MacBook Keyboard and Trackpad Not Working? Tips to Fix

By John Adebimitan

It can be frustrating to find your Macbook keyboard and trackpad not working. Though it may be difficult to keep your calm in such situations, I would advise that you try to remain calm.

Try to remember the circumstances surrounding the situation before your Macbook’s keyboard and trackpad stopped working. You should know that it is most likely a software-related issue whenever your keyboard and trackpad stop working simultaneously.

This guide will discuss things that would happen resulting in a MacBook Keyboard and Trackpad Not Working. We’d also discuss a few possible fixes you’d want to explore.

MacBook Keyboard and Trackpad Not Working? Working Fixes You Should Try

Here are some fixes you can try should you find your MacBook Keyboard and Trackpad Not Working:

Fix 1: Check for updates

Most of the minor operation issues we encounter on personal computers are often because we don’t update the computer’s system software.

Similarly, running an outdated system software can cause your MacBook to malfunction. Check if there are new updates for your system and install them.

You can follow the process below to install a macOS update:

  • STEP 1: Go to “Apple menu
  • STEP 2: Choose “About This Mac
  • STEP 3: Go to the “Overview” section and click on “Software Update
  • STEP 4: If there are available updates, click on “Update Now

Fix 2: Clean your keyboard

Dust and dirt can disturb how well your keyboard functions, so cleaning it can help fix the issues that make it unresponsive.

Even Apple recommends that you clean your keyboard if it stops being responsive. Here are the steps Apple suggests you follow when you want to clean your keyboard:

  • STEP 1: Hold your MacBook at a 75-degree angle
  • STEP 2: Spray compressed air on the keys in a left-to-right and top to bottom motion
  • STEP 3: Rotate your Macbook to the right side and respray the keys while maintaining the 75-degree angle

Fix 3: Delete recent apps

If your keyboard and mouse stopped working after downloading an app, try deleting the app. If you are unsure if it is an app interfering with your keyboard, you can quit all running apps.

Just click the “Quit All” button in the menu bar. If your keyboard starts working again, then you should consider deleting apps you downloaded recently.

To view your most recent apps:

  • STEP 1: Go to “Finder
  • STEP 2: Click on “Applications
  • STEP 3: Click on “Sort By
  • STEP 4: Select “Date Added

Proceed to delete the app(s).

Fix 4: Reset the SMC

At times, you just need to reset your System Management Controller to fix the problem you have with your keyboard and trackpad.

Below is a guide on how to reset the SMC.

If your Macbook has a non-removable battery, follow this process:

  • STEP 1: Shut down your MacBook
  • STEP 2: Press and hold down on the “Shift,” “Ctrl,” and “Option” keys together
  • STEP 3: Hold on to the keys for about 8 seconds. Then press and hold the Power button too.
  • STEP 4: Hold down the four keys for about 8-10 seconds
  • STEP 5: Release the keys and then reboot your Mac

If your Macbook has a removable battery, follow this process:

  • STEP 1: Shut down your MacBook
  • STEP 2: Remove the battery
  • STEP 3: Press and hold the Power button for about 5 seconds
  • STEP 4: Fix your battery back
  • STEP 5: Turn ON your MacBook

Fix 5: Delete .plist files

.plist list files (Property List) store software-related user preference files. They contain some files that ensure that the keyboard and mouse function properly.

If some of your software settings relating to the .plist files changes, it can affect the working condition of your mouse and keyboard. In such cases, deleting the existing .plist files can help reset your keyboard and trackpad back to factory settings.

In case you don’t know how to delete your .plist files, you can refer to the process below;

  • STEP 1: Back up your Macbook
  • STEP 2: Open “Finder
  • STEP 3: Press Command + Shift + G
  • STEP 4: Enter “~/Library/Preferences/” into the bar and click “Go
  • STEP 5: Find and highlight the following files:” – Magic Trackpad” – Magic Mouse” – wired USB mouse

  • STEP 6: Delete the files
  • STEP 7: Reboot your Macbook

Fix 6: Reset PRAM

By resetting your Parameter RAM back to zero, you can fix most of the software glitches in your system.

