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Why is my keyboard/trackpad not working?

I bought my Macbook Air in September of 2011 new from the Apple store. My trackpad was replaced by Apple in September of 2012 as it gradually began to become unresponsive. Since the repair, I haven't experienced any other problems. The unresponsive trackpad was the only problem I've run into with this Mac.

After some brief surfing around this morning, I went to work with my MacBook running fine as usual. After coming home, my keyboard and trackpad are both unresponsive. What's a bit more unsettling is that, in the System Preferences, it's not even recognizing a trackpad as being connected.

After doing some searching around, I've found that some people ran into this issue with MacBook Pros, and it was because of a ribbon that had become loose underneath the battery. I'm wondering if it's possibly the same problem for me with my MacBook Air. I hadn't read about anyone with an Air experiencing the same problem.

Any help would be appreciated.I would love to get my Air working so I don't have to constantly use my external keyboard/mouse.


Edit: The only key that works on the keyboard is the power button.

Answered! View the answer I have this problem too

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having the same problem but the USB is not working also, try almost every still nothing cant log in can move the mouse or use the keyboard and USB unrsponsive


I have the same problem but when I put in a usb flash drive I see the light blink but when I connect a keyboard or mouse it doesn't recognize the connection. Please help me. The only button working on mine is the power button.


hi maybe you can change the keyboard in the settings -> keyboard -> input sources ... and the you can choose another keyboard setting for example german keyboards and so on, maybe it is functioning and then you undo it.



I am completely stuck. I have a macbook and first, out of the blue, the sound stopped working, 5min later the keyboard was not responding anymore. Now i can't click on anything and everytime i try to relaunch the laptop; there's a dropbox window which opens which means anything i attempt (if it ever works) impacts only the dropbox window. When i click 5 times on the option key it does not do anything. What do i do??? Also note i am a total ignorant as far as laptops go so talk to me in intelligible language please!!!!!! Thank you!!!


Emma - For future reference you posted a Question in the place where only Answers belong. For more prompt answers to your unique problem create your own original question.'' Remember to include any pertinent background such as the age and OS, detials about what happened before the sound stopped working - physical events, like dropping, squeezing, wetting as well as any updates, new software/peripherals added. (Of course you've read the other answers here and know about using a USB (doesn't have to be Apple) or Bluetooth keyboard for inputs.


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Sounds like you're on the right track. Though usually it would take a fall or rather hard jarring of the laptop to dislodge that cable (it should be locked down).

Another possible cause is battery swelling. If the charge is not holding, or if there's strange/unusual charging behavior, the battery could be the cause.

If this Answer is helpful please remember to return and mark it Accepted.

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There has been no unusual battery behavior. As far as a ribbon becoming loose, the laptop was sitting on my desk all day. Also I wasn't 100% on if the air had a similar ribbon setup as the pro that people were having the problem with.


I have this issue but with battery swelling, replaced the keyboard though and the cables seem snug and still no connection, any idea?


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Most Helpful Answer

For me it worked with a simple SMC reset whilst the machine was turned on:


This restarted my Mid-2012 15" MacBook Pro, and when it had booted the mouse and trackpad worked fine. There was absolutely no rhyme or reason why it stopped in the first place; I was literally just in the middle of typing a se

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Thank you!!!!! You just saved my life!!! I'm working on my bachelor thesis and I almost got a heart attack when my keypad and trackpad stopped working. After your help it's finally working :) Thanks a lot!!!!!


Worked like a charm!


Thnax worked for me


Amazing! worked on my macbook air!


That worked fine but why this problem is appeared?


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HERE IS THE FIX!!! Macbook Air 13 Frozen keyboard and track pad

My mothers MBA 13 suddenly became unresponsive with both the Track Pad and Keyboard. I could get them to work momentarily after a SMC Reset. Then flashing the PRAM made it a bit the degree of a less than a minute. Obviously not acceptable! The best tools for the whole job were a wired external keyboard and a USB wired or wireless mouse, because they allowed me repair to orchestrate the process without freezing. Mostly it allowed me to narrow down the problem and the capability of troubleshooting it.

A side note is that this whole problem seemed to clearly be that the MBA was thinking it had Blue Tooth keyboard and trackpad peripherals nearby. It's never even been near one in it's life. When I'd look at Track Pad in preferences, the on board settings were gone and replaced with the Blue Tooth trackpad hunting window. This was also the case for the keyboard. I used my wireless BT Apple keyboard to see if it would even see it. NOPE. That's when I knew something was up. Usually I try everything before performing a restore but nothing would clean it...not even a Restore! But an upgrade and Presto!

