Probably wrong place-but help-key presses in wrong order!

Ok, so today my macbook air has started registering my key presses in the wrong order. It’s happening in all apps, but sometimes stops for about a minute before getting bad again. If I type at anything like a normal speed, the letters come out mixed up, and there is a huge lag between my typing and the letters appearing. I am not a fast typer by any stretch of the imagination, but I am trying to write an essay, and this is driving me crazy. I’ve fiddled with the key repeat rates and I think maybe it helped a bit, but not enough.

The computer is the ‘ultimate’ 11" Air.

Please could someone rescue me from despair!

Thank you!

Weird, I haven’t seen anything like that on mine. Maybe try logging in with the shift key held down and see if it’s some background third-party tool that is playing funny.

Sounds as though you’ve got a dyslexic MBA. Sorry…not funny :blush:
I’ve been googling this, for the last ten minutes, but I can’t come up with the symptoms you describe.
I’d be inclined to go back to AppleStore, and ask one of their geniuses.

It’s relatively early days as far as MBAs are concerned. There are probably faults queuing up to reveal themselves to the Mac community.

If Amber, hasn’t come across it in the forums, then I think it’s safe to assume reference to the phenomenon, isn’t there.
Hope you get it sorted.

Thank you both anyway, much appreciated. I’ll try turning off all my log-in items and see if that helps. Otherwise, I guess a call to Apple is in order :frowning:

Thanks guys :slight_smile:

Logic board would be my guess…never seen it in my experience (which was tech support to an academic department.) But we didn’t use Macbook airs. (They got budget for either a desktop or a laptop, and most chose to get macbook pros. Now those things are workhorses. Had a prof dump one into a river, and it survived.)

But yeah. Apple store. :frowning:

Reset your PRAM/PMU

Go under Universal Access and make sure Slow Keys and Acceptance Delay is not the culprit.

Change the resolution of your screen to the native resolution if it is not already. If it is already set it to a lower one then set it back.

Create a new users account and see if the problem happens in the new account. (If it doesn’t it is software related.)

Turn OFF ambient light sensors.

If all that fails call Apple.

Please excuse me coming back for more advice, but I have discovered something that I think could be, if not actually causing the problem, a major symptom. As advised, I checked all my settings, and they seem fine. But I also ran activity monitor, and there I think I see a problem. I have 4GB of RAM. With only a Word Processor, Scrivener and one Safari tab open, plus my usual ‘background’ apps, over 3.5 GB was in use, and that single Safari tab, with no Flash and not downloading anything, was over 250 Mb! I’m guessing that isn’t normal?

My friend suggested I could have a virus on my Mac. Is that likely? I ran a VirusBarrier X6 scan and it came back clean, but the filters hadn’t been updated in a few weeks, so I’m updating now and can run it again.

The problem with the key recognition and lagging doesn’t seem to happen for a few minutes when I turn on my mac, but then progressively gets worse as time goes on. If I can’t fix it I’ll call Apple (I do have Apple Care, fortunately), but would it be worth doing a clean install or something? (I’ve never done that, so I don’t have a clue if it would help or if the problem would just return).

If you’ve got Aple Care, use it, you’ve paid for it. Even if it’s something silly, a chat with one of their, ‘Geniuses’ should sort you out.

Do you have some sort of cooling mechanism for your laptop? Those fan pads can do a world of good. You’re not blocking any vents, right? (using a laptop on a bed or lap can cause this.)

Could also be your Spotlight Search Index may have been corrupted and your computer is trying to re-index a corrupt file.

You can rebuild your index.

If you do, do it before you go to bed and let your computer run at night while you sleep so it can rebuild the index un-interrupted (rebuilding the index is disk intensive and can take awhile)

Thanks all.

I don’t think it’s a cooling issue, but what it is…well, the story so far:

Spent two hours on phone to Apple Care (and I hate to think what that will cost!).

They told me I had several problems, two related to internet, two to the computer.

First, they said I had corrupted caches or pref panes, which they guided me to delete. Then they said that four GB of RAM was not enough to support basic word processing, safari and login items. I turned all the login items off.

So this morning when I turned it on it seemed ok, although I still felt it lagged a little. This evening, when I turned it on, it told me there was no airport card installed. I thought if I rebooted it might help, so I turned it off. When I tried to turn it on again, nothing happened. It seemed to be off, but was emitting a buzzing noise, and it got very hot, even though it was on a solid surface with plenty of ventilation. It eventually stopped doing this after a couple of hours.

