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MacBook Pro keyboard not working.

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My daughter's MacBook Pro keyboard will not type. What could be the issue?

Hello and thank you for asking your question, with JustAnswer.

Customer:

Several things are going on with her MacBook Pro right now. The mouse is acting as if every click is a "right click," when windows are minimized, the animations are very slow. The keyboard will not work in any app or program.

MacTechTrainer :

Has there been any accidental liquid spills or any accidental drops with the MacBook Pro recently, to the best of your knowledge?

Customer:

None.

MacTechTrainer :

Good. Now how long has your daughter had this MacBook Pro and again, to the best of your knowledge, when did your daughter first notice the issue with the keyboard not typing?

Customer:

She has had the computer for 18 months, and the keyboard first started misfiring today.

MacTechTrainer :

Any recent software updates run in the last 24 hours?

Customer:

No. I thought that perhaps updating the OS might help, but I can’t enter her user name, etc. to buy the upgrade.

MacTechTrainer :

Do you still have control of your trackpad?

Customer:

Somewhat. The track pad is working at about 60% I’d say.

MacTechTrainer :

Okay, that is good to know. Can you use your mouse to click on the “Black Apple” menu icon and select “Software Updates”?

Customer:

Yes.

MacTechTrainer :

I want to see if there are any updates you have to determine if they will be of any use for you in resolving this matter.

Customer:

I just did that about 10 minutes ago, and updated all software and rebooted.

MacTechTrainer :

And still no keyboard functionality at all correct?

Customer:

The delete button works when erasing text from the address bar. The enter button works to submit a web address. I am running software updates again right now. I will let you know if anything changes.

MacTechTrainer :

I believe I have some processes to help you here. Is your daughter’s MacBook a 13”, 15” or 17” model and does it have a battery you can remove without any tools?

Customer:

13" and no removable battery.

MacTechTrainer :

Here are some steps you can try to resolve the issue:

  • First, hold in your power button for approzimately 10 seconds to do a hard shutdown.
  • Once your Mac is shutdown, you will need to perform what is called a “PRAM reset” (Parameter RAM)
  • Locate the following keys on the keyboard: Command, Option, P and R. You will need to hold all these keys simultaneously.
  • Turn on the computer.
  • Press and hold the Command-Option-P-R keys. You must press this key combination before the gray screen appears.
  • Now, hold the keys down until the computer restarts and you hear the startup sound for the third time.
  • Release the keys and allow the Mac to start up.

Please update me and let me know if this works.

Customer:

The problem with that is her password ***** up, and I can't enter it.

MacTechTrainer :

Is she running Mac OS X 10.6.8 Snow Leopard or Mac OS X 10.7 Lion on her MacBook Pro or not sure?

Customer:

When I did the Command-Option-P-R, I didn't hear the startup sound, and it didn't appear to reboot three times. The OS is Snow Leopard.

MacTechTrainer :

I know this may be a tall order, but would you by chance, happen to have the Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard disc available?

Customer:

No I don’t. Just another update – the buttons in the top row are working fine (brightness, volume, etc.).

MacTechTrainer :

Hey that is a good sign. Now to get into your daughter’s MacBook Pro 13”.

Customer:

I am in. I did a soft reset, and it came up fine. When I have an address in the address bar highlighted the ‘b’ and ‘f’ keys move the highlight backwards and forward.

MacTechTrainer :

Ok, this is what I was thinking – if you cannot access your daughter’s MacBook Pro 13” the login route – what if I provide you a procedure that allows you to get into a new user account? So, you can at least have access to the main desktop. Just to test all the functions of the keyboard.

Customer:

Okay, that will be fine. I already have access to the main desktop. I can get into all the programs. I don’t know if that changes what you are thinking.

MacTechTrainer :

I thought you could not get into the main desktop of the MacBook Pro at all? Sorry about that – that is what I misunderstood. Now, having done the PRAM Reset, any changes regarding the keyboard?

Customer:

No changes. Which tells me that the PRAM reset did not recognize that those buttons were being pressed.

MacTechTrainer :

Ok that is not a good sign, because a PRAM reset is a troubleshooting action performed outside of the Mac OSX Snow Leopard environment- therefore if the key functions don't work outside of Snow Leopard's user environment, that means this is a potential hardware issue with the keyboard. Let me check my Mac resources if you would for any known issues with the MacBook Pro 13” and its keyboard functionality.

Customer:

Should I try one more time?