After all I went through I would recommend a possible fix that could save you lots of time. It's the reverse engineering of my fix. I didn't try it because the machine is working perfectly after all I did. JUST TRY THE Mountain Lion Upgrade. There's nothing to lose if it works and the process below will likely work if it does not. Personally I think Apple is avoiding admitting to a fix due to a Mud on the Face reaction. I was furious that a 1.5 year old MBA in perfect condition came up with a false repair that cost more than it did! Shame on APPLE for not addressing this properly!!! The fix was clearly built into ML 8.5 and they have not told us! Everybody should get a free ML 8.5 upgrade!

NOTE: The Power key actually should be working when none else do. This allows you to run the SMC and PRAM functions. Details for doing so below.

Here we go.....

First off...obviously back up all your important files externally using the functionality allowed by the connected keyboard and mouse.


1. Using external keyboard and mouse, run a full OS restore. (This was LION 7.5)

2. After doing so I still found the same glitch. I then figured the last option was to update to Mountain Lion 8.5. It's only 19.95, and I did it as a last resort instead of throwing it out, as I had seen many comments regarding a $1300 repair for the same exact symptoms.

3. After running the full update she now has her wonderful baby back and it's even running faster.

So Apple owes me a couple six packs of beer after making me pay them 20 bucks to fix their fault. Not holding my breath!

I don't believe for one second that it's a hardware issue as APPLE has told so many. Personally I think it's a firmware glitch somewhere on that particular hardware that is referred to as the Top Case. If it were a hardware issue I would presume that SMC resets and flashing the PRAM would have ZERO results, as opposed to working for ten to twenty seconds.

Glad I know the fix so when mine packs up I won't be so terrified! Her's came VERY close to finding the recycling bin.


Darn lucky they don't sell cars!!! RECALL?'''



Note: Portable computers that have a battery you should not remove on your own include MacBook Pro (Early 2009) and later, all models of MacBook Air, and MacBook (Late 2009).

Shut down the computer.

Plug in the MagSafe power adapter to a power source, connecting it to the Mac if its not already connected.

On the built-in keyboard, press the (left side) Shift-Control-Option keys and the power button at the same time.

Release all the keys and the power button at the same time.

Press the power button to turn on the computer.

Note: The LED on the MagSafe power adapter may change states or temporarily turn off when you reset the SMC.


Resetting NVRAM / PRAM

Shut down your Mac.

Locate the following keys on the keyboard: Command (⌘), Option, P, and R. You will need to hold these keys down simultaneously in step 4.

Turn on the computer.

Press and hold the Command-Option-P-R keys before the gray screen appears.

Hold the keys down until the computer restarts and you hear the startup sound for the second time.

Release the keys.

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Thanks a lot! Upgrading the OS X helped. :)


You are the best thank you so so much. I can't express how freaking frustrated I was trying to type ASDF and thanks to these instructions it worked xoxo thank you!!!


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Keyboard and trackpad not working.. Macbook Air.. FIXED :-)

I've had the same problem on and off for years even through several system upgrades. About three days ago my keyboard and trackpad were not working and I could not restore them. After trying everything I could read about it I still had the problem. . . Then finally I found out my problem.

I had access to the MBA via an external keyboard and mouse. Same problem as above. My trackpad preferences did not see my onboard trackpad. Only a spinning wheel.

FIX.. Turn off bluetooth.

My MBA was close to my iMac. Both machines had bluetooth on. My iMac preferences showed my MBA and was trying to share it. I think it had the monitor. I had two monitors showing in my upper menu. As soon as I turned off bluetooth on my iMac my MBA came back to me. Totally fine. I assume I could have turned off bluetooth on the MBA and it would have resolved the problem also.

I imagine that if I took the MBA for a walk away from my iMac the problem would have gone away also. The MBA was waiting for the iMac to take over.

I was ready to take my MBA apart to look inside..

All is well now.. Ken E

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I had the problem at home with MBA. Took to seller and everything worked perfectly. Came back home and problem continued. Turned off Bluetooth as you suggested, and now, all is well. Difficult to believe one has to go on an online search to find independent answers to Apple's shortcomings. Makes the idea of Apple customer service laughable.



what is MBA?


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So after I tried everything on this page with the PRAM reset and SMC reset for at least 2 hours I eventually gave up and just decided to unplug all the cables from my macbook air and replug them back in to see if it'll work (Just in case), and guess what?! Everything's working now! Holy c***!!! I don't know if anyone will want to give it a try, but I was so done with it and frustrated after I unplugged the cables on the back of the macbook, I wasn't expecting it to work anyway and screwed everything back in and tried turning it on and moved my finger on the touchpad and it all worked! I also unplugged the motherboard, blew on it a couple of times to make sure no dust got caught....I don't know what fixed it. But all that unplugging somehow worked.

