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Apple makes great keyboards 6 Of The Best Wireless All-In-One Keyboards For Mac and PC 6 Of The Best Wireless All-In-One Keyboards For Mac and PC Wireless all-in-one keyboards turn a boring living room computer into an exciting home theater PC. We've rounded up five of the best models around. But which one is best for you? Read More they work well, they look really nice, and they’re designed to work perfectly with your Mac. But every once in a while something goes wrong.

Maybe you plug your keyboard in and nothing happens. Maybe your computer isn’t picking up the Bluetooth signal from the board. Maybe your keys aren’t doing anything. Here’s how to fix it.

For Wireless Apple Keyboards

We’ll start with wireless, as there are a few more things that can go wrong compared to wired counterparts. No matter what’s happening with your keyboard, try these steps first:

1. Make sure Bluetooth is on and working

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wondered what’s going on with my accessories before figuring out that my laptop’s Bluetooth How Bluetooth 4.0 Is Shaping the Future of Mobile Connectivity How Bluetooth 4.0 Is Shaping the Future of Mobile Connectivity Bluetooth is the forgotten star on the device specifications sheet. Read More was off. To make sure it’s on, go to System Preferences > Bluetooth and enable it.

The System Preferences panel will tell you if devices are connected, if they’re low on battery, or if there are any other errors. If the preferences panel or your menubar show a Bluetooth icon with a jagged line through it (see the image below), that means your Bluetooth is offline. Restart your Mac and see if that helps. If not, unplug all USB devices and restart again.

mac-bluetooth-status

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2. Make sure your keyboard is on

It isn’t always easy to tell if an Apple Bluetooth keyboard is powered on. Press the power button (pictured below) and watch the indicator light. If it stays on for several seconds and turns off, your keyboard has been connected. If it blinks repeatedly, it’s in discovery mode and looking for your computer. If the light doesn’t do anything at all, check the batteries in your device.

Keyboards and Mice: Keyboard On Off

After your device is on, go back to the Bluetooth preferences panel and see if it’s connected. If your keyboard is searching for your computer but not connecting, right-click on your keyboard in the list of devices and select Connect (if your device isn’t listed, skip ahead to “Re-pair your keyboard with your computer”).

3. Check the battery level of your keyboard

If the batteries on your keyboard are getting low, you may have some performance problems. Go to System Preferences > Keyboard and go to the Keyboard tab. The battery level of your keyboard will be shown in the bottom-left corner.

keyboard-battery

You can also see the battery level of any of your connected devices by clicking on the Bluetooth icon in the menubar and hovering over the device you’re interested in.

4. Make sure mouse keys and slow keys are turned off

Go to System Preferences > Accessibility and select Mouse & Trackpad from the menu on the left. Make sure that Enable Mouse Keys is unchecked. This option allows you to control the mouse using keyboard keys, resulting in a number of keys possibly not working.

mac-accessibility-mouse-keys

Next click on Keyboard in the left sidebar and make sure that Enable Slow Keys in unchecked. This requires keys to be pressed longer to be registered as a press.

mac-accessibility-slow-keys

5. Re-pair your keyboard with your computer

In the Bluetooth preferences panel, make sure that Bluetooth is enabled. Mouse over your keyboard in the list of devices, and click on the “X” on the right side of the entry. A warning will appear telling you that you may need to re-pair your device next time you use it. Click Remove.

remove-keyboard

Turn off your keyboard, and turn it back on. The indicator light should start blinking. Open the Keyboard options in System Preferences and click on Set up Bluetooth keyboard. Follow the instructions to pair your keyboard.

apple-bluetooth-keyboard-pairing

For Wired USB Apple Keyboards

If you have a wired Apple keyboard that’s not working, take the following steps to diagnose and solve the problem.

1. Try a different USB port

Unplug your keyboard from the current USB port and try another one. If it works, you can try it in the original port again. If it only works in one USB port, you may have a problem with the ports Dead USB Port? Here's How to Diagnose and Fix It! Dead USB Port? Here's How to Diagnose and Fix It! When your USB port stopped working, did you just plug your device into another one? Well, you might need that port one day! The fix could be easy, so let's give it a try. Read More on your computer (try resetting the SMC and PRAM How To Reset Your Mac's SMC & PRAM – And Why How To Reset Your Mac's SMC & PRAM – And Why Sometimes your Mac will act strange for no apparent reason, and if a restart doesn't work, sometimes you'll need to reset the SMC and PRAM. Read More ).

2. Check the System Report

From the Apple Menu (top left of the screen), click About This Mac. Then click the System Report button. Once the system report window has opened, click on USB in the Hardware section of the left sidebar. From here, you can see what your computer is reading from your USB ports.

If your computer has detected the keyboard, you’ll see “Apple Keyboard” listed under one of the USB ports. If it’s not listed, try restarting your computer and resetting the SMC and PRAM How To Reset Your Mac's SMC & PRAM – And Why How To Reset Your Mac's SMC & PRAM – And Why Sometimes your Mac will act strange for no apparent reason, and if a restart doesn't work, sometimes you'll need to reset the SMC and PRAM. Read More .

