again.

  6. Good to know. I have an Aug 2008 macbook and I always eye that part of the computer suspiciously when it starts to flex in a way I think that it should not. So this is what happens!

  7. Both my own and my brother’s Macbook did this.

    The cracks appear there because it is where the ridges on the lid meet the faceplate. If knocked or squeezed when shut, the pressure causes the cracks.

  8. I have an early 2008 white MacBook which has developed cracks on the edge wrist plate after 6 months on the right, and then 9 months on the left. I had assumed it was ‘wear and tear’ initially until the crack appeared on the left hand side. I have taken my MacBook to the local Apple Store (Sydney, AU) where they confirmed the issue as a known fault.
    I was told that the magnets behind the top of the LCD (designed to hold the MacBook closed) are too strong and whilst closed, apply to much pressure to the top plate. As such, over time (particularly if the MacBook is slammed shut) it causes the plastics to fail. In addition, I have numerous hairline cracks on the base plate… (incidentally, I never slam my MacBook, have it in a protective case and also store in a MacBook sleeve).
    I’ve also had a new screen (after 1 month, following flicker), a new power socket (after 5 months) and a new logic board (after 6 months). All of which Apple gladly corrected without charge.
    It is currently away having both top and bottom plates replaced for free. I complained that having had so many issues and ‘rebuilds’ I felt the machines quality and integrity was compromised and therefore asked for a replacement. Fanciful thinking but it was worth a try. I was however reassured that as the plastic cracking was a ‘known design flaw’ it would be covered for the life of the product. I somehow doubt this and will kindly request something in writing!!! Fat chance!!! If I get it, I’ll post it on here so you can have proof…
    They also told me that the cracking is a safety issue as it can scratch, or cut the wrists (as happened with me)…
    I’d finally like to point out that I have been using Apple products for many years and have always found them to be of exceptional quality. Also, we have two MacBooks in our household and only 1 has had any issues. I believe the problem is isolated and does not reflect poor, or declining standards on the behalf of Apple… I still highly recommend their products… mind you, I still fancy a replacement!!! The new model too, thanks Mr. Jobs 😉

    p.s. AU$430 for AppleCare??? Are you crazy!

  9. Good news for you, I just speak with Apple customer care… I also have the same problem of your’s…. Same place, same crack….

    Then they say’s that they will replace the casing for me for Free…. Even my warranty period is over…. 🙂

    This is common problem for mac book user’s… this is due to there design (the rib in top flap cause the crack).
    They say’s that they have received quite a lot of complains about this and that why they replacing this for free…. So any mac book user’s…. its your chance to replace the cover for free….
    🙂 No need to worry about the warranty period.

    Just call care centre, they will give a reference number which you can give to service centre

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