Now it will not turn on at all :frowning:

Before calling Apple, I had used TechTool Deluxe to test everything and it came back clear. I guess I’ll have to call Apple again.

But I was/am curious about the idea of 4GB of RAM being too little. So I ran Activity Monitor on the family MBP which also has 4GB. Although there were more processes running on that than on the MBA, and many were the same ones, the RAM usage was far lower. And although a lot of the RAM was in use, there was no lagging or mis-registering of my key-strokes.

I can’t directly compare the logs since I can’t boot the MBA, but as an example:

Single Safari window on Yahoo home page:

MBP: c.140 mb
MBA: c.350 mb

The advisors I spoke to (I had to speak to two) both told me the MBA levels were normal, but is that the case? I don’t see why there should be such a difference!

So maybe it is the logic board?

Anyway, I hate to ask another favour, but is anyone willing to give me an insight into their Activity Monitor figures? And is 4GB (or less) enough for what you do?

Apologies, but with another paid call to make, I’m questing for some extra know-how. Although I do have some access to another computer, all my University work is on the MBA. I have a Time Machine back up, and will only lose one night of work if the MBA has failed altogether, but I can’t easily restore everything I need to another machine, so I really, really need a quick fix if possible :frowning:



Wait…what? I’ve only got 4GB of RAM in my computer, and I do a lot of gaming. (And sound editing/digital music.) How old is the rest of your computer again? That should be plenty for word processing and web surfing. I could see needing more if you do a lot of video editing, but…that Apple Care person was higher than a kite.

Yeah that’s not even close to corrupted caches/preferences/libraries. That’s something physical with the computer (thinking PSU or logic board.) We had a spate of imacs that had bad logic boards (the capacitors blew on them.) They’d lag, get really super hot, then die like that.

Do you have an apple store nearby? I’d take it in.

What are you running on that thing, anyway? Until a couple months ago, I was using an iMac with only 2GB of RAM, and the only thing that noticeably slowed it down was booting a Windows virtual machine. (IE a whole other operating system!) I had no problem running Scrivener, Mail, DevonThink Pro, at least one browser, and sometimes accessories like iTunes.

Buzzing noise and getting very hot sure sounds like a cooling problem to me. I had an old PC laptop with exactly those symptoms: the cooling fan seized up.

I’d find an alternative computer until you get this sorted out. That system sounds like it could die at any moment.

Edit: By the way, the MBA has a one-year warranty, so AppleCare should still be free on the 11".


Sounds like the people you were speaking to were new to the job and didn’t really know what they were talking about. None of our macs has ever had more than 4GB RAM. I think my wife’s MacBook has only two and she edits movies on that with iMovie 8+ with no problem. Your 11" MBA can’t be more than 6 months old, so it must be under guarantee.

For it getting hot, I had a problem with my 13" new MBA when it was only about a month old. It was asleep and I put it in the sleeve in my shoulder bag for an hour or so while I went to lunch; when I took it out, it was so hot I could hardly touch it and the fan was going beserk; it seemed dead and wouldn’t restart. I left it out and running till the battery was exhausted, convinced that the mother-board or the SSD must have burnt out, and took it to my dealer-friend (though I hadn’t got it from him, in fact) and he was going to return it to Apple. But I’d only just got back home when he rang me and asked for my password. I couldn’t believe it and shot down to his shop again. He’d connected a charger, left it for 10 minutes or so, and then pressed and held the power-button down for a loooonngg time, he said, and it rebooted, but he couldn’t check it until I logged in to my account. My whole life apart from a morning’s work was in it, and I was worried that I might have lost stuff … but no, everything was there. The saga is in this thread …
I still don’t know why or what happened. I don’t generally run Safari, being an OmniWeb man with Opera as my preferred second string, I tend not to keep things running when I’m not using them as apps start up so quickly on this MBA, but I’ve certainly had Scrivener, GyazMail, OmniWeb, Nisus, Keynote and at time also OmniOutliner or OmniGraffle, plus some basic start-up items all running at the same time with no slow-downs. And this one only has 2GB RAM!!!

I had a problem recently with typing lags, but I’m putting that down to the new version of SpiderOak, as I’m not running that for the moment and the problem has gone away.

Good luck. Maybe for you the problem won’t be as bad as it feels, just as it wasn’t for me. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you.


