If your Apple keyboard doesn't work

If the keys on your Apple keyboard aren't working as expected, these steps can 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 that 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 side of the keyboard. The green LED on the upper right side of the keyboard briefly lights up.
  2. Verify that the keyboard is connected by pressing the Caps Lock key. If the keyboard is connected to your system, the Caps Lock light turns on when you press it.
  3. Read about setting up your Apple wireless devices to make sure that the device is set up correctly.
  4. Make sure that 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 by typing in an app like Notes or TextEdit.

If your keyboard doesn't work over Bluetooth after trying these steps, it might 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 mouse, keyboard, printer, scanner, camera, iPod, external hard drive, and hub.
    Some devices, like iPod, might require you to perform steps before it's safe to unplug them.
  2. Plug your keyboard and mouse back into your computer firmly and securely. Make sure that 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 that your Lightning to USB cable is securely connected to the Lightning port on the back edge of the keyboard.
  3. If your keys still don't work, try plugging your keyboard in to the other USB ports. Be sure to try them all. Check to see if the keyboard's Caps Lock light turns on when you press it, and 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 that the cable you're using is the one that came with the keyboard, or is a Lightning to USB cable that you know is in working order. You can try a different Lightning to USB cable to test whether the cable 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, your computer might need service.
  • If your keyboard doesn't work in any of your computer's USB ports, your keyboard might 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 work and others don'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 keep it from being used accidentally. Hold down the key until the Media Eject icon appears on your screen.

Other keys

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

  • In the Accessibility pane, click Speech in the left 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 have to hold down a key longer than usual before it's recognized.
  • 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 that the correct keyboard layout is selected.

You can also see your keyboard's current layout on your Mac's display to make sure that 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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