MacBook Mod – Two Tone Black And White Keyboard

I love MacBooks. Recently I gave in to temptation and got myself a white one, again. 😉 It’s been a while.

One of the keys was broken when I got it.

Missing, to be exact.

Whoever took it did a through job; the key itself, the mechanism underneath, and even the tiny rubber cone from under the key was missing. That’s the bit that pops the key back up after it’s been released. It takes force to rip it off; can’t really happen by accident. May be a child’s revenge on daddy? 😉 That would be my guess.

MacBook Late 2007 Original Condition

notice missing "up" arrow key on the right

In any case, the machine was in nice condition except for that bit. OS X 10.7 Lion ran smoothly. It also had a decent optical drive, a rare thing in the Mac world of slot loading coaster makers.

How to get an “UP” arrow key, along with the rubber bit underneath? On an other notebook it would have been a keyboard replacement. However the keyboard on a MacBook can’t easily be replaced. It’s sealed inside what Apple calls the top case unit, which includes the keyboard, the touchpad, the power button, and all plastic areas surrounding these bits. Everything you see from the top when the lid is open (except the screen). That’s big part and well expensive. A bit overboard for one key. On the other end of the spectrum there’s a site that sells single keys. Unfortunately they don’t include the rubber bit, so that was out.

In the end I decided to get a keyboard. Not to replace it, that’s impossible, but to harvest the keys and the rubber off of.

Then I had an other dilemma. These keyboards were made in two colors; white, obviously, and black for the high-end models. Price for either part is the same. The question was, “Do I just fix it, or do something more?”

It looked like fun to do so I went with the black keyboard. Interesting point to note that none of the dealers were in a hurry to point out that the keyboard itself can’t be replaced inside the top case unit. That is unless you’re a magician or have plastic molding equipment.

I’m a fan of Vasarely, the master of optical art. What he created was 3D spaces and illusions of shape and movement on a canvas, circa 40 years before computers were around to do it.

I think he’d chuckle if he was around to see these pictures.


I’ve replaced the better half of the keys.

It’s unique for one thing –

It also creates the illusion that the rows of keys form an arch when it’s looked at from an angle.

I hope these pictures illustrate my point.

MacBook Black and White Keyboard arch illusion 1

Look the keys "bend" ;)

MacBook Black and White Keyboard arch illusion 2

.. don't they?


Anyway, that was fun. Oh and it was gone before I had to a chance to advertise it. I can re-create it any time though. Use the contact form on the main page if you want your own unique MacBook. Any black or white MacBook is great base material.

The labor is 3000 yen, and the new keys are 3000 yen as well, for a total of 6000 yen.

The possibilities are endless; have a look below.

MacBook Black and White Two Tone Keyboard Samples from around Web

Any ideas for yours?

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Hi, Sandor here. Thanks for visiting. Computer trouble in Japan? You've come to the right place!

I am 34 years old, and have been fixing computers since 1994, since before I finished high school. Then I got a degree in Computer Science, had my own PC shop, worked at a top laptop maker in England. Then I came to Japan; it's what I always wanted to do.

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