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Laptops suffer battery, keyboard issues with Leopard

updated 03:15 pm EST, Wed November 21, 2007

Leopard battery, keyboard

Apple's release of Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard appears to have brought with it battery drain and intermittent keyboard freezing issues, which are plaguing some MacBook and MacBook Pro owners. Numerous posts in Apple's support forums for both notebooks detail an issue that essentially shuts down the keyboard at random intervals, and affected owners report having to restart or wake their systems if the problem doesn't resolve itself in good time. Trackpads and external keyboards still function normally, however, as noted by AppleInsider.

Users attempting to correct the problem have gone so far as to reset the affected notebook's PRAM (Parameter Random Access Memory) to no avail. Users also say they are still experiencing the problem on freshly-installed Macs, which effectively rules out third-party software as the culprit.

The frozen keyboard issue appears to afflict Apple-branded Intel-based notebook of all ages, with freezes beginning immediately for some or become more frequent over time. The issue persists through Apple's latest Mac OS X 10.5.1 update, and users report experiencing no problems when running Tiger for months prior to their latest upgrade.

Some users suggest that force-quitting Finder temporarily re-activates the keyboard, and one forum poster said he noticed his internal keyboard disappearing from the USB device list in Apple's System Profiler utility whenever the input device was unresponsive.

Battery life issues tied to Leopard release?

There appears to be no quick solution, however, for users encountering shortened battery life on MacBooks converted to Leopard. Some users are reporting on Apple's forums that where Tiger allowed a normal three hours or so of notebook use, they are now down to two or less. "My laptop has become unportable," says a poster in one thread.

Apple does not yet have an official solution for the problem, and has not replied to complaints. It has been suggested by users that the problem may be attributable to taxing new features in Leopard, particularly its enhanced graphical interface. A solution claimed by one user is unrelated, though, and involves fully draining and recharging a battery, and then repeating the process. Many users further say that the draining technique has not worked for them.

by MacNN Staff





  1. JacquesDav

    Joined: Dec 1969



    About the "GET IT?!?" inset photo... come on guys, you're better than that.

  1. shawnce

    Joined: Dec 1969


    if you have sidetrack...

    Folks using sidetrack have seen this type of issue.

  1. boazh

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Force Quit?

    How do you force quit if your keyboard does not work? I had the freezing keyboard issue happening to me several times since I upgraded to Leopard (I use MBP 2.33 late 2006) I wish that was the only Airport goes down seveal times a day, I was hoping that 10.5.1 update will fix it but it didn't for me... gonna use this holiday weekend to reinstall Tiger.

  1. eldarkus

    Joined: Dec 1969


    re: Force Quit

    Umm.. Apple Menu -> Force Quit?? Just a thought :)

  1. thedude

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Happened in Tiger Too

    I have a 1.66 Mini with 2 gigs of ram and an apple keyboard and I have this problem all the time. The easiest solution for me is just unplug and plug the usb back in this seems to fix the problem until the next freeze. I have also noticed that this happens more when I have been using parallels. I have also noticed that Parallels likes to keep control of everything USB even when I close the program. It is very odd the way the whole thing works. I would not say this happens more now that I am running Leopard. But it does happen more than I like. If this was a laptop this could potentially be really bad. What's interesting is that my Powerbook has had 0 issues with the freezing keyboard, so I don't think this problem is affecting PPC as much as Intel.

  1. boomer0127

    Joined: Dec 1969


    trackpads affected too

    If you search for Trackpad in the using leopard discussions, there are many instances of trackpads becoming useless, jagging around the screen after waking from sleep. 10.5.1 did not fix the problem for me, but it may have lowered the frequency of it rearing its ugly head. I have the trackpad jumpiness now, keyboard works fine. In fact, on my MBP, I have only noticed the keyboard issue once. It takes a long time to wake from sleep when this is going to happen, and it also results in quicktime movies and DVD playback stuttering immensely. At times, the trackpad is so jumpy that it is rendered useless.

  1. igroucho

    Joined: Dec 1969


    not only macbooks

    also Powerbooks. It drains my PB G4 in less than 30 minutes. Not only that but it shuts down after seconds of sleep and shuts off PRAM current so it looses PRAM settings. After startup I have to enter PW to my home AP network, it evidently wont recognize Keychain data! The battery-indicator is wacko so after 5 minutes attached to the power adapter it shows 99% charging!!! BAD!!!

  1. Guest

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Not Here

    On my 17" MBP, there has been no issues as mentioned. I also have no systems hacks or anything funny installed on my system. I use the computer pretty often and I do lots of work on it as well as carry it in my car. It goes through recharges about once a day from about 4hours of use.


  1. jpellino

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I thought I was dreaming.

    My iBook G4 (final model) has suddenly gone from 3.5 hours to less than 2 hours on a full charge from a standard charger.

  1. JEB

    Joined: Dec 1969


    iBook G4

    My iBook G4 spins down also in about 30 min -- I remember this when Tiger came out on a G3 iBook . . . hrmmmm

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