Here is how to reset your PRAM;

  • STEP 1: Shut down your MacBook
  • STEP 2: Reboot your Macbook.
  • STEP 3: In the process of rebooting, Press and hold “Command” + “Option” + “P” + “R
  • STEP 4: Wait till you hear the reboot sound or till you see the Apple logo on your screen before you release the keys.
  • STEP 5: Leave the system to reboot normally

Why Is My Macbook Keyboard and Trackpad Not Working?

Below are some reasons for your Macbook Keyboard and Trackpad Not Working issue.

  1. Outdated software: Running an outdated software system can affect the performance of your Macbook. You need to check if there are available system updates for your Macbook.

Download the new updates if there are.

  1. An app you downloaded recently: When did you start noticing the problem with your keyboard and mouse?

Did it stop working recently? If that is the case, try to remember the app(s) you just downloaded recently.

The app(s) may be causing conflicts within your system.

  1. The problem may arise from improper settings: For instance, if your keyboard layout is set wrongly, the keys won’t function as they should.
  2. Dirt and debris: If your keyboard panel has accumulated too much dirt and debris, it may not be as responsive as it should be.
  3. Liquid spills: Getting liquid spilled on your computer can cause damage to its internal circuitry. If you accidentally spill liquid on your Macbook, quickly turn it over to prevent the liquid from going into the circuit board.

Turn your computer off and leave it to dry out for at least three days.

Why Is My Macbook Mouse Not Working?

Here are some reasons why your Macbook mouse may not be working.

  1. Your system software may be due for an update. Apple usually releases some updates to help ensure that your system works fine.

If you don’t install the updates regularly, it may affect the efficient functioning of your Macbook.

  1. Some of your system files may have gotten corrupted. If this is the case, you will need to delete some files, or you may need to restore your system to its default settings.
  2. Your Macbook’s mouse can stop working if liquid gets into it.

If you recently spilled liquid on your Macbook mouse and didn’t take proper precautions, it could be why it stopped working.

  1. Your mouse may have run out of battery. You will need to charge your mouse or replace its battery if it is replaceable.
  2. If your mouse isn’t working, you may be having pairing issues. Try reconnecting your mouse.

How To Restart Macbook Air With Keyboard

To restart your Macbook Air with a keyboard,Press and hold down the Command (⌘) key + Control (Ctrl) key + the Power button. Hold them down until the screen goes blank and the Macbook restarts.

Read also: How Long Do MacBook Airs Last?

How To Turn Off Macbook Pro Keyboard

The easiest way to disable your Macbook Pro keyboard is by pressing Ctrl + F1.

In addition, you can also disable your keyboard by using the Apple Script on Terminal. You must enter an Apple Script command on your MacBook terminal to use this method.

Open the terminal on your Macbook and enter this command:

sudo kextunload /System/Library/Extensions/AppleUSBTopCase.kext/Contents/PlugIns/AppleUSBTCKeyboard.kext

How To Unlock A Macbook Pro Keyboard

Simply turn your Macbook OFF and turn it back ON. Then, when you get to the sign-in screen, press the “Option” key 5 times.

Here is another process you can follow to unlock your Macbook Pro keyboard:

  • STEP 1: Go to “Apple menu
  • STEP 2: Click on “System Preferences
  • STEP 3: Click on “Accessibility
  • STEP 4: Click on “Keyboard
  • STEP 5: Click “Viewer,” and then select “Enable Accessibility Keyboard
  • STEP 6: When the on-screen keyboard appears, click the “Option” button 5 times.

How To Make Your Mac Keyboard Light Up

To light up your Macbook keyboard, tap the F6 key until your keyboard lights up to your desired brightness.


If you’ve tried all the tips in this article, but your Macbook’s keyboard and mouse are still not working, your Mac will need a comprehensive checkup.

In such cases, we advise that you contact Apple Support or take your Macbook to an authorized service provider for repairs. 

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