Has your Apple Mac external USB keyboard stopped working?

This is a very brief post, offered in the hope that it may help someone save the time that I wasted trying to get my Apple USB keyboard to work after it stopped responding.

Basically, the keyboard sometimes worked when plugged in to my MacBook Pro Retina, but sometimes just totally failed to respond, and the mouse plugged into its extra USB port didn’t work either when this happened. If I plugged the same mouse directly into the Mac, it worked fine.

Resetting the Mac’s SMC and PRAM had absolutely no effect. Either the keyboard would work, or it wouldn’t, seemingly at random.

Eventually I found this thread on the Apple website, and followed the rather bizarre advice of adding a USB extension cable between the keyboard and the Mac (luckily the keyboard comes packaged with one). Bingo! Keyboard fine, mouse plugged into it also fine.

So, if your Mac USB keyboard suddenly stops working and you can’t figure out why, try adding a USB extension cord or plugging it into a powered hub instead of directly into the Mac.

I have no idea why this works but it does!

340 Comments

  1. my apple mac keyboard never stopped working for more than 10 minutes, i fixed it by restarting the mac but it’s weird sometimes

  2. Thanks so much. That worked immediately. Do you have to leave the extension on, or will the keyboard fix itself later?

  3. I’ve left it on. Figured I’d play safe.

  4. Hi, Nice Post. you raise some really great points. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Thank’s for your tips! You saved my life (or computer ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

  6. wanted to say thanks! I wasted over 4 hours dealing with this and once I found your advice it instantly worked. Thank you so much

  7. I had no idea this was such a popular issue!

  8. Hi, nice post. What a helpful Article.. Thanks for sharing!

  9. LOL
    It worked for me too after 1year the USB keyboard only worked in one of my USB ports. Added an extension and now works everywhere…
    Thanks, but apple should definitely look at this.

  10. Wired keyboard was working fine and then just stopped, mid sentence. I rebooted several times. Restarted too. No change. Tried keyboard on another port and it worked fine. I got some old USB extension lead out of my box of odds and sods. Inserted between the original non-working port and it worked. I removed the lead and it didn’t work!! Reinserted and I’m now typing out my experience.

  11. I work in a computer lab at a school and unfortunately wasn’t around when all the computers were set up– so there are no extension cables (the techs must have thrown them out with the packaging).

    Will this trick work with a standard USB extension cable?

  12. OMG… thank you so much!

  13. I love you! finally it works ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. THANK YOU VERY MUCH!!!!

  15. Finally, a solution that works! I’ve been having this issue for 1.5 years, even been to the Apple store and they replaced the logic board. Which didn’t fix it. Thank you!!!

  16. Same thing here with Apple wired USB keyboard. It worked great under Snow Leopard, then Lion, then Mountain Lion but with Mavericks… I get it working from time to time but after many disconnect/connect operations. Really frustrating!

  17. @Lana, I haven’t tried a non-Apple extension cable. Why don’y you try it and see?

  18. Thanks mine just stopped this morning will try when I get home.

  19. Thanks for the Solution Mate. Now it is working again !

  20. BRILLIANT – simple practical tip has ended weeks of frustration and ineffective web surfing – THANKS

  21. Love ๐Ÿ™‚ the article. Mine is working great now.

  22. Amazing! It works! After months of frustration and even fury! Thanks so much ๐Ÿ™‚

  23. That’s why I don’t use a Mac lol.

  24. Wow, weird… how and why does this actually work! Thanks loads for the heads up on this one ๐Ÿ˜‰

  25. http://www.cnet.com/news/mac-keyboard-not-working-mouse-keys-may-be-activated/
    If it is already uchecked, check and uncheck. Worked for me.

  26. Awesome – thank you. Worked perfectly!

  27. Thanks so much — worked for me too, ended months of confusion over a sporadically malfunctioning keyboard! So that’s what the previously ignored keyboard extension cable is for? To actually make the keyboard work? This has been frustrating me since November, when my last keyboard starting sleeping on the job, so I replaced it. Bought my new Mac in July, so it’s curious it took months for the problem to first rear its ugly head. Wonder how many new keyboards Apple sold since this started happening. Thank you!

  28. Sorry to drop a negative in here, but …. keyboard stopped working, used the extension lead fix, worked for a few days, but then suddenly stopped working again. Tried the Nils fix (no 25 above) with the extension lead still fitted, worked for a few days then stopped again. Plugged / unplugged, working. Removed extension lead, working …. as I type. A permanent fix, anyone? In the meantime, think I’ll get the keyboard replaced as it’s nearly out of warranty ….

  29. Did a websearch to find exactly a solution for this problem. Thank you for sharing; saved my day.

  30. Thank you. Worked for my MacBook Pro 2014 model, as well. However, this is absolutely ridiculous.

    I’m guessing that due to the non-standard plug of the Apple keyboards (with the “gap”) occasionally the remaining connection cannot deliver enough power to support the keyboard. The extension cable has a wedge that fits into the keyboard plug’s gap creating a full USB connection.

