MacBook Pro built-in keyboard and trackpad are unresponsive?

I am writing this post about an issue I've been having with my 2019 Macbook Pro running Catalina 10.15.5.

Often, when I open my laptop, the built-in keyboard and trackpad are unresponsive. If I don't close the laptop, a window will pop up after 15-30 seconds that says "Bluetooth keyboard setup. There isn't a keyboard connected."

This problem was frequently happening every single day. I tried the following things to no avail:

1. Resetting the SMC

2. Resetting the NVRAM

3. Rebooting in safe

4. Deleting potential problematic plist files as suggested in this article.

So I factory reset my Mac, reinstalled MacOS, then restored a backup from Time Machine.

Factory resetting has been the only thing that has had any positive impact on this issue. I encounter the problem much less often, but it isn’t gone completely. The keyboard and mouse are still occasionally unresponsive when I open my laptop, particularly if it is plugged in (though it happens when not plugged in too).

One thing to note is that the fingerprint reader/power button still works even if the rest of the keys on the keyboard don't—I can triple-click the power button to open the accessibility options, though I can’t select anything because this doesn’t cause the keyboard and trackpad to start working.

I'm certain this is a software issue. This problem started when I updated to one of the supplemental Catalina updates around 10.15.13/14 (I’ve learned my lesson about updating—if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it). My Mac has had no spills, drops, or other physical damage.

Additionally, waiting usually solves the problem. Meaning, when I open the lid and the keyboard and trackpad are unresponsive, if I wait a few seconds (or sometimes it takes up to a minute or two), then everything works and is responsive. Also, I am not the only one with this problem! I’ve come across several posts of people with the exact same problem (on the 16 inch Macbook Pro).

A solution would be much appreciated!

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I don't recommend altering or deleting macOS plists or drivers!

I do recommend wiping down a drive and re-installing macOS from the ground up! But thats not the issue here in any way! You have a hardware level issue.

Did you have a liquid spill into the keyboard and/or touchpad?

Did you use a spray cleaner or wet wipe on your system?

What you are describing is a bad connection of the trackpad/keyboard to your logic board.


As I mentioned, I have not spilled any liquid or had any other physical damage. I am pretty sure this is a software issue brought about by one of the supplemental Catalina updates, as I don't see why factory resetting made this problem a lot better (though didn't eliminate it completely). Also, I have seen posts from others with new 16 inch Macbooks with the same problem (also on Catalina 10.15.14+).


@adammiller - Adam I read your problem four times now, I don't see any wording to imply you haven't gotten a spill or haven't used any cleaner or wipe on your system.

So far I've encountered 8 people who have damaged their system trying to clean it (COVID).

Let's assume you hadn't gotten your system wet or using anything to clean it. The number of people having issues like what you are describing are just not at the level to explain this as a OS level issue.

While I don't recommend Catalina as its just to buggy (even after the latest updates) I have it run-in on my Mac Pro without encountering any keyboard or trackpad issues.


@Danj Sorry if my wording was unclear. I wrote "My Mac has had no spills, drops, or other physical damage."


Your question did a lot of meandering so it was hard to see it ;-}

Wipe the drive and re-install the OS


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