Skip to content

7 Ways to Fix Mac Keyboard Not Working

Are you experiencing glitches when trying to use your Mac keyboard? It is hard to get any work done on your Mac if the keyboard does not work. The good news is that you can solve the problem of the Mac keyboard not working. How to fix it requires little to no technical experience.

A malfunctioning keyboard is the worst thing for anyone with a computer. Mac computers are known for stability and durability. The Mac computer is not immune to malfunctioning hardware, and the keyboard is one of the hardware that can fail to work as expected. This article gives the best solutions to the Mac keyboard not working. How to fix it is easy, and you read the content below to do it yourself.

1. Cleaning dirt and debris from the keyboard

Cleaning dirt and debris from the keyboard

It is easy to troubleshoot dirt and debris issues on your keyboard. Some of the signs to look out for are sticky keys and rigid keys on your keyboard. Sticky keys can result from liquid or sticky fluids seeping in between the keys on your keyboard. You can solve the sticky keys problem by using cotton wool and dipping it in an isopropyl alcohol solution. You can use the wet cotton wool to wipe any sticky residue on your keyboard. Ensure you wring the cotton wool of excess isopropyl alcohol to avoid any liquid draining into the keyboard openings. You can use a blow-drier or vacuum to get any particles stuck between your keys.

2. Trying to update the Mac OS on your computer

Software conflict is another reason for causing a keyboard malfunction on your Mac. The software-related issues require a Mac OS update to fix them. You can follow the steps below to update the operating system on your Mac computer.

Step 1: The first step is to open the System Preferences section on your computer.

Step 2: Click on the Software Update section on your Mac computer.

Step 3: Check if there are any recent update releases for your Mac.

Step 4: Install any recent updates and restart your computer to complete the process.

Step 5: Check if your keyboard is working.

3. Trying deleting the Preferences on your Mac

The Mac OS saves all your settings as a .plist extension file. Deleting the .plist file can help you resolve a keyboard malfunctioning problem on your Mac. Follow the steps below to delete the settings preferences on your computer.

Step 1: Back up all the settings on your computer before deleting the .plist extension files file. You should back up your current settings first because you can revert to the previous settings if the process renders your computer unstable.

Step 2: You can use Finders on your computer to press the Cmd + Shift + G keys.

Step 3: Type the [~/Library/Preferences/] before pressing the Go option.

Step 4: Scroll until you locate a file called [] on your Mac.

Step 5: Delete the [] file before restarting your Mac.

4. Trying to reset the SMC of your MacBook

You can use this method to reset the SMC of your MacBook without the T2 chip. It is a convenient method, and you can do it on your own by following the steps below.

Step 1: The first step is to turn off your MacBook before embarking on the SMC reset procedure.

Step 2: Ensure you press and hold the Ctrl + Shift + Opt keys simultaneously on your keyboard.

Step 3: Keep pressing and holding down the three keys simultaneously while pressing and holding the Power button.

Step 4: Wait for at least 10 seconds before letting go of all four keys on your keyboard.

Step 5: Boot your MacBook and check if the keys on your keyboard are working fine.

Step 6: The Mac Mini and Intel iMac computers have a straightforward method for resetting the SMC without the T2 chip. You can reset the SMC for the two computers by switching them off and unplugging the power cords from the mains for at least 15-20 seconds before reconnecting it back and booting the computers.

5. Trying to check the USB connection for your keyboard

MacBook keyboards

Checking the USB connection for your keyboard is ideal for persons with a Mac computer. Issues like driver conflict can affect the functionality of your keyboard. The easy way to solve such a problem is to ensure no physical damage exists on the USB cord before unplugging and plugging it back again on your computer. You require advanced skills to unplug and plug a MacBook keyboard from the motherboard. Go to a specialized MacBook repair shop to diagnose physical damages on MacBook keyboards.

Method 6. Trying to check the batteries on your keyboard

Trying to check the batteries on your keyboard

This method is ideal for persons using an Apple wireless keyboard on their computer. Depleted batteries on the wireless keyboard can cause the keyboard not to work. Replacing the batteries on the wireless keyboard is one of the solutions to a malfunctioning keyboard. Devices like the Magic keyboard have built-in batteries, and therefore replacing the batteries is not an option. Ensure the built-in batteries are recharged on devices like the Magic keyboard before using them. You could also try to change the charging cord for your magic keyboard or plug the wireless receiver into a different USB port.

Method 7. Replace the keyboard on a computer

Trying to replace the keyboard on your computer

This method should be a last resort if all the above fixes are unsuccessful. The damage to your keyboard can be beyond repair, and replacing the keyboard is the only solution. Replacing the keyboard on a Mac computer is easy because you only need to buy a new keyboard and plug it into your computer. You require technical skills before replacing a keyboard on a MacBook. You can search for the nearest certified Apple dealer on the internet before seeking their professional help to replace a damaged keyboard on a MacBook.


Apple Inc. is the most reliable manufacturer of computer hardware and software parts. You have an 80% chance of fixing your keyboard using the methods above if there is no physical damage to your computer. The solutions listed above are simple and require less than 30 minutes to complete. You can seek professional help if the methods above are challenging to execute.