MacBook keyboard not working? | Ultimate guide


Apple’s MacBook lineup is known for its build quality and reliability and, in most cases, you can say the same about MacBook keyboards. However, in 2016, Apple replaced the proven scissor switches with butterfly-style ones on the MacBook.

With the “butterfly keyboard” there were lots of reports of the keyboard registering double presses or, in the worst cases, not working at all.

If you are facing this issue on your MacBook keyboard then keep reading as we inform you of how to fix it!

What to do when your Macbook keyboard is not working

First we need to identify exactly what we mean by “not working”. Sometimes the keyboard is totally unresponsive, but most times it will be the problems mentioned above – double presses or certain letters not responding.

At HeroTech Support we will help you solve this with our Apple Macbook Keyboard Repair Service.

My MacBook Pro keyboard is registering double presses or some letters are unresponsive

A lot of problems with computers are caused by dust. Dust particles can get under the keys and prevent them working, so the obvious thing to do is to get rid of the dust.

All you need is a small compressed air spray (sometimes called an “air duster”).

Below is the recommended way to do it:

  1. Open your MacBook and angle the keyboard towards you.
  2. Use your compressed air to blow downwards into the top of the keys. You can clean the entire keyboard, or keep it limited to the affected keys.
  3. Tip the keyboard of the MacBook away from you and spray the keyboard again from the bottom of the keys.

For a more detailed description, check out our blog on ‘how to clean MacBook Pro keyboard grease‘.

If you have repeated the action multiple times but your keyboard is still not working, then your butterfly keyboard may be one of the small percentage that Apple has identified as exhibiting the following behaviours:

  • Letters or characters repeat unexpectedly
  • Letters or characters do not appear
  • Key(s) feel “sticky” or do not respond in a consistent manner

These issues are most prevalent in the MacBook, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro models. Apple or an Apple Authorized Service Provider will service eligible MacBook, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro keyboards, free of charge. The type of service will be determined after the keyboard is examined and may involve the replacement of one or more keys or the whole keyboard.

To see if your Mac keyboard qualifies follow this link –

If your keyboard does not qualify, then HeroTech Support can identify the issue and fix your keyboard at a fraction of the cost. We offer FREE pick up, FREE diagnosis and FREE drop off of your Apple Mac at your doorstep. Making your keyboard repair as convenient as possible.

Is there another reason for my Macbook keyboard not working?

It is just possible that your Macbook may be showing a low battery alert that you can’t see. The solution is to connect your Macbook to an electrical outlet or connect an external keyboard to your Mac to see the alert. This is always worth a try before contacting a computer repair company.

How do you fix an unresponsive keyboard on a Mac?

First of all let’s look at the most common problems:

If you have an external keyboard and the keys no longer work

You may find that it is only certain keys on your keyboard that become unresponsive or that the entire keyboard stop working. Depending on your issue, here are our possible solutions:

  • Disconnect and reconnect the keyboard. Make sure the connector is completely inserted into the port.
  • Ok so this one may seem fairly obvious, but if you have a wireless keyboard try replacing the batteries. Simple but often highly effective.
  • Connect your keyboard to a different USB port or to a different Mac. If this solves the problem, your Mac may need to be repaired.
  • Connect a different keyboard to your Mac. If this solves the problem, you may need to take your keyboard in for service.

Contact Hero Tech Support today for Apple repairs across Southampton, the Hampshire region and nationally by courier.

If the Media Eject key or Caps Lock key do not work

These keys are designed to have a slight delay to prevent an immediate response if they’re pressed accidentally. Therefore you should press and hold the Media Eject key until its icon appears on the screen, and press and hold the Caps Lock key until the key’s indicator light comes on. This isn’t a “fault” – it is a deliberate design feature.

If other keys stop working

It is possible that you may have accidentally set an option that changes how your keyboard operates. If this is the case, then we suggest that you do the following:

  • Choose Apple menu  > System Preferences, click Accessibility , click Keyboard, then click Hardware. Make sure “Slow Keys” is turned off. If Slow Keys is on, you must press and hold a key longer than usual before it’s recognised. The Slow Keys feature is designed to help those with poor motor skills.
  • Choose Apple menu > System Preferences, click Accessibility, click Pointer Control, then click Alternative Control Methods. Make sure Mouse Keys is set to off.
  • Choose Apple menu > System Preferences, click Keyboard , then click Input Sources. Select “Show Input menu in menu bar”. Open the Input menu, then make sure the correct keyboard layout is selected.

