How to Fix MacBook Pro Keyboard Not Working on Startup

Discovering that your MacBook Pro’s keyboard is not working when you need it the most can be incredibly frustrating. From being locked out of your device to facing potential productivity issues, a malfunctioning keyboard can be a major inconvenience. However, worry not, as we’ve got you covered with effective solutions to get your keyboard up and running again.

Troubleshooting Your Mac’s Keyboard

Before we delve into the solutions, it’s crucial to troubleshoot the problem thoroughly. Identifying the root cause will help us apply the right fix. The keyboard may stop working due to several reasons, such as:

  1. Bluetooth Disabled: Check if the Bluetooth is enabled on your Mac as it might cause connectivity issues with the keyboard.
  2. Power-Off: Ensure that the keyboard is powered on, and its batteries (if applicable) are not drained.
  3. Accidental Settings: Verify that the Mouse Keys accessibility settings are not activated, as they could interfere with the keyboard’s functionality.

If none of the above factors seem to be the cause, there might be an underlying hardware issue that requires expert attention. But don’t worry; we have some quick solutions to help you log into your Mac.

Option 1: Log In Using a Wired Keyboard

When your MacBook Pro’s keyboard fails to respond, using a spare wired keyboard is a straightforward workaround. Follow these steps:

  1. Find a Wired Keyboard: Locate an older wired keyboard or borrow one from a friend or family member.
  2. Connect the Keyboard: Plug the wired keyboard into your Mac. This applies to all Macs, including MacBooks.
  3. Log In: Use the connected wired keyboard to enter your password and access your Mac.

Option 2: Log In Using the Accessibility Keyboard

The Accessibility Keyboard is a virtual, on-screen keyboard that can help you log into your Mac if the Accessibility shortcut keys are functional. Here’s how to use it:

  1. Go to the Login Screen: If you see the user login screen, click “Switch User” and proceed to the main login screen.
  2. Open Accessibility Shortcuts: Press Cmd + Option + F5 keys simultaneously to access Accessibility Shortcuts.
  3. Enable Accessibility Keyboard: From the list, enable the Accessibility Keyboard option. The virtual keyboard will appear on the screen.
  4. Log In: Drag the keyboard aside, open your profile, and use the virtual keyboard to enter your password and log in.

Fixing Problems With Your Mac’s Keyboard

Regardless of whether the above methods worked or not, it’s crucial to address the root cause of the malfunctioning keyboard. Here are some additional troubleshooting tips:

  1. Clean Your Keyboard: Dust and debris can accumulate over time, causing keys to stick or not register. Use compressed air or a special cleaning brush to clean your keyboard carefully.
  2. Check Recently Installed Apps: Certain apps can interfere with the keyboard’s functionality. Quit all apps and identify any recently installed ones that might be causing the issue. Uninstall the problematic app to resolve the problem.
  3. Update macOS: Make sure your Mac is running the latest macOS version, as updates often contain bug fixes and improvements that can resolve keyboard issues.
  4. Check Keyboard Layout: Ensure that the correct keyboard layout is selected in the System Preferences. An incorrect layout can lead to unexpected results when typing.
  5. Turn Off Slow Keys: Slow Keys is an accessibility feature that might make your keyboard seem unresponsive. Disable this feature in the Accessibility settings.
  6. Delete .plist Files: If software settings have been altered, delete the corresponding .plist files to reset them to their default configurations.
  7. Reset PRAM: Resetting the Parameter RAM can help resolve various system glitches that might affect keyboard functionality.
  8. Restore Your Mac to an Earlier Version: If keyboard issues started recently, consider restoring your Mac to a previous backup when the keyboard was functioning correctly.

How to Fix MacBook Trackpad Not Working

In addition to keyboard issues, you might also encounter problems with your MacBook trackpad. Here are some steps to address trackpad issues:

  1. Turn It Off and On Again: A simple reboot can sometimes resolve trackpad issues. Restart your MacBook and close the lid when shutting it down.
  2. Disable Force Click: If your MacBook has 3D Touch and the trackpad is not working, try disabling Force Click in the Trackpad settings.
  3. Reset the System Management Controller (SMC): Resetting the SMC can help resolve various bugs and performance issues affecting the trackpad.

Preventing Software Issues on Your Mac

Not all MacBook issues are hardware-related; some might be caused by software conflicts. Taking preventive measures can help you avoid potential problems. Here are some tools that can help:

  1. CleanMyMac X: An all-in-one Mac maintenance app with features like full-system cleanup, professional uninstaller, malware scanner, file shredder, and optimization tweaks.
  2. iStat Menus: A real-time performance monitoring tool that allows you to keep track of your Mac’s health and detect issues early on.


A malfunctioning MacBook Pro keyboard can be a significant hindrance to your productivity and user experience. By following the troubleshooting steps and using the right tools, you can quickly address the issue and prevent future problems. Remember to keep your Mac’s software updated and perform regular maintenance using reliable applications like CleanMyMac X. With the right approach, you can keep your MacBook Pro running smoothly and efficiently.

Why is my MacBook Pro keyboard not working on startup?

If your MacBook Pro keyboard is not working on startup, it may be due to various reasons such as Bluetooth being disabled, power-off, low battery, or accidental settings. You can try troubleshooting the problem or use a spare wired keyboard or the Accessibility Keyboard to log in.

How can I log in using a wired keyboard?

To log in using a wired keyboard, find a spare wired keyboard, connect it to your Mac, and enter your password to access your device.

What is the Accessibility Keyboard?

The Accessibility Keyboard is a virtual, on-screen keyboard that you can use to log in to your Mac if the Accessibility shortcut keys are functional. It is helpful for users with accessibility needs.

How can I fix MacBook trackpad not working?

If your MacBook trackpad is not working, try turning it off and on again, disabling Force Click if applicable, or resetting the System Management Controller (SMC) to resolve potential bugs and issues.

What tools can I use to prevent software issues on my Mac?

You can use tools like CleanMyMac X for Mac maintenance, full-system cleanup, malware scanning, and optimization tweaks. Additionally, iStat Menus helps monitor your Mac’s performance in real-time.

How can I reset the System Management Controller (SMC) on my MacBook?

The process of resetting the SMC depends on whether your MacBook has a non-removable battery or a removable battery. For non-removable battery models, shut down your MacBook, plug in the MagSafe adapter, and press Shift + Control + Option + Power Button. For removable battery models, shut down your MacBook, remove the battery and MagSafe adapter, then hold the power button for 10 seconds.