Hello, this is Jan Lehnardt and you're visiting my blog. Thanks for stopping by.
plok — It reads like a blog, but it sounds harder!
[Update 2020-03-06: Released Keyboard Cleaner 64 bit, Notarized for Catalina.
[Update 2018-08-02: Released Keyboard Cleaner 64 bit, compatible with future versions of Mac OS X.
[Update 2011-07-01: Submitted Keyboard Cleaner to the Mac App Store, pending review (we got declined, boo!).
[Update 2008-06-07: Updated FaQ about non-black Screen.
[Update 2007-11-02: Keyboard Cleaner works on MacOS X 10.5 Leopard.]
[Update 2006-12-30: Added Macworld Info and a Donation Button.]
[Update 2006-12-30: Added a small FaQ based on feedback.]
I created Keyboard Cleaner. It comes in handy when you want to clean your keyboard, but you are afraid you might trigger a command or change or delete some of your current work beyond repair and undo. Of course you could save and close everything. Sometimes however, it is just not what you want.
Enter Keyboard Cleaner. It shields your desktop and intercepts every keystroke you might accidentally make — except for Command-Q.
Needless to say that this was an educational project for me. While trying to create something like Visor for iTerm about a year ago I needed to figure out how to make a fading window without delving into Quarz Graphics too deeply.
Q: What the…? Just unplug your keyboard and be done with it, jerk.
A: Yeah, I tried that with my trusty 12” PowerBook, but launching Keyboard Cleaner is easier than getting off F2 and F11 and unscrewing those screwy screws.
Q: So sad that you can’t turn off your Mac once in a while.
A: Sometimes you are just in the middle of something and don’t have the patience to close all them applications. Still, this nasty [something] needs to get off your keyboard now.
Q: My cat walks over my keyboard when I leave the room. Can I use Keyboard Cleaner to secure my work from being juggled randomly without actually cleaning the keyboard?
A: Sure thing, Keyboard Cleaner was built with cat-friendlyness in mind. But remember what you could miss.
Q: Can you make it that Keyboard Cleaner doesn’t black out the screen so I can still see what is going on but the Keyboard is disabled?
Hey, no. At least not so easy. I can remove the black shield, but then you’d see a frozen image of your desktop at the moment you launched Keyboard Cleaner. Not too useful. I’ll try to come up with other ways, until then, sorry :-)
This rules! It’s nice not to have to shutdown to clean the keyboard, and might mouse. Great idea, great little app.
Why not just rip it out of the laptop you can’t unplug it from?…
I can’t unplug my keyboard on my laptop. I’m using this so that my 14 month old can watch National Geographic slideshows and what not without totally resetting all of my computers settings. It’s really amazing what she’s managed to do in a matter of seconds with random strokes of the keys!! Thank you!
I used to bring the laptop to sleep and take out the battery. Once powerless it could be cleaned ;)
Of course safe sleep helps.
thank you. really. thank you very much. i’m both a 12” powerbook and cat owner and this made my day.
how can you disable the keyboard without admin privileges? do you modifie the com.apple.systemprefernces.plist? or you create a "fake" keyboard layout? any advices are really appreciate. thanks in advance.
It’s nothing that fancy. Have a look into the Apple Docs. It is usually used for fullscreen applications such as games.
Is there any way to create a script that will just disable a PowerBook’s built-in keyboard? I have a ‘Book with a broken keyboard - everything else works fine - but the keyboard has a broken repetitive key that keeps it from working. If I could just disable the built-in keyboard, it’d be a working computer again… Keyboard Cleaner almost does what I need, but not quite! Any thoughts?
If you’ve got itunes going while you’re cleaning and you hit the f4 and f5 (volume on MacBook) the sound changes. Just letting you know, this function of the keyboard is retained.
Wow, useless in my opinion, but REALLY stupid when it comes with a donation button.
Seriously Jan, I’m putting you on notice (Colbert style).
You are not allowed to use any open-source/freeware software (unless you donate to it).
You see you benefit from hundreds of hours of development on REAL software, and you have the gall to put a donation button on this insignificant crap?
Seriously? Chill. Breathe. Get a butt plug and put it in your mouth. A donation is voluntary. You don’t have to if you don’t wish to.
Also, this software is as real as anything out there. Just because you find it useless, does not mean it is to everybody else. You are not the world’s software editor.
Don’t be rude. Opinions can be expressed without coming across as an imbecile. And expect to be spoken to as one if you act like one.
