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5 Ways to fix ‘MacBook keyboard is not working’ issue

A malfunctioning Mac keyboard can be very frustrating. And even if you have an external keyboard handy, your usual workflow can be thrown off-kilter.

But don’t worry, if your MacBook Pro or MacBook Air keyboard is not working, you’ve come to the right place. Here are some of the best possible solutions.

Why is my MacBook keyboard not working?

Macs are usually smooth-running machines. However, software and hardware-related issues can definitely arise during use. There are chances that a bug is causing the issue or some setting has been mistakenly altered.

And if you’re using a MacBook with a Butterfly keyboard, it might be that dust or dirt particles are hampering the keys’ travel path. We’ve gathered the most common root causes of the issue and their possible solutions, so let’s get to it.

What to do if your Macbook keyboard is not working

  1. Reboot the MacBook
  2. Clean the keyboard
  3. Check for macOS Updates
  4. Reset PRAM and SMC on your MacBook
  5. Delete recent apps from your MacBook

1. Reboot the MacBook

It might sound too basic, but we often undermine the importance of a fresh start. The culprit might be some software settings or over-heating, especially if the device has been running non-stop for a while.

Restarting your Macbook will reset several settings and resolve the issue at hand without much hassle.

2. Clean the Keyboard

As mentioned earlier, dust particles in the keyboard may cause such problems with your MacBook Air or MacBook Pro. Apple suggests cleaning your keyboard with compressed air.

  1. Tilt your Mac at a 75-degree angle, so it’s not vertical.Hold Macbook at 75 Degree
  2. Now, use a compressed air spray over half the keyboard or the affected keys in a left-to-right motion.Use Compressed Air Spray Over Half Keyboard of Macbook in Left to Right Motion
  3. Rotate the Mac and repeat the process on the remaining half maintaining the left-to-right motion.Rotate Mac and Repeat the Process on Remaining Part of Keyboard

Repeat the process for a more thorough cleaning, but remember to use compressed air along with a straw to limit the airflow.

Note: This is a slightly risky procedure as excess airflow can further damage the keyboard. So, employ this method if you’re sure about your cleaning skills or get it done by a professional.

3. Check for macOS Updates

Whether the Macbook’s keyboard or trackpad isn’t working, updating macOS is amongst the oldest and most common troubleshooting tips. But it works like a charm, so go ahead and give it a try.

To update your macOS, head over to System Preferences, and navigate to the Software Update section.

Click on Software Update in System Preferences on Mac

If an update is available, click on Upgrade Now to initiate the OS update.

Click on Update Now to Update Software on Mac

4. Reset PRAM and SMC on your MacBook

PRAM (Parameter Random Access Memory) stores core values and SMC (System Management Controller) takes care of your CPU fan and lighting. Resetting them could resolve the issue

Remember to reset both as just resetting SMC alone won’t work. If you’re not sure how to do so, check out our detailed step-by-step guide for help and check out why it’s important to reset SMC on your Mac.

Note: Before you reset the PRAM and SMC, make sure to take proper backup. Also, no other external device should be connected to the Mac while you perform the process.

5. Delete recent apps from your MacBook

While not often, a recently installed or updated app could be causing the glitch. This may happen if the latest version is unstable, so you’ll have to remove the app to bring back the keyboards’ functionality.

Check which apps have been installed or updated recently

  1. Select the Apple icon from Menu Bar and click About This Mac.
    Click on Apple Logo and Then Select About This Mac
  2. In the Overview tab, click System Report.
    Select Overview Tab and Then Click on System Report on Mac
  3. From the sidebar, find and go to Installations under Software.
    Click on Installation to Check Recently Updated Apps

Here, you will find the entire list of all software installed on your MacBook with their respective installation/update date. Now that you may have found your culprit, let’s get to the next step.

Remove the App from your Mac

  1. Launch Finder and click on the Applications options from the Side Bar.
  2. Find the app and drag it to the Bin.
    Select Applications Folder from Sidebar and Drag App to Bin on Mac
  3. Now, Empty Bin to permanently delete the application from your Mac.
    Click Empty Bin on Mac

MacBook Keyboard Fixed!

If the keyboard of your Macbook Air or Pro still isn’t working or the problem recurs, get it checked by a professional or Apple Support. I hope the issue is resolved ASAP and your Mac is back to its former glory as soon as possible.

Here are some more tricks to make the most of your MacBook:

  • Arshmeet

    A self-professed Geek who loves to explore all things Apple. I thoroughly enjoy discovering new hacks, troubleshooting issues, and finding and reviewing the best products and apps currently available. My expertise also includes curating opinionated and honest editorials. If not this, you might find me surfing the web or listening to audiobooks.

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