*Edit: The charger wasn't plugged in, so the macbook was completely turned off.

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Thank it helps so much .but adter some time the keys doesn't work again


that is called extended SMC

when the charger light becomes green unplug the charger ASAP. before it becomes red again


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Ok Guys. Here is what I did.

Whenever it worked I configured a fixed ip based wireless connections to only a set or wireless SSIDs that I use. I bought a $20 power bank wireless router to ensure I can carry that small thing around with my MBA. Then I enabled remote access to the machine. System Preferences -> Sharing -> Remote Login and also Remote management. I allowed access only to one id on the machine. In the remote management I also allowed machines to connect using VNC.

Now I have access to the machine even if it freezes. I then gave the machine to a freelance apple repairer who was able to resolve the hardware issue by removing the board and removing the short on the board that was causing the whole thing in the first place.

That has now resolved the process and along with my iPad that I carry with my MBA at all times, I know have a means to get to the machine in case it stalls.

Check it out!

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While restarting, hold down the 'D' key to enter Apple Diagnostics. Your keyboard and mouse should work after this.

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Keyboard and trackpad not working.. Macbook Air.. FIXED :-)

I have had this same problem occasionally, but I do believe that most of the posts in this forum are basically the same problem for the most part, that show up in various degrees of seriousness depending on the each machines' individual situation. Which is why different fixes work for different peoples machines.

I would like to say thank you to all the contributors to this forum, because using most of the tips has helped me to solve my machines problem. (At least for now) ;-)

Sequence of events that happened in the situation with my machine:

Machine is the first version of MacBook Air from 2008.

Processor 1.6 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo

Software Mac OS X Lion 10.7.5 (11G63)

Model Identifier: MacBookAir1,1

1) Had no problems at all until the original Factory installed apple battery

decided to expand and swell the housing of the keyboard and trackpad.

(But the machine is 8 years old. Not sure this is an excuse though.)

2) On occasion, where the said problem, my keyboard and trackpad both

become unresponsive. I just looked inside the case and ensure that all ribbon

cables with a connector on the end were pushed secure.

And Voila, when rebooted the machine booted ok, and the keyboard worked for

sometime. (Note: there were no messages relayed on the screen at this time

regarding bluetooth)

3) On a different occasion, the same problem occurred, but this time a message

came on the machine while booting that mentioned a bluetooth keyboard and

mouse, which i never had connected at all. (note: Somebody else mentioned

that in the System Preferences, it's not even recognizing a trackpad as being

connected and thinks there is a bluetooth keyboard trying to connect. (I believe

that this behaviour is a symptom of the issue) The only button that worked on

the computer was the power button.

4) As an engineer myself, i have seen all kinds of issues with computers which

don't appear to be logical when trying to fault find.

Now, after it happened the second time, rebooting and pushing cable

connectors didn't work.

So I decided I needed to figure out whether the issue was a hardware problem

or a software problem. So i decided to checkout some of the tips from this


5) Decided to Reset the PRAM

a] Resetting NVRAM / PRAM

I) Shut down your Mac.

II) Locate the following keys on the keyboard: Command (⌘), Option, P, and R. You will need to hold these keys down simultaneously in step 4.

III)Turn on the computer.

IV)Press and hold the Command-Option-P-R keys before the grey screen appears. Hold the keys down until the computer restarts and you hear the startup sound for the second time.

V) Release the keys.

b] Also performed an SMC reset whilst booting the machine:


c] Turned Bluetooth off. ( I thought this might be related to the bluetooth message that comes up while booting)

d) Remove all EXTERNAL cables from machine and reboot

6) NONE of the above in step 5 worked, but i understand why they might work for others.

Note: While going thru all this testing, I realized that rather than wait for machine to boot up to check whether the keyboard and mouse will work, all you need to do is PRESS the CAPS LOCK button, as the green light won't come on if the keyboard is NOT CONNECTED/WORKING.

I still let it boot up, but this indicator was apparent.

7) So now I am thinking that this is a hardware problem, that in effect also shows up as a software problem. i.e.: If the ribbon cable or a short circuit/open circuit in any of the wiring or circuitry is apparent, then this will affect the way the motherboard/bus and software interact.

(This is why I believe the whole bluetooth message shows up while booting)

8) I ran diagnostics. Hold down 'D' on keyboard before grey screen shows up. (Not sure which versions of Mac OS this still works on, but it worked on mine. Mac OS X Lion 10.7.5 (11G63). The diagnostics came up with an issue.

Here is the message:

Alert! Apple Hardware Test has detected an error.