MacTechTrainer :

Actually, not that process, - I want you to try an SMC Reset- which is a bit more able to affect the deeper processing functions of the MacBook Pro. Here is the procedure:

SMC Reset (for MacBook Pro models with batteries that should not be removed without professional support)

  1. Shut down computer
  2. Plug in the MagSafe power adapter to a power source, connecting it to the Mac if it is not already connected.
  3. On the built-in keyboard, press the (left side) Shift-Control-Option keys and the power button at the same time.
  4. Release all the keys and the power button at the same time.
  5. Press the power button on the computer
    NOTE: The LED on the MagSafe power adapter may change states or temporally turn off

when you reset the SMC.

Try this process and let me know if it helps.

Customer:

There was no difference. I am wondering why the login screen comes up when I do the PRAM reset, but not the SMC reset.

MacTechTrainer :

It appears that this is in fact a hardware issue. There is a strong possibility that the keyboard pad may need to be replaced.

Customer:

Could you ballpark how much that is going to cost?

MacTechTrainer :

Without being able to check it myself of course, the intermittent function of some of the keys and then the zero functionality of a number of the other keys does indicate that hopefully, just the keyboard pad just needs to be replaced. Can you provide me with the SN# for the MacBook Pro? I can resource that information for you.

Customer:

Serial number is *****

MacTechTrainer :

I also forgot to ask, do you ever recall purchasing Apple 3 year AppleCare Protection Plan for your daughter's MacBook Pro? I need to determine that, because if you did, then any parts that may need to be replaced on the MacBook Pro 13” would be covered under Apple’s 3-year extended warranty.

Customer:

No, I did not.

MacTechTrainer :

I just finished checking for you in my Mac tech resources and what I have found is that Apple is recommending that an issue like a non-functioning keyboard, should be considered a hardware issue and needs to actually be taken in to a local Apple Retail Store Genius bar or Apple Authorized Service Provider as soon as conveniently possible. No quotes for replacement built-in keyboard are listed due to the requirement of Mac techs first physically performing a diagnostics on the MacBook

Pro in question first. In order to determine if it is really the keyboard that is not working or some other part or component on the MacBook Pro that is causing the issue with the keyboard's inability to function. Apple does not consider this a software issue., but a serviceable hardware service issue

I did check as well as I could, but this is what I was provided.

Customer:

Thank you very much.

MacTechTrainer :

Thank you for allowing me to assist you. From what you are describing, it really does appear that your Macbook Pro's keyboard is failing and I honestly hope it is that part and no internal parts that are affected in this cases. Just for your reference, I have taken the liberty to provide the store locator links to your local Apple Retail store as well as a general store locator for locating any local Apple Authorized Service center in your area.

Apple Retail Store (Genius bar - need to set appointment via this website link, if planning on visiting Apple store of choice in your immediate area) http://www.apple.com/retail/

Apple Authorized Service Provider: http://www.apple.com/buy/locator/

It cost you nothing to have at least a diagnostic performed on your daughter's MacBook Pro, especially if you arrange to take the portable to your local Apple Retail Store

If there are any other questions I can answer for you regarding this matter, please feel free to let me know.

MacTechTrainer and 2 other Mac Specialists are ready to help you

MacBook Pro keyboard not working

Different issues can prevent a MacBook Pro keyboard from working. Typically, the “Mouse Keys” function is turned on. “Mouse Keys” features can be turned on simply by logging into a different Mac account where “Mouse Keys” are already turned on in that account. This could have been activated when syncing “MobileMe,” by using “Migration Assistant,” and transferring another user's settings where “Mouse Keys” were enabled. Another reason this issue could occur is when clicking the “Option” button five times (if the setting is turned on in the “System Preferences.”)

Macbook Pro

Activate/Deactivate Mouse Keys

To check the “System Preference” settings or to activate/deactivate “Mouse Keys” follow these steps

  1. System Preferences” > “Universal Access
  2. Mouse & Trackpad” settings
  3. Off” next to the “Mouse Keys

If the MacBook Pro keyboard is still not working or this does not fix the issue, checking and unchecking the option for “Press Option Key five times to turn Mouse Keys on or off” could help. If a different user is logged in where “Mouse Keys” are not activated, but the keyboard is still not working, move the button for “Mouse Keys” “ON” then “OFF” again. This could help restore the issue.

Additional information on using “Mouse Keys”

When “Mouse Keys” are activated on a MacBook Pro keyboard, the keys 789UIOJKLM and the period (.) control the mouse movement and clicking. However, the remaining numbers, letters, and keys typically cannot be used. MacBook keyboards without a number pad or “Num Lock” include Apple Wireless (2007), MacBook Air, MacBook Pro (Early 2008 or newer), and built-in MacBook keyboard (late 2007). On these keyboards, the following keys should still work properly when “Mouse Keys” are activated: Esc, Eject, Delete, Tab, Fn, Control, Option, Command, Function keys, the arrow keys and Shift.

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