How to Fix MacBook Keyboard Not Working on Startup: A Comprehensive Guide

How to Fix MacBook Keyboard Not Working on Startup: A Comprehensive Guide macbook keyboard not working on startup
Are you a proud user of a MacBook Pro or MacBook Air? Have you encountered the frustrating problem of your keyboard not working on startup? Fear not! In this comprehensive guide, we will explore effective solutions to get your keyboard back to full functionality. We’ll also cover related issues, such as MacBook keyboard not working after an update and MacBook Air keyboard and trackpad not working. By the end of this article, you’ll have the knowledge to troubleshoot and resolve these keyboard issues on your own or seek expert assistance if needed.

Common Causes of MacBook Keyboard Issues

Before diving into the solutions, let’s understand the common culprits behind MacBook keyboard problems:

  1. Dust, Liquid, and Debris: Dust, liquid spills, or debris can accumulate under the keys, causing them to stick or skip keystrokes.
  2. Outdated macOS Version: An outdated macOS version or obsolete drivers and firmware can lead to keyboard malfunctions.
  3. Troublesome Apps: Recently installed apps may conflict with system apps, leading to keyboard issues.
  4. SMC, PRAM, and NVRAM Settings: Problems with these system management settings can affect the keyboard’s performance.

Solutions for MacBook Keyboard Not Working on Startup

Let’s dive into the step-by-step solutions to resolve the frustrating issue of your MacBook keyboard not working on startup:

Solution 1: Clean the Keyboard

Apple recommends starting with a simple cleaning process. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Disconnect the keyboard from the power supply.
  • Hold your MacBook at a 75-degree angle and use compressed air to blow out dust and crumbs from under the keys.
  • Rotate the MacBook and repeat the process from all sides to ensure thorough cleaning.

Solution 2: Check the Batteries

If you’re using an Apple Magic Keyboard with a built-in battery, ensure it’s charged or try using a different cable or USB port.

Solution 3: Check Bluetooth Connection

For Bluetooth keyboards, check the Bluetooth connection settings. Re-pair the keyboard if needed.

Solution 4: Check USB Connection

For USB keyboards, unplug and replug the keyboard. Test different USB ports to rule out port issues.

Solution 5: Check Wireless Dongle

If your keyboard uses a USB dongle, check the connection by trying it with another device and using a different USB port.

Solution 6: Try Another Keyboard

If possible, test your MacBook with another keyboard to check if the issue is with your current keyboard or software.

Solution 7: Update macOS

Ensure your macOS is up to date. Go to the App Store, search for updates, and install any available updates.

Solution 8: Restore the Previous Update

If the issue occurred after an update, consider restoring the previous version of macOS.

  • Go to the Apple menu, click Restart.
  • During restart, press and hold Command+R keys until the Apple logo appears.
  • Select “Restore from a Time Machine Backup” and follow the on-screen instructions.

Solution 9: Reset SMC (System Management Controller)

Reset the SMC to fix hardware-related issues:

  1. For MacBook with T2 security chip:
    • Shut down the MacBook.
    • Hold Ctrl+Option+Shift from the right side and the power button together for seven seconds.
    • Release all keys and turn on the MacBook after a few minutes.
  2. For MacBook without T2 security chip:
    • Shut down the MacBook.
    • Hold Ctrl+Shift+Option from the left side and the power button together for ten seconds.
    • Release all keys and turn on the MacBook after a few minutes.

Solution 10: Delete Recent Apps

If the keyboard issue started after installing a new app, consider removing it using Launchpad, Finder, or CleanMyMac.

Solution 11: Delete .plist Files

To fix MacBook Air keyboard and trackpad issues, delete .plist files that store application preferences:

  • Open Finder and press Command+Shift+G.
  • Type “~/Library/Preferences/” and click Go.
  • Locate the following files and delete them:
    • com.apple.driver.AppleBluetoothmultitouch.trackpad.plist
    • com.apple.driver.AppleHIDMouse.plist
    • com.apple.driver.AppleBluetoothmultitouch.mouse.plist
    • com.apple.preference.trackpad.plist
    • com.apple.ApplemultitouchTrackpad.plist
  • Restart the MacBook.

Solution 12: Reset PRAM (Parameter RAM)

Resetting NVRAM and PRAM can also resolve keyboard and trackpad issues:

  • Turn off the Mac.
  • Reboot while pressing and holding Command+Option+P+R keys.
  • Wait for the gray screen, then release all keys.
  • Allow the Mac to turn on automatically.

Conclusion

In conclusion, we’ve covered a wide range of solutions to tackle the issue of your MacBook keyboard not working on startup. By following these steps, you can resolve the problem on your own. However, if the issue persists or you’re unsure about troubleshooting, it’s always best to seek help from Apple or an authorized service provider. Ensure the safety and functionality of your MacBook by using genuine Apple parts and services for repairs.

Why is my MacBook keyboard not working on startup?

The MacBook keyboard may not work on startup due to issues such as dust, liquid spills, outdated macOS, problematic apps, or incorrect settings. You can follow our comprehensive guide to troubleshoot and resolve the problem.

How do I clean my MacBook keyboard?

To clean the MacBook keyboard, disconnect it from the power supply and use compressed air to blow out dust and debris from under the keys. Repeat the process from different angles to ensure thorough cleaning.

Can I fix the keyboard issue myself?

Yes, many keyboard issues can be resolved by following the solutions provided in our guide. However, if the problem persists or you’re unsure, it’s best to seek help from Apple or an authorized service provider.

Should I update my macOS?

Yes, updating your macOS can often resolve keyboard issues caused by outdated software. Go to the App Store, search for updates, and install any available updates.

How do I reset the SMC on my MacBook?

To reset the SMC on a MacBook with a T2 security chip, shut down the MacBook and hold Ctrl+Option+Shift from the right side and the power button together for seven seconds. For a MacBook without a T2 chip, hold Ctrl+Shift+Option from the left side and the power button together for ten seconds.

What if none of the solutions work?

If none of the solutions fix the issue, it’s recommended to seek help from Apple or an authorized service provider for professional assistance and ensure the safety and functionality of your MacBook.