    Apple – it just doesn’t work…

  31. Thank you so much!!!!!

  32. Thanks a million! I was just getting ready for another run to the local Mac servikce – third time in one and a half years.

  33. This trick works for me too!

  34. thanks! worked for me too. how bizarre

  35. For me, the solution was to shut of Bluetooth. Weird because the Keyboard is USB and I never had a Bluetooth keyboard connected to this Mac. I do have a Bluetooth mouse, and they both worked after turning it on again.

  36. Crazy, but your suggestion works! Thanks

  37. Thanks very much indeed! Instant success.

  38. It works! Amazing what one finds on the Internet. I have been struggling with this issue for weeks, finally giving up with a work around (crappy old Dell USB keyboard). Read this, found an old USB extension cable and FIXED! Why this works is a mystery. Thanks!

  39. Bingo, it worked, thank you! What’s up with that? Any longterm fixes for this issue?

  40. Similar issue to David. Very frustrating as adding the extension is a temporary fix and issue starts again, multiple times. These keyboards appear to be defective or more than likely an iOS issues. Starting to be a lot like the other systems (: aRGH

  41. Thank you very much, adding an extra extension usb in the middle solved my problem. Saved me a lot of time, thank you again.

  42. Adding extension solved the problem, thanks much!

  43. Brilliant! This simple tip has ended hours of fruitless restarting unplugging and restarting. Thank you so much ๐Ÿ™‚

  44. That has fixed the problem. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Bizarre !!!!!!!!!!!!

  45. Many thanks worked for me on my iMac – weird

  46. Bang on the money, I fitted the extension and it worked, thank you

  47. Wow. What a pain in the neck! Thank you so much for posting this. Saved me a lot of time messing around.

  48. Incredible. I know I’m not adding anything new to this thread of comments, but I have to say it: Thank you so much!!
    Your post has saved me from a lot of stress and frustration. I couldn’t believe it when I tried it and worked!

  49. Thanks. I have had repeated keyboard issues. I bought half a dozen keyboards before I realized it wasn’t the keyboard, but something in the mac pro. If anyone knows why tis happens beside having the great fix it would be nice to understand what the device is doing. For me I have repeated issue of the shift key sticking as well.

  50. This is crazy but solved immediately following your advise!!
    Thanks!!

  51. Magic! Saved me wasted time. Thanks.

  52. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS! it worked instantly! i thought at first it’s the keyboard to realise that the problem is the macbook pro retina (bought in mid-2014)! i can’t believe i spent the entire evening trying to solve this by updating the sw, rebooting the os, reseting the settings…!

  53. SUPER INFO! IT WORKED. I’ve been going crazy all day with my new MacBook Pro. Even called Apple Care Tech support and they don’t know much about it at all.
    Lucky me, I had an old extension cord lying around. Hooked it up to my keyboard and VOILA! I am typing on it right now with this message. Bowing down in adoration . . . thank you!

  54. I’ve been searching for hours for a solution to why my keyboard suddenly wouldn’t work after upgrading my OS. This is the strangest advice I found, and the ONLY advice that worked!! THANK YOU!!! XOXO!!!

  55. Thanks for the info share.
    Seems to be a common problem.

  56. It worked for me as well. Still wondering why such a simple connection would not work.

  57. YEARS I’ve been mad at the computer for killing my keyboards. I’ve gone through four so far with this damn problem and now find all of them work with this trick. Unreal!!! THANK YOU SO MUCH

  58. Brilliant! This works! Thanks for saving me time, money and possible frustration. Much appreciated.

  59. It saves me a lot. Banging my head what’s wrong with Mac, it started working by using USB extension to mac

  60. THANK YOU!!!! it was getting so frustrating. Working perfectly now! So easy!

  61. Thanks! I am using an old USB keyboard connected to my 2014 iMac because the computer decided that the Apple keyboard didn’t exist. Ironically, Apple has nothing in its support that addresses the wired keyboard. I have already returned one keyboard to Apple when this happened to me last fall; perhaps I should do the same with this one. Since the problem clearly is not going to be solved by getting a third Apple keyboard, I’ll use this far more reliable solution!

  62. OMG this has been driving me crazy for MONTHS!!!!! Thank you for sharing this fix

  63. Yessss! My USB keyboard stopped working overnight and I’d tried rebooting and changing ports without available. Tried your extension cable trick and it works! Can’t thank you enough!

  64. The extension did not work for me. Caps key does not light up green. I continue to get a message saying that there isn’t a wireless mouse or trackpad connected.

  65. This fix has no bearing on wireless mice or trackpads. That’s a separate issue.

  66. Thanks. Did what you said and it worked. Can now stop yelling at my kids for tech support.

  67. Well. I went so far as to buy a new aluminum keyboard that worked when I plugged it in but quit after a little while… Just got back home from an evening out, found this post, grabbed an extension (the Apple extension was ALREADY inline), added it to the line to the keyboard and danged if that didn’t work. Who knew?!?!?!

