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Why did my internal keyboard and mouse suddenly stopped working?

My macbook pro retina 13" late 2012 built in trackpad and keyboard stopped functioning abruptly.

It has been working fine and just today it stopped all of a sudden. I have absolutely no clue what happened to it.

It kept searching for a bluetooth keyboard. However external keyboard and mouse works, but whenever i unplug them nothing else works.

Power button is the only button that works.

My macbook is currently OSX 10.9.5

I searched on sites and it appears late 2013 had a EFI update that fixed it but i couldnt install any EFI update on my macbook pro.

Answered! View the answer I have this problem too

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Was the machine dropped or squeezed? (Stacked or pushed in a bag/compartment) Did you upgrade, add any software, or did you go inside the machine before this behavior started? Is this a wake from sleep issue (in other words does this happen after you leave a running machine alone for a while?)

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The machine was stationed on the desk. I was playing a game on it when all of a sudden the keyboard became unresponsive. I had an external mouse connected to play the game so i immediately check the trackpad which to find the trackpad failed to work too.

I had brought my laptop out in the morning. I returned home(4pm) and was able to have a fully-functioned laptop until late at night (11pm).

I decided to upgrade from 10.9.2 to 10.9.5 to see if the problem will disappear AFTER it stopped working.

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To kill the Bluetooth issue, and extend battery life turn it off (unless there is some Bluetooth device you must use) deleting the ~User/Library/Preferences .plist file for Bluetooth may resolve that problem. Often strange application behavior is the result of a corrupt .plist file.

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I deleted that .plist however the internal keyboard and trackpad remain unresponsive. I can't seem to get them to work even after i deleted that .plist you recommended. The search for a keyboard via bluetooth pops up again after i restarted my laptop. Is the Library Macintosh HD -> Library -> Preferences OR did you mean the hidden Library within my account (in this case Michael -> Library . . .)?

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I have just had the same problem. trying to solve it but to no avail

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15 Answers

Chosen Solution

There are few possibilities here:

  • The keyboard/track pad ribbon cable from the top case is not seated correctly into the logic board connector (or damaged).
  • Something was spilled into the keyboard and it took a bit of time to damage the connections.
  • The last possibility is the battery has swelled pressing from under the keyboard causing it to fail.

To test for the battery problem, put your laptop into a plastic bag making sure to pull out as much air out as you can. Place the laptop into your refrigerator for about an 2 hours to drop its temp. Take it out and quickly turn it on, see if the keyboard and track pad are working. If they are the issue is the battery pressing on the top case from below.

If your upto it pop off the bottom cover to inspect the ribbon cable to see if its correctly seated. Otherwise you'll likely need a new top case as the keyboard is part of it.

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Well the second possibility is very unlikely because I have not spilled anything on the keyboard ever. I used however semi-wet paper towel to clean the keyboard. The problem is that the trackpad is also unresponsive. With that said, does the other possibility still remain? (I've had a keyboard problem a year ago while trackpad worked. It's been fixed by apple)

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I ran a diagnostic test on my mac and no hardware problems were found.

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What diagnostics did you use? The Keyboard & trackpad tests are very limited within AHT and often won't find many defects.

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Did you inspect the ribbon cable or test for the battery issue?

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Is anyone having this issue after waking your MacBook up from sleep state while running a virtual machine program like VMware?

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Your issue sounds like the battery and/or case are swelling and crimping the ribbon cable connecting the keyboard and track pad to the logic board. There have been fixes discussed using adhoc materials to fix the issue, but I am not convinced it is an oversight that Apple should have a real fix for. I am going to spend the day at the closet Apple store in the next few days and will report back.

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Jim, I'm curious: did you get any help or info from the Apple store?

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I'm also curious. Also, how is the battery swelling not Apple's fault? My laptop is having this issue and the fridge method helps but only for a few days. I have never opened my laptop or bashed it on anything. The hardware should be totally fine.

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it WAS the battery...it had swelled just like jim said.

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Same issue happening to me.

I had it repaired three times for the same issue, before Apple replaced my laptop.

I've had the new laptop for about two weeks, and it just happened again.

The trackpad and keyboard stop responding, and when I restart I get a prompt to connect bluetooth mouse and keyboard.

It was working when I was in one meeting room, I closed the lid, I walked to my desk, I opened it, and it didn't respond.