4SNS/1/1/40000000: TsOP-128.000

9) Finally i decided, that the problem is on the left side of the machine close to the where the battery ribbon cable plugs in. Why?, because while booting the machine I decided to GENTLY press the cable connectors on the left side and the the board itself, which suddenly brought the trackpad to life. Then when i stopped pressing, the trackpad stopped responding. Now i am not sure if any of the circuitry has dry joint or a ribbon cable had a broken wire or if a short circuit on the board occurred. But what i do know is that it is definitely a PHYSICAL hardware issue.

10) I repeated the exercise of pressing the connectors etc in STEP 9 since the problem didn't go away and on the first occasion. This time the Trackpad and Keyboard continued to work.

I believe one of 3 things happened.

a) There was some kind of dry joint and by pressing the circuitry, the joint became more stable and allowed current flow, therefore acting as normal.

b) Some part of the circuitry was shorting, and by pressing the board/connectors, the short was released.

c) One of the connectors was intermittently disconnecting and by pressing the connectors a better connection was made, therefore the circuitry performed as normal.

11) The complexity of circuit boards today and the amount of heat that is present around that side of the machine could indeed lead to circuits malfunctioning intermittently, which is why some of the solutions that others tried actually worked. In my case the last attempt of pressing the left side of the circuitry and cable connectors has been working for 24 hours. But I do believe that the situation could and probably will happen again. But i hope it doesn't.

I use my machine on while travelling so it does get moved around quite a bit, which could cause something to move within the machine that recreates the problem.

12) As a side note. Dry Joints are well noted to cause this type of intermittent problem, as when the dry joint occurs, it means a part of a circuit will not be functioning as the joint becomes open circuit which can have a plethora of different outcomes, depending on which part of the circuit is affected.

Hopefully, this will help others with their issues. But remember never to add lots of heavy pressure when doing any of the above, otherwise the board could break so gentle is good.

13) FYI: Since everything has been working, I decided to run Diagnostics again, and guess what?

Test Results show

No Trouble found

So this now makes logical sense. The issue has been resolved at least temporarily, and the Diagnostics prove that.

Good Luck.


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Did you reformat the drive and run a clean install of the latest OS? I wiped moms clean and the new one worked this very day.

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I had the exact same problem. My MBA was sitting overnight and unresponsive to kybd and trackpad in the morning. Had to reboot using the power key, which ws still working.

Based on above comments, I hooked up an external kybd and mouse, which worked.

I turned bluetooth on and off again, and that restored my kybd and trackpad functionality. I tried it because of the above comment on the MBA thinking a BT mouse was around.

Worked for me with minimal effort.

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Thanks a lot for this man! I splashed some water on my keyboard and wiped it off with a towel and must of somehow turned the bluetooth on and disabled my mouse and keyboard. I started freaking out because I thought I had damaged it with water and would have to replace something on my OUT OF WARRANTY Macbook air. This fixed the problem instantly.


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I had the same problem, with my early 2014 MacBook Air. I opened it and saw fresh milk. My 2-year old had been watching tinga tinga on it and must have decided that it was a good idea to pour milk down the key board. In such case, there is only one thing to do, the distilled water trick. You take out the battery. Then you put your mac on a baking tray and rinse it with distilled water - humidity doesn't kill a computer, it's the salts that does (or the milk). I repeated five time, submerging the mac every time, then drain and put in the oven at 40 C for 4 hours. Plug back in the battery, and it's as good as new (as is mine that I'm writing on now :)

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Solved: This is usuallly not an hardware problem. My Mac was not updated to latest osx software(Verify in top left corner at apple logo and about. App store update will not always tell you). I updated and still it did not work. I tried many of the suggestions with delete pl lists etc. But after returning to the mac after some days I made an safe mode start(shift button pressed at start until logo is shown) again and it worked. Then shut-down the mac and made an normal start. Still working. For sure the osx update was the key, but if it was the safe mode start which gave the final fix I'm not sure.

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I spilled the funniest bit of water on my trackpad and keyboard, finally turns out they both don't work. I really can't afford a keyboard and a mouse with lunch pocket money. I just put it drying with a fan overnight. WHAT CAN I DO PLEASE HELP MEE!!

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I am having the same problem with my 13" MacBook Air 2011 but ONLY when I try to operate without power. The battery is fully charged but keyboard and track pad won't work unless it is plugged it.

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I have a MacBook Air. I try all suggestion and my problem still there.

Black screen, no sound, only the fan is working.

When I turn on, the computer show a white light in the from . Strong light and after 1 second the light almos disappear.

Also the computer is really hot.

Please, what should I do?

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cameronjgraves will be eternally grateful.
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