3. Turn Bluetooth off

Go to System Preferences > Bluetooth and make sure that Bluetooth is off. If this solves the problem, it’s possible that your computer is recognizing a Bluetooth keyboard and prioritizing it over your USB keyboard. If you need to keep Bluetooth on, you can remove the keyboard from the list by clicking on the “X” on the right side of the entry in your System Preferences > Bluetooth device list to remove it.

4. Make sure mouse keys and slow keys are turned off

Go to System Preferences > Accessibility and select “Mouse & Trackpad” from the menu on the left. Make sure that “Enable Mouse Keys” is unchecked.

mac-accessibility-mouse-keys

Click on “Keyboard” in the left sidebar and make sure that Enable Slow Keys in unchecked.

mac-accessibility-slow-keys

5. Connect your keyboard through an extension cord or USB hub

Apple’s USB keyboards come with a USB extension cord that increase the reach of the included USB cord. Try plugging your keyboard into one end of this cord and the other into your computer. If you don’t have a USB extension cord, you can also use a USB hub.

No one seems to know why this is so effective, but it often works!

Know When to Admit Defeat

As with any troubleshooting attempt, it’s good to know when to admit defeat. If you try the solutions above and none of them work, it might be time to consult staff at your local Apple store (particularly if the device is under warranty). You can also try searching for your specific problem online and finding others who have solved that issue.

If you’re having other problems with your Mac, try our guide to troubleshooting your Apple computer Fix Your Own Mac: A Troubleshooting Guide Fix Your Own Mac: A Troubleshooting Guide Apple is known for having great customer service and repair technicians, but if you're no longer under warranty that expertise doesn't come cheap. Why not try troubleshooting your own Mac first next time? Read More . Good luck!

Have you had trouble with an Apple keyboard? How did you fix the issue? Share your experiences below!

  1. Hamdy
    August 16, 2016 at 1:36 pm

    Updated Mac to macOS Sierra Beta version and the Wireless keyboard is acting funny, Delete key ", " and all arrow keys but the up one are all not functioning, please let me know if you have experience with the new Beta version

    • Dann Albright
      August 16, 2016 at 2:24 pm

      I don't have the OS beta yet, so I don't have any experience with it. It wouldn't surprise me if the beta was having issues with bluetooth things, though.

  2. abbie
    August 15, 2016 at 1:42 pm

    Hi, my wireless keyboard is connected but when I go to 'set up bluetooth keyboard...' my keyboard can't be found. Also none of the keys are working. Help please D:

    • Dann Albright
      August 16, 2016 at 2:23 pm

      Have you tried it on another computer?

      • abbie
        August 21, 2016 at 2:10 am

        I haven't tried it on another computer but I have tried it on my phone. It detects the keyboard but I can't connect it since the keys aren't responding

        • Dann Albright
          August 21, 2016 at 4:07 pm

          Very strange; could be a problem with the keyboard itself. You might want to take it into a Genius Bar and see if they can help you out.

        • abbie
          August 22, 2016 at 5:07 am

          It might be because of the batterries that were stuck there before due to corrosion; those were a pain to get out and I had to smack the keyboard a couple of times for it to budge. It was working fine before that. I'll check out your suggestion. Thank you.

        • Dann Albright
          August 31, 2016 at 6:36 pm

          Yeah, that definitely sounds like it could cause some problems. :-)

  3. Michael Bushnell
    August 14, 2016 at 1:44 am

    MY WIFE'S Mac Air has been scrolling slowly, while attempting to get the scroll speed adjusted she somehow managed to get the keys on the keyboard to stop working. I took it to a tech friend of mine who got the keys to work using the Control + Option + P + R. This morning my wife was impatient with the scroll bar problem again and got the keyboard to stop working again. We again tried the above method and the keys barely work, you have to press very hard for any response. This has not been a problem until yesterday with my wife's attempt to speed up the scroll speed so I am fairly certain this is operator caused, not the Mac's

    • Dann Albright
      August 16, 2016 at 2:23 pm

      That's pretty weird. Have you tried resetting the PRAM again? I'd recommend that. Also, the fact that you have to press hard on the keys is really weird . . . that doesn't seem like it should be a software issue. Have you plugged the keyboard into another computer to see how it behaves there?

  4. karen
    July 3, 2016 at 7:12 pm

    I solved my problem by going to keyboard in system preferences and unchecking the boxes for special function..this way i was once again able to adjust the volume, e.g.

    • Dann Albright
      July 7, 2016 at 2:04 pm

      Thanks for sharing that solution; I hadn't hear of that one before! Definitely a good one to keep in mind.

    • Jamie
      July 13, 2016 at 2:25 am

      Hi Karen,

      Thank you! I just tried this and it worked... I went to System Preferences > Keyboard > and TICKED the check box that said 'Use all F1, F2, etc. keys as standard function keys'. I then plugged the USB keyboard in and it worked!

      I decided to UNTICK the same checkbox and the keyboard still works for now.

      Very weird indeed!