I'm in utter despair, after all the hassle I went through getting a replacement, and now it's happening to the new one!?!?!?!

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Are you sure it's a hardware issue? What OS's are you running on your system? Also what are you running for apps.

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A drive that doesn't have much free space can encounter problems depending on what you are doing (running)

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This is helpful in that it corroborates what so many others' stories have suggested. Whatever the cause or causes, something has gone awry with the internal keyboard/trackpad on the Macbook Pro Retina laptops. There are several lengthy threads on the Apple support site that run along the same lines. What is lacking: acknowledgement of the the problem, and redress, on the part of Apple.

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My brand new MacBook Pro had this same problem, turns out hitting the outside of the keyboard and mousepad works too!

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Next time try a hammer! Really! This sounds like you have a loose connection within the USB connector on the logic board. This might be expensive as the connector may need more than replacing.

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Um, this worked.

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I have the same issue here. But in mine internal keyboard works just the trackpad, it does click and it's not moving.

Cable connector on board is damaged with water spill, I cleaned up but no luck. Replaced touchpad and keyboard either not helping.

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I have MacBook Pro retina. Have erratic screen, mouse/trackpad issues. Noticed when computer was operating at temps below 50 degrees everything worked great then as it warmed everything mentioned went wacky. So swollen battery which cold temp relieves seems to be issue! Bad design cramping battery into the machines.

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Maybe I jumped to a conclusion it's possible a faulty circuit or bad solder point n not necessary related to battery. Just don't want to blame when it could be battery or entirely something else.

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Mine seems to be having a similar problem. However, it comes and goes randomly whenever.

I plug USB devices in. Each time I plug something in or unplug something, it seems like there's a chance for the keyboard and trackpad to become either enabled or disabled.

My (annoying) solution, therefore, is to keep a USB mouse or something on hand, and just repeatedly plug/unplug it until I can type without it.

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The internal keyboard & trackpad are also USB devices using the same hub controller so you can get a bit of lag when plugging in or out a USB device. You may want to check your systems firmware to make sure it's the latest Apple did have some keyboard/trackpad updates on the retina models.

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This works on my mbp 13 retina just now, it's wierd though

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15" MBP E button stoped working whila playing a game. I use it for movement and all of the sudden my character starting running sideways as if I were pressing it.

I tabbed out and back in. Character stopped moving but at the cost of E button not working.

I was thinking of overheating the battery but I use a cooling fan (external) which helps a bit. Temperatures does not seem to be that high, around 60 degree C.

Ideas?

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Some games are hard on laptops as the heavy graphics cause them to overheat. You may want to use a good tempeture monitoring app like this one: TG Pro. You could have also worn out your E key by over doing it. I would encourage you to use a USB connected keyboard so if you kill it it won't be as costly as replacing the built-in keyboard.

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update, as I was trying to find out what was going on, the keyboard stopped working for a while. I turned it off and put it at a cold place and it came back.

I just realise that cmd+c also stopped working for some reason. Its only the left cmd that isn't working, right one seems fine.

I guess I have to replace my top case since I believe the keyboard is attached to the case or could it be a problem with the battery?

I have a late 2013 15" retina MBP if that could be useful.

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For now try an USB keyboard

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Same Issue here, I have a 2012 non retina MBP. First time, I disconnected an USB device, keyboard and trackpad suddenly stopped working. Now I was only browsing in chrome and they stopped working, after a reboot everything works fine.

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Same Issue here, I have a 2012 retina MBP. First time, keyboard and trackpad suddenly stopped working. Now I was only in Photoshop and they stopped working, after a reboot everything works fine.

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Sounds like you have an OS level issue here what OS's Are you running on your system? Also how much free space do you have on your HD? You should have 1/4 to 1/3 space free and you might need more RAM all well. Photoshop can be a hog.

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I took my MacBook Pro (Retina, 13-inch, Early 2015) in to the Apple Store last week with this same problem. It started off with a week where the internal keyboard and trackpad would stop working but work again on reboot (hold the power button down a long time - it's wired separately from the keyboard) and still works. Then for a week, rebooting wouldn't help, so I got by with a Bluetooth keyboard and Magic Trackpad 2. I started off running 10.10, and upgraded to 10.11 to make the trackpad work. No luck either way.