Ps: Keep developing, Jan. I’m sure you’ll create more "useless" software that people will be overjoyed to have.
If Jan can’t take some brutal criticism, he should disable the comments section… or should we all just leave puffy smurf inspired love rants to each other? You are aware this is the internet?
ewwww! butt plugs taste nasty! Maybe I should have washed it first?
Jan, dahling, apologies if I hurt your feelings. Though I don’t expect your skin is that thin.
On a Macbook, Cmd+space which is mapped to Quicksilver causes a warning ding. The function keys also cause a ding. One nice feature is that the screen dimming keys still work, turning off the display causes a deeper black than a black screen so makes cleaning the display easier.
This is an awesome little app! Comes really useful during cleaning which I do alot since I’m OCD.
Quite the neatest thing ever! Keep up the good work! I’ll help spread the word to fellow macusers!
Really good - I love it! For the next version: The eject button still works for the CD drive - but just once ;)
>Yes I’m also looking for a program like Keyboard Cleaner, but without making the screen black. Would be really great if you add that option
!! I would like to second/third that - then rename the app "Tot Lock" - I can’t have an iChat conversation on my laptop w/o my 15 month doing everything in his power to bang the keyboard and close the connection. If the keyboard could be locked, but not touching any applications (like ichat), this would be a connection saver! I will pay in advance for this … !!
I agree. The reason I need an app to disable my keyboard, but still be able to see the screen and continue working with my mouse, is for baby-sitting my 1-yr-old daughter. I want to let her play or watch movies on my MBP, but she keeps pressing the keyboard and everything goes boggle.
great, almost what i need…any progress on not blacking out the screen (iChat) while the keyboard is locked?? that would be great. my 22 mo old grandson is my culprit!
BTW, the spam string did not appear until i submitted without it and the screen refreshed. got broken image icons first time.
Another potential use for this:
— when you want to read a webpage and take notes on a notebook — on your keyboard… it tends to hit keys.
It would be nice if your screen didn’t black out. That way I could still use my keyboard as a desk.. and read the screen.
Yes I’m also looking for a program like Keyboard Cleaner, but without making the screen black. Would be really great if you add that option
I love this cute app!! The "shields" is so COOL!
Could you make keyboard cleaner little change and let it become a "screen lock app" with password protection ?? :)
You said what I was going to. This has all the potential of the much missed quick-key-cut to screen lock with password.
i used the app and now many of my keys are swithed around and type our different letters and numbers every time I press them. any suggestions about how to fix this?
Justin, this has nothing to do with Keyboard Cleaner as it doesn’t actually do anything to your keyboard settings. What I guess you did, while cleaning, is hitting the key-combo of "change my keyboard layout". Mine is cmd-alt-space. If you have a flag in your menu bar, click on it and select the one you actually want. If not, go to System Preferences -> International and set your preferred language and see Input Menu for how to change the keyboard layout with a shortcut. It is not possible to intercept all keyboard input and Keyboard Cleaner does what it can. Sorry for your inconvenience.
Keyboard Cleaner is very usefull program. It’s works with some troubles, but they are not very big
Sure think, it was made on and for Tiger. It just happens to work on Leopard, too
Quick question for you (great app by the way):
Is there an option to be able to keep working on your computer, moving the mouse etc., but still have the keyboard disabled?
If not, is there another app I could get that will do this?
Hi Jan, great little app, thanks. My kitten is my culprit… she bounces around on the keyboard finding weird keyboard combinations which even I can’t find… invariably which do something annoying!
This app isn’t quite what I am looking for though, as I want to watch video (my MacBook plugged into my TV is my digital TV / DVD player / downloaded video player) but have the keyboard locked against the offending kitten.
The screen blackout prevents this - is there any way of preventing it? I wondered if it would work anyway as I watch video on my TV on a separate screen, but it freezes the second screen.
Still useful while playing music tho :-) Thanks!
I just go to the login screen or turn on screen saver such that it requires the user to enter his or her password to resume.
i read about this once and i thought "hey it sounds useful, but maybe i won’t have to use it" and that was a while ago.
suddenly this morning i felt like to cleanup the keyboard. that’s when i ran around the net just to find your app.
cordially i thank you for made my day :] thanks a bunch
LOVE IT…JUST WHAT I NEEDED! darn macbook keyboard is always dirty…thank you
One of those little gems of life where, when you need it, you really need it! Thanks!