      Cheers,
      Jamie

      • Dann Albright
        July 13, 2016 at 8:18 pm

        Glad to hear that this is working for multiple people!

  5. fadel ramadan jaber alshoubaki
    May 8, 2016 at 7:10 am

    the numbers 1-9 not work, zero number is work
    Barbary full, WiFi on

    even i totally remover it from the System Preferences, trying to make new configuration it as new , but its asking to enter pair NUMBERS, the numbers not work at all

    even i format the system totally to start from zero, same thing, i try anther USB keyboard and its work

    i have latest os system, battery full, WiFi is on

    im not export at mac.

    please your help

    • Ulich Maasmeier
      May 9, 2016 at 7:16 am

      Settings > Accessibility > Mouse & Trackpad:

      READ the first sentence.

  6. Anne
    March 26, 2016 at 10:27 am

    my keyboard has been acting really weird. some keys have too be pressed long and hard to work or not work at all..... :-( plase HELP! my shift and brightness buttons don't wok, i have died all troubleshooting. sadly apple support never got back to me regarding m issues. It took me a minute just to type the :-(

    • Dann Albright
      March 29, 2016 at 5:24 pm

      I'd definitely bring it into the Genius Bar and see what they say. Or buy yourself a cheap USB keyboard; that should solve the problem, too.

  7. SBC
    August 28, 2015 at 3:54 am

    I beg to differ. I think they're great keyboards. They're quick and QUIET versus most of the generic PC keyboards we've been forced to use for decades. But some people can't get used to the Apple keyboards for whatever reason. And I've never had a Bluetooth issue with the latest versions.

    But thank God Apple changed the latest keyboard to a two battery model. The previous models used 3 batteries which drove me nuts. You'd be shocked how often you end up with only 2 or just 1 battery in the kitchen drawer! More often than you would think believe it or not. :-)

    • Dann Albright
      August 29, 2015 at 7:24 pm

      I have also found Apple keyboards to be really quiet, which was great as a graduate student. The switch from three- to two-battery was a really good move on Apple's part. Odd numbers of batteries just suck. :-)

      • Mihir Patkar
        August 30, 2015 at 5:43 am

        Hmmm my experience with Apple keyboards has been the opposite in terms of how quiet they are. Of course, compared to mechanical keyboards, they are much quieter. But compared to other chiclet keyboards, not so much. I find Dell and Lenovo (not ThinkPad) keyboards to be far more silent.

        • Dann Albright
          August 31, 2015 at 12:57 pm

          Ah, that could be true; most of my experience with non-Apple keyboards is with mechanical ones. I've never thought of the Apple keyboards as loud, but if the Lenovo and Dell ones are more quiet, that's awesome. After working in a lot of libraries during my post-grad studies, I can certainly appreciate the need for a very quiet keyboard. I usually listen to music throughout the day, and that covers up a good portion of the noise of my Apple keyboard, so I haven't found it to be irritating.

        • Mihir Patkar
          August 31, 2015 at 1:18 pm

          I think my response came out accusatory when I didn't mean it to, sorry about that. I meant that Apple keyboards are good at being silent, but there are others which are far more silent :) I think it depends on what you are used to. If someone who uses a mechanical keyboard uses an Apple keyboard, they'll be super impressed by the low amount of noise. Whereas someone who uses an Apple Keyboard ends up using one of the Dells, they might be even more impressed. I don't really know :)

        • Dann Albright
          September 2, 2015 at 9:39 pm

          Well now I have to go try a Dell. :-) I've been using the keyboard on my MacBook for a long time and my Apple keyboard for a few months. The only other keyboards I've used in the past few years are ones in university libraries, and those have a strange tendency to be super loud.

        • Mihir Patkar
          September 3, 2015 at 7:11 am

          Hahaha now I'm scared that I've talked up Dell too much :D

  8. likefun butnot
    August 27, 2015 at 8:18 pm

    Seriously, ditch the stupid things. They're poor keyboards for people who actually need to, you know, type. They have limited key travel, idiosyncratic layouts and missing keys.

    I bring a keyboard and trackball with me when I have to do work on a Mac.

    • Dann Albright
      August 29, 2015 at 7:23 pm

      I haven't had any trouble with mine at all; I've used a couple different models and they've been fine (except for the weird USB extender issue). My wife has used one for a long time and loves it, too. It's possible that I'm missing something, but it seems like you're just stating a preference for keyboards with longer key travel and a layout that you like. Not an actual reason that they're worse than another keyboard.

      • likefun butnot
        August 31, 2015 at 1:20 pm

        Strange layouts and missing keys for no good reason are extremely problematic for people who can actually type. Short key travel means accidental key presses, another problem for typists, but also one for gamers. These are misfeatures even before discussing issues of battery life and poor wireless connectivity.

        • Dann Albright
          September 2, 2015 at 9:38 pm

          Which keys are missing? I do a ton of typing (I'd go so far as to say I can "actually type"), and I've never had a problem with not having a key for something I needed. I suppose the layout could be weird if you're coming from a PC keyboard, but I haven't noticed anything super out of the ordinary, either . . . which layout differences are you referring to?

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