Fingers crossed your keyboard keys are now operating correctly.

How do I reset my Mac keyboard?

To reset the keyboard to default settings on your Mac computer follow the below instructions:

  1. Click the Apple icon in the upper left corner and then click the System Preferences… option.
  2. Choose Keyboard and then click the Modifier Keys… button
  3. Click Restore Defaults and then click OK

After completing all the steps, your keyboard should be back in its default settings.

How do I unfreeze my Mac keyboard?

Your Apple keyboard is a generally reliable piece of equipment, but any piece of tech hardware can sometimes stop working. If your keyboard freezes, try unplugging it and then plugging it back in.

This, of course is presuming that you do not have a wireless keyboard or bluetooth keyboard – in which case turn the keyboard off and on again. (Yes, we know that every technician you have ever phoned has told you “Turn it off and then back on” but it is surprising how often this solves a problem).

If that fails, it is time to turn your Mac off and back on. In which case press and hold the Power button.

What to do if none of these solutions make my Mac keyboard work?

It is possible that a software issue is causing your keyboard problem. In which case a software update might fix it and solve the problem. To update your software follow this procedure:

1. Open System Preferences
2. Select Software Update

Select Apple Software Update

3. If there are updates available, then go ahead and install them.

I have updated my software and I am still having keyboard issues

The settings necessary to make your Mac run smoothly are stored in files with the .plist extension. Deleting .plist files can help with all sorts of problems as this resets settings that could be the cause.

Before you do delete any .plist files, though, it is essential to backup your computer (using Time machine) in case you run into any issues later.

Carefully follow these instructions:-

  1. From Finder, press Cmd + Shift + G
  2. Type in ~/Library/Preferences/ and click Go

find apple library preferences

3. Find and delete

go to apple library preferences

  1. Restart your Mac

How do I reset my SMC?

SMC stands for System Management Controller. It controls some functions of some Macs, and some of these functions relate to the keyboard. So, if your Mac keyboard has stopped working, it could be a good idea to reset it.

How you do that depends on various criteria, like whether it’s an Intel or M1 Mac, an iMac or MacBook, and whether it has a T2 Security Chip in it or not.

How to reset the SMC for MacBooks with T2 chip:

  1. Turn off your MacBook.
  2. Hold down Ctl + Alt on the left side of your keyboard and Shift on the right side.
  3. Keep them held down for seven seconds, then press and hold the power button too.
  4. After another seven seconds, release all keys.
  5. After a few more seconds, turn your MacBook on again.

How to reset the SMC for MacBooks without the T2 chip:

  1. Turn off your MacBook.
  2. Press and hold Ctrl + Shift + Alt on the left side of your keyboard.
  3. Keeping them held down, press and hold down the power button.
  4. After 10 seconds, release all four keys.
  5. Turn on your MacBook again.

For much older MacBooks, which have removable batteries, get in touch with us.

To reset the SMC in an Intel iMac or Mac Mini, just turn it off, unplug it from the mains for 15 seconds, and then turn it back on again. M1 Macs, meanwhile, don’t use an SMC at all, so there’s nothing to reset.

If you are unsure which computer you have, or feel uneasy about doing this yourself, then HeroTech Support are happy to help.

How can HeroTech Support help when your Macbook keyboard isn’t working?

Hero Tech Support are different to other computer repair companies. They provide a COST-FREE pick up, FREE OF CHARGE diagnosis and FREE drop off at your home. This makes having your computer repaired as convenient as possible.

Hero Tech Support repair and service all makes and models of Apple, PC and laptop computers. If your keyboard isn’t working, you have a busted laptop screen, or your computer is constantly overheating then this is not a problem for us!

If you’ve tried all the above and your Mac keyboard still isn’t working, then HeroTech support can help, contact us today.

Picture of Greg Doulton

Greg Doulton

Greg is an Apple repair specialist and has wealth of knowledge within the industry. Follow the blog for more news and tips.

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