The Genius tried verified the problem, then tried running diagnostic software, and everything started working again. He tried a network boot, and everything worked fine. He then tried booting off the internal hard drive and everything was hunky-dory. He suggested I either needed a new cable, or to scrub and reinstall the contents of my hard drive. I opted to wait and see a week, during which time it's done the working-on-reboot thing twice now in four days.

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I'm smelling a battery problem here (swollen).

You first need something to monitor the batteries temp. I would use TG Pro (full version). Then try this:

Run your system off battery so its as low as you can get it. Then wrap your system in a tight plastic bag taking all of the air placing your system in the refrigerator to let it cool down for 3 to 4 hrs. Now running the system off of the MagSafe adapter you should be fine (make sure you leave TG Pro visible as you need to see it). Let the system charge up as you use it. Note that the time point the keyboard/trackpad start to encounter a problem the batteries temp. If you have an external keyboard & mouse (SB or bluetooth) give them a try the system should be responsive with them. Let us know what you discover.

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Hi, I have a 13MBP retina 2013. i have problems with keyboard also, slow digitation, letters appear different, and trackpad not working at all. External mouse and keyboard working. Used TGpro and no heating detected. all normal. Tried already solutions of reseting NVRAM and others. At a loss right now.

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I have same problem on my MacBook Pro 13". Keyboard and trackpad stop working after I put it into sleep mode. Anyone here who can suggest me that how could i fix it?

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You can have a swelled battery issue and/or your systems OS need to be repaired.

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My MacBook has the same problem! My battery had been swelling up so I sent the system to someone for battery change.

But, when I received it the keyboard & trackpad aren't working and I'm locked out with my password!

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You'll need to talk with the folks who did the repair. As clearly they didn't replace the battery or forgot to reconnect the connections inside.

For now you could try using a USB keyboard and mouse to regain control of your system.

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I have the same issue my keyboard and trackpad totally disconnected on my 2015 MacBook Pro 13".

It randomly started doing it I haven't dropped it or spilled water etc...

I can get my keyboard and trackpad to work if I press down a few times on the laptop with both hands on either side of the trackpad (pretend you're giving it CPR lol), so my only guess is that a ribbon cable is loose somewhere. It's kind of irritating to do that every couple days because it keeps doing it, but at least I can use my keyboard.

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Nope! Your battery has swollen which is pressing on the keyboard from behind. You need a new battery.

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This happened with my MacBook Pro and I was told that there wasn't a problem with the ribbon cable.

They just restarted the MacBook a few times and did a "cold start?"

I really like my MacBook and it is out of warranty and I don't want to mess around with it.

Please help me

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Sounds like your battery is swelled. Did you try putting it in a plastic bag squeezing out the air and putting it in the refrigerator for a few hours? If the system worked just fine after you pulled it out and then failed thats a good sign the battery is swelled up.

Your other possibility here is the keyboard needs replacing as something was spilled in it.

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I'm also having this issue! Currently running a MBP'13 Retina 2015.

1. Keyboard and trackpad is only unresponsive during the bootup. i.e. it does not stop working when i'm already logged into OSX

2. External mouse and keyboard works fine when plugged in, internal keyboard and track pad remains unresponsive.

3.Issue occurs most frequently when i boot up with the charger plugged in.

4. '''Problem usually resolves when i force boot off and leave the mac for 15-30minutes.

'''

5. During the last event (20mins ago), i noticed the "No drives" icon on the toolbar, after i logged in with an external keyboard/mouse while the internal keyboard/mouse remained unresponsive.

6. I am starting to suspect that this might be an issue with a swollen battery, but i lack the tools to remove the back cover. Are there other signs (apart from telling it physically) that this might be an issue with a swollen battery ?

Anyone else that had this exact problem ? Currently waiting for the pentalobe driver to arrive before i remove the back cover for physical inspection

Thanks for your help!

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I'm currently having the same problems as you do.

Did you change the batteries or by any chance, fix the problems?

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I. am having the same problem. How did you resolve it? Did you change the battery?

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ya bro...actually i just took it out and ran on the charger. but the problem WAS the battery. it had swelled, and when that happens it blocks a connection or something. try simply taking it out. also - try resetting the smc. gl bro

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I have the same MacBook and exactly the same problems. Can you tell what was the reason or how did you fix it?

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Michael will be eternally grateful.
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