If your Apple keyboard isn't working

If the keys on your Apple keyboard aren't working as you'd expect them to, these steps may help.

Steps for a wireless keyboard

First, make sure Bluetooth is turned on on your Mac. Then follow these steps on your keyboard:

  1. Make sure your keyboard is turned on. If you have a Magic Keyboard or Magic Keyboard with Numeric Keypad, slide the power switch on the back of the keyboard to turn it on (green is visible when the keyboard is on). If you have an Apple Wireless Keyboard (late 2015 or earlier), press the power button on the right-hand side of the keyboard. The green LED on the upper right-hand side of the keyboard will briefly light up.
  2. Make sure the keyboard is connected by pressing the Caps Lock key. If the keyboard is connected to your system, the Caps Lock light will turn on when you press it.
  3. Read about setting up your Apple wireless devices to make sure the device is set up correctly.
  4. Make sure your keyboard has power. Check the battery level in the Bluetooth menu Bluetooth at the top of your screen. If power is low, recharge your Magic Keyboard or Magic Keyboard with Numeric Keypad, or replace the batteries in your Apple Wireless Keyboard.
  5. Check the keys are working by typing in an app like Notes or TextEdit.

If your keyboard still isn't working via Bluetooth after trying these steps, it may need to be replaced.

Steps for a USB keyboard

First, check your device's USB connection. If the tips on that page don't fix it, try these steps:

  1. Unplug all devices from your computer, including any connected mice, keyboards, printers, scanners, cameras, iPods, external hard drives and hubs.
    Some devices, such as iPod, may require you to perform additional steps before it's safe to unplug them.
  2. Plug your keyboard and mouse back into your computer firmly and securely. Make sure the connector is completely in the port. (USB plugs fit into ports one way only and won't plug in if you try to insert them upside down.)
    If you have a Magic Keyboard or Magic Keyboard with Numeric Keypad, also make sure your Lightning to USB cable is securely connected to the Lightning port on the back edge of the keyboard.
  3. If your keys still aren't working, try plugging your keyboard into other USB ports. Make sure you try them all. Check if the keyboard's Caps Lock light turns on when you press it, then try typing in an app like Notes or TextEdit.
    Magic Keyboard and Magic Keyboard with Numeric Keypad use a Lightning to USB cable. Make sure the cable you're using is the one that came with the keyboard or is a Lightning to USB cable that you know is working correctly. You can try a different Lightning to USB cable to test whether it is the cable that is causing the issue.

Other tips for fixing issues with your USB keyboard:

  • If your keyboard works in one of your USB ports but not all of them, your computer may need servicing.
  • If your keyboard doesn't work in any of your computer's USB ports, your keyboard may need to be replaced.
  • The built-in USB ports on Apple Keyboard with Numeric Keypad won't provide enough power to charge iPad devices. To charge an iPad, plug your charging cable into the power adapter that came with your iPad.

If only some keys on your wireless, USB or built-in keyboard work

If some keys on your keyboard are working and others aren't, try these steps.

Caps Lock key

The Caps Lock key is designed to avoid accidental activation. If the Caps Lock key doesn't turn on with a quick tap, hold the key down for about one second or until the key's green indicator lights up. Do the same to turn off Caps Lock.

Media Eject key

The media eject key  has a slight delay to prevent it from being used accidentally. Hold down the key until the Media Eject icon appears on your screen.

Other keys

You may have set an option that changes how your keyboard operates. Choose Apple () menu > System Preferences, then try these tips:

  • In the Accessibility pane, click Speech on the left-hand side. If "Speak selected text when the key is pressed" is selected, deselect it or click Change Key to select another key.
  • In the Accessibility pane, click Keyboard. Make sure Enable Slow Keys is turned off. If it's on, you will have to hold down a key longer than usual before it's recognised.
  • In the Accessibility pane, click Mouse & Trackpad. Make sure Enable Mouse Keys is off. If it's on, pressing keys in the numeric keypad moves the pointer instead of entering numbers.
  • In the Keyboard pane, click Input Sources. Make sure the correct keyboard layout is selected.

You can also see your keyboard's current layout on your Mac's display to make sure you're using the correct layout: 

  1. In System Preferences, click Keyboard, then select "Show keyboard and emoji viewers in menu bar".
  2. Choose the keyboard icon  in your menu bar, then choose Show Keyboard Viewer. You'll see a graphical representation of your keyboard that highlights the corresponding keys you press on your keyboard.
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