Keyboard Cleaning, I often use a old toothbrush but I have a Logitech Keyboard and I probably will have to unscrew the back of the board to really do a REAAL cleaning but HEY Thanks for the dialogue.
i’ve got the same problem with my kitten, a combination of curiosity and jealousy it seems since she especially loves to pounce on the keyboard right when i’m in the midst of giving it my full attention. would love to be able to lock the keyboard while still watching video or doing research online prior to writing a paper, etc. I would gladly donate to someone addressing this oversight on the part of mac developers. ditto on the using the keyboard as a desk while taking notes comment, as well.
Thanks very much… I have the new aluminium macbook with black keys so your little app comes in mighty handy.
awesome! another thing I love about my mac if you want to find a program that you always had in mind you just have to go out there and find it! in you COMMUNITY!
thats so awesome! apple to the world! xx
thanks alot buddy! ;)
Thanks a lot! you created a very nice programm. I were looking for such a long time. I use it in the office when de cleaninglady cleans my desk. Now i don’t have to save multiple documents first.
..but i discovered a bug, It seems i’m still able to hit the volume up/down, mute and Cd Eject buttons while running kc.
i’m looking forward to new versions! good luck
I love this app. It became one of my favorite usb-stick-apps. I seem to think of cleaning my keyboard exactly when I have tons of different apps open so this comes very handy.
Unplugging the keyboard doesn’t do the trick, I am on white Macbooks only…
Keep up the good work.
My unibody macbook is a total dust magnet, so this little app is great. I rarely shut it down however in needs dusting usually once a day, just be sure if useing a moist cloth, it is barely moist at all/virtually dry! TYVM for this
The black is good, don’t change it. It helps me see what crap I need to clean off my screen.
Hello, I am totally a rookie with Mac computers, as I use to go with Windows. However, I have downloaded this app several times, and I cannot find it for the life of me! Clicking into "documents and downloads" did not work… I am still unable to get it started! GRRRR! LOL! Not to forget to mention, I may have downloaded the app more than several times arrrggh! What can I do to wipe out my recent downloads and start again? How do you find this app once downloaded? I own a regular white Macbook 13.3
Thank you for your time and patients in answering 21 questions!
use Spotlight! :) You should have a loupe symbol on the top right corner of your screen. Click on it and it will reveal a text field. Type KeyboardCleaner and it should take a second or three before the several Downloads show up.
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Unfortunately on my keyboard it doesnt disable space-power keys combination so, it is not good for cat or child protection. I couldnt find where to change this combination or disable power button, but this combination is forced-restart so, my machine just reboots when it pressed.
great app design, so small + simple! i’d love to be able to use it as a rudimentary lock app though, having the instructions to quit it on the black screen really stifles it’s potential in this area, is there a way to change the black screen to be just plain?
Thanks for the excellent utility, now I have white keys again on my MacBook whitout having to shut it down or tolerate random stuff happening on my screen.
Jan, I came upon this page while browsing, and I have no real use for your app, but I love the creativity that you and other people show in making things like this. And I might not need it, but obviously lots of other people do. But I read all these comments with a mix of mirth and disgust (more mirth, actually). You should be commended for both your creativity and willingness to make this free. So cheers to you, no matter what the "haters" say, who really should have better things to do (ah, but then we wouldn’t get to read their "interesting" comments).
I’ve been looking for something like this!! Thanks, this is so useful.
This would just be absolutely perfect if we could: 1. Choose the text that’s on the black shield 2. Define ourselves the shortcut to return to our screen
Really !!!! That would be the best app ever !! I’m really looking for something like that. If by any chance one day you have this update, please please please inform me !! :-))
Take care ++
Great app! Perfect when there’s a one-year-old in the house!
Hey, I’ve got a problem, all f-buttons are still working. is there any way to fix that? but still, thanks for the nice app!
I just installed this on my new MacBook Pro running LION and having the glossy screen. I like the black screen so I can see to clean it. The glossy screen builds up lots of marks and it is hard to see to clean when the computer is on and I forget to do it when it is off.
It works great.
Fantastic App and Brilliant Idea! So many times my MacBook Pro needs a cleaning, and I’m in the middle of a development project. The last thing I want to do is close everything and shut down. Now there’s a solution. Thank you!
Hi Jan - I just had a problems with this utility for the second time. In between keyboard cleanings I forget what keystroke I have to use in order to get the black curtain up, when finished. So I have to turn off my iMac.
is it Command+Q ?