Yeah…my father-in-law’s and fiance’s macs don’t have more than 4GB of RAM, and my fiance played WoW on his.

The assertions of the Apple Care specialists you talked to were patently absurd. If you didn’t take their names down, do so the next time you talk to someone. I have a ~4 year old macbook pro with 2 Gb of RAM, the latest OS X, and I usually have all of the follow running on my machine: Scrivener, Devonthink Pro, Safari (with at least 5 tabs open… minimum!), Mail, Echofon (twitter client), OmniFocus, and iTunes. In addition, I have a clipboard manager, Chronosync, KeyClick, iSync, DropBox, and a few other login/prefpane items always running.

All of that on 1/2 of the RAM that you have, using a hard drive with moving parts, and a processor that’s 4 years old (presumably less powerful than yours). Can you even get more than 4 gigs of RAM on your 11" macbook Air? I’m pretty sure the answer is “no.” Not enough RAM? NONSENSE.

You are either having an issue with a misbehaving program (you seem to have eliminated that possibility), a corrupt OS file (possible, but not likely), or you have a hardware problem (more likely).

By the way, did they say you would have to pay per incident or something? Usually, you just have to buy the extra Apple Care warranty if you’re outside of the initial free full-support window. I’ve never heard of a per-incident charge from Apple, unless your computer is older than 3 years… and you’d have to have a time machine to talk to us from 2013 about your 3yr old 11" macbook air.

I think it is something like 90 days for free tech support of any kind, including telephone and Genius Bar. After that you are on your own in terms of troubleshooting, but they will cover the cost of equipment failures for up to one year. With AppleCare purchased, the computer will be covered for all replacements and free tech support for three years. In my experience, you can tell if an Apple is going to really be a Lemon within that 90 day window (which is when you need to buy AppleCare within), so it is safe to hold off on buying AppleCare. If the computer has no problems in the first 90 days, you’re probably going to be okay for years. If it has issues, it’s probably going to be a lemon and you’ll either want to pick up AppleCare or try to push for a replacement machine. That all said, do verify this, as the last time I looked up all these numbers was some years ago. I’ve been lucky with my past purchases in that I only had one hard drive go bad, so I’ve not read the fine print in some time.

I second the other reactions to what the tech told you. It’s irresponsible to tell a customer that a computer needs more than 4gb of RAM to run four or five consumer-grade applications. On my MacBook Pro, with 4GB, I regularly run about 15 programs at once, and the only time I need to shut down some of them is when I fire up Parallels (which necessarily takes a huge chunk out of your computer’s main working resources in order to boot another operating system) or use Photoshop & Lightroom together to process high-res photography. 4gb is plenty for even heavy-duty usage.

As I’ve reported in other threads, my MacBook Air actually performs better than my MBP at some tasks. When properly functioning (which yours is not), it’s an extremely swift little computer. You should be in awe of it, not disappointed, unless you are downgrading from an eight-core tower or something.

Sounds like the Apple employee was mistaken. Maybe 4GB of HD space (VM needs some room) but 4GB of Physical RAM is plenty for today’s standards, especially with just word processing and safari. I know many who run apps like Photoshop with only 2GB and they are fine.

Even if there is shared memory for the GPU 2GB should be plenty for every day use. I would look to something else as the culprit.

Thanks everyone- I can’t tell you how grateful I am for all your help, advice and knowledge. Without it I would be convinced by whatever the assistants tell me, which seemingly isn’t a good idea.

The problems are persisting, although the advisor managed to help me restart the computer. Now it runs very hot, and apps quit and launch seemingly at random. At least I have a full backup. The advisor said to email her and they’ll probably take the computer in to check it, so hopefully it’ll get fixed.

Yes, the support is free, but the phone number isn’t and more than two hours of that is still significant money!

I confess I may be a little heavy on the background apps, but I don’t often have more than a few ‘full’ programmes running, so I didn’t really think that 4GB RAM wouldn’t be enough. I’m looking at ways to cut down on the number of apps in the background by combining some functions, but really, I think it should be ok on that front. And the only thing I ever do with video is watch it! I’m not a gamer either, really. The odd few minutes on Oberin is all I do in that line.

I do have the names of the advisors who told me the RAM isn’t enough though, so maybe that will help me in the future

Anyway, I’ll stop rambling, but thank you all so much :slight_smile:

Y’ can’t do that! :open_mouth: We all wanna know what happens. :confused: :question:
Take care Scy :wink: