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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!!!


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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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.

MacBook Air 13" (Late 2010-2017) Replacement Battery Image


MacBook Air 13" (Late 2010-2017) Replacement Battery


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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?


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.


I had keyboard problems after messing about in system preferences trying to gett double click to open files in finder, complete disaster, thought I would have to have new key board as many keys did not operate. Then I remembered what I had done in preferences: accessibility: General: mouse and trackpad: unclicked enable mouse keys: slowed down speed and hey presto everything worked just fine(except double click to open some files. good luck Trevor


I solved the problem simply by disabling FirveVault. I did the SMC reset while my computer was on - it restarted and gave me several options, one of which was to disable FireVault. I was using an external keyboard due to the fact that my default MacBook Pro keyboard was damaged by water. After choosing to disable FireVault, My external keyboard was brought back to full functionality. I was so happy because i thought i was never going to access all my precious data. FireVault is not compatible with certain computer passwords, that was the issue. Resetting it in SMC is the solution (shift + control + option).


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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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Macbook Air 13" Frozen keyboard and trackpad

My mothers MacBook Air 13" suddenly became unresponsive with both the keyboard and trackpad.

I could get them to work momentarily after a SMC Reset. Then resetting PRAM made it a bit better, to the degree for 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 and to orchestrate the process without freezing. Mostly it allowed me to narrow down the problem and the capability of troubleshooting it.

As a side note is that this whole problem seemed to clearly be that the MacBook Air was thinking it had Bluetooth keyboard and trackpad peripherals nearby.

It's never even been near one in it's life. When I'd look at trackpad in preferences, the onboard settings were gone! and replaced with the bluetooth trackpad hunting window. This was also the case for the keyboard. I used my wireless bluetooth 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 an OS restore but nothing would clean it not even an OS 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 MacBook Air 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 Mountain Lion (OS-X 10.8.5) and they have not told us! Everybody should get the free Mountain Lion (OS-X 10.8.5) upgrade!

NOTE: The Power key actually should be working when none of there other keys 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 10.7.5)
  2. After doing so I still found the same glitch. I then figured the last option was to update to Mountain Lion 10.8.5. 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 & PRAM resets 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).

Resetting SMC:

  • 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!!!


Dude, what if the keyboard isn't working at all to begin with? and I've tried pulling the battery by opening the case and doing a hard smc reset but still no bueno


Apple released an updated keyboard /trackpad firmware which appears to not load up properly unless you startup in safe mode which allows the updater to update the firmware.

Both MacBook Pro's & MacBook Airs have encountered issues with this updater.


All the answers did not work. I had to crate an account with Admin rights. Then I had to login with that account, and delete my account. Crate my account again and login with my account. I had to login into my iCloud and get my files back from my backup. This worked for me.


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Keyboard & 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 systems.

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 systems 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

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.)

  1. 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)
  2. 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.
  3. 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 forum.

Decided to Reset the PRAM:

  1. Shut down the system.
  2. Locate the following keys on the keyboard: Command (⌘), Option, P, & R. You will need to hold these keys down simultaneously in step 4.
  3. Turn on the computer. Press and hold the Command-Option-P-R keys before the grey screen appears.
  4. Hold the keys down until the computer restarts and you hear the startup sound for the second time. Release the keys.
  • Also performed an SMC reset whilst booting the machine (shift+control+option+power)
  • Turned Bluetooth off. ( I thought this might be related to the bluetooth message that comes up while booting)
  • Remove all EXTERNAL cables from machine and reboot

NONE of the above steps 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.

1. 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)

2. 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.

The error message: Alert! Apple Hardware Test has detected an error. 4SNS/1/1/40000000: TsOP-128.000

3. 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 board itself, which suddenly brought the trackpad back to life. Then when I stopped pressing, the trackpad stopped responding. Now I'm not sure if any of the circuitry has bad solder 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.

4. 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:

  • There was some kind of bad solder joint and by pressing the circuitry, the joint became more stable and allowed current flow, therefore acting as normal.
  • Some part of the circuitry was shorting, and by pressing the board/connectors, the short was released.
  • One of the connectors was intermittently disconnecting and by pressing the connectors a better connection was made, therefore the circuitry performed as normal.

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 while traveling so it does get moved around quite a bit, which could cause something to move within the system that recreates the problem.

As a side note: Bad solder joints are well noted to cause this type of intermittent problem, as when the Bad solder 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.

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. Sunbloc

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GBC PAD you explained exactly my issue with MacBook.Thank you very much


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Keyboard & trackpad not working with my Macbook Air - FIXED :-)

I've had the same problem on & off for years even through several system upgrades.

About three days ago my keyboard & 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 MacBook Air 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 MacBook Air was close to my iMac. Both systems have 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 MacBook Air came back to me! Totally fine.

I assume I could have turned off bluetooth on the MacBook Air and it would have resolved the problem also.

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

I was ready to take my MacBook Air 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.



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I had the exact same problem! My MacBook Air was sitting overnight and unresponsive to keyboard & trackpad in the morning. Had to reboot using the power key, which was still working.

Based on above comments, I hooked up an external keyboard and mouse, which worked!

I turned Bluetooth off and on again, and that restored my internal keyboard and trackpad functionality. I tried it because of the above comment on the MacBook Air thinking a Bluetooth mouse I had for my desktop 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.


same problem just i need a usb keyboard


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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 Tales on it and must have decided that it was a good idea to pour milk down the keyboard ;-{

In such a 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, sugars and acids that does (or in this case 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! I'm writing on now :)

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This is the best post about a Mac I have ever read! Lol thank you for sharing :)


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In my case it was not a hardware problem!

My Mac needed to be updated to latest OS-X. I updated and it still did not work. I tried many of the suggestions.

After doing some research and returning to the computer after a few days I started the system in safe mode and the keyboard & trackpad started working! Then shut-down the system and restarted normally, still working.

For sure the OS-X update was the key, but if it was the safe mode start which gave the final fix I'm not sure why

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Apple released an updated keyboard /trackpad firmware which appears to not load up properly unless you startup in safe mode which allows the updater to update the firmware. Both MacBook Pro's & MacBook Airs have encountered issues with this updater.


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Long story short on our used MacBook Air: Daughter said: "The keyboard & trackpad stopped working"

I read where some folks had found press down hard on the case to fix things. So I removed the bottom cover, 3 screws to lift battery to expose trackpad.

What I found was a small piece of waded up tissue (size of dime) smashed flat near the left side under battery, removed the piece of tissue. I tightened all the screws seated all the ribbon cables now it did not work at all (even pressing hard).

So I removed the bottom cover again dropped the little piece of tissue where it was originally placed & folded 1/2 of a standard kleenex to place under battery. Between battery and trackpad to act as a spacer.

Perhaps applying more pressure to the trackpad was what was needed here. Everything works as intended now! Keyboard & trackpad work perfectly.

It's as if the trackpad needed something to act as a spacer

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Sounds like you have a bad solder joint on the trackpad and/or the battery was replaced after it had damaging the ribbon cable after swelling up. What someone did was use the tissue paper to add a bit of pressure. I don't recommend leaving the tissue paper here as it is flammable and it does get hot here. Best to all it out and use some kaptan tape or better yet replace the trackpad and the cable.


Dan, I may try this. I feel like the technicians that replaced my battery may have done something that is making my MacBook Pro unresponsive.That ribbon cable might be getting too hot.


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Had the same issue - trackpad and keyboard not working on MacBook. Power button was. External trackpad and keyboard worked fine. Decided to try to open the back of the laptop to see if I could figure something out, but before I could cry about not having the right screwdriver, I saw a tiny piece of paper sticking out of the vent. Used a vacuum to suck it out and voila! Everything is working fine again!

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In my case, the problem was the cable connecting the touchpad to the motherboard. One of the wires in the cable was not conducting the electricity anymore. That crippled the communication between the motherboard and the touchpad. But because the keyboard is attached to the motherboard over the touchpad, the keyboard did not work as well. The only button that was still working was the power button. Likely because it does not communicate with the motherboard over the message bus (which was crippled) but over a distinct wire in the cable.

I ordered a new flex cable on the internet. But the cable I got was for an older version of MacBook Air (it looked the same, the size was the same, but it had fewer wires). Once I got the correct version of the cable, everything worked again.

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For me it started working when I enabled my guest log in and then logged in as guest. I logged out from guest user logged in as regular, all works fine now. Strange, but worked !

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