  68. Worked instantly…..luckily still had my old mac and wireless keyboard until I stumbled onto this site!!! Excellent! Thank you!!

  69. And this advice worked perfectly for me too. I have been fiddling around trying all sorts, switching USB ports, plugging unplugging etc etc What a very weird phenomenon.

  70. I have encountered this problem for 6-7 months. Exchanged one keyboard thus far. The Apple USB extension cord seems to be a short term fix. It will work for while with my 2014 MacBook Pro ( retina). I will change to a non-Apple keyboard when restarting doesn’t get it to work. Ironically, once I connect the non-Apple keyboard, I can usually swap out the non-Apple with the Apple keyboard and it will work for a week or so. Very strange indeed!~

  71. Turning mouse keys did nothing, nor did plugging in the keyboard extension cable. This is the third keyboard in less than a year (this one has failed in less than two months!). The left shift and control keys don’t work. I need to talk to Apple about this on Wed. when I take the keyboard back. I’m considering another keyboard altogether.

  72. Weird, but worked. Thanks a bunch!
    So I figure the last time I bought a new keyboard was totally unnecessary…

  73. I found the same solution by accident. One day my keyboard stopped working on an iMac and no matter in which USB port I tried to connect it, it didn’t work. I have a small USB extension (not an Apple product, something cheap and random I used to USB memory sticks), and plugged there the keyboard and voila! it worked. When the keyboard fails again, I connect the extension to another port and that’s it. I think is very, very bad that an Apple product connected to another Apple product, has this behaviour for years!!!!!

  74. Thanks! IT’S ALIIIIIVE!

  75. Man, amazing tip. It is the only thing that worked, thanks a lot!!!

  76. Works like a charm! THANK YOU! @Apple, can you please go and fix this in your OS? Look how many people are affected by this! (And this would be the tip of the iceberg!)

  77. I have the extension and a few of my keys still will not work. I have to copy paste a space in order for it to work on safari. Figures I’d be the only one who wasn’t saved by an extension. ๐Ÿ™

  78. I live in South Africa and am enormously grateful for this advice. Tried everything else on the net. Thank you again

  79. Goodness Gracious! I couldn’t get my computer to recognize my keyboard through a new Belkin USB hub. Then I put the USB extension cable between the keyboard and the hub, and it started working perfectly!

  80. No you’re not the only one. I used a standard USB connection and certain keys aren’t functioning I have an extra apple keyboard.
    ร€nd, I connected the spare one and it won’t work at all. I guess it’s time for a wireless board. Did they plan it this way? I am so surprised at how many people have responded.

  81. Thanks for this! I’ve been banging my head (and keyboard) against a wall for almost a year. Apple even replaced hardware in my mac and nothing worked until this.

  82. Wow…. works. This has been puzzling me for ages. I almost bought a bluetooth keyboard, but I like the extra USB ports on the keyboard so much (when it works….)

  83. Thanks, you helped me a lot!

  84. Wow. I’ve never replied to these before as I managed to sort but this was causing me RSI fiddling with interment connections. Off / ON / OFF ? restart etc ..
    Thanks
    All good now!

  85. Thank you so much for posting this advice. I wasted so much time mucking around with other suggestions until I saw your post which fixed it immediately. Most grateful!

  86. Superb. Many thanks for sharing this.

  87. Unbelievable. You just saved this keyboard from the rubbish! Superstar!

  88. It worked!
    Very odd that this suddenly happens after years using this 2008 iMac and keyboard without any problem.
    Thanks!

  89. Thank you so so much…. Cannot believe this fixed it!!

  90. Worked for me too (July 4, 2015). Bizarre – I guess the extra cable adds some resistance/impedance that the USB circuit requires. Apple should issue new keyboards for people like us with a built-in solution.

  91. I had this exact problem, and read on some forum that vacuuming the keyboard might help. Not having a vacuum nearby, I tried blowing into the USB plug. To my surprise the keyboard was suddenly fully functional again. WTF.

  92. Thank you so much. You’ve saved me going nuts! The Apple numeric keyboard just stopped working on my MB Pro Retina but worked fine on my iMac and my wife’s Windows PC. I added the extension cable (which I had not previously used) and everything works fine again! This is nuts butI’m happy again! Thanks.

  93. Worked brilliantly for me too. My replacement keyboard is only 12 months old and stopped working. Thankfully this solution got it working again. Perhaps this solution could have saved my last keyboard from the scrap heap! Thanks

  94. Thank you xxx

  95. What a star! Just had a mild panic that I wouldn’t be able to find the extension cable but … found it and … it works! Thanks so much. Not right that we should have to do this though.

  96. bada-bing! thanks a bunch

  97. I started having this USB keyboard not working problem with my iMac and I found that plugging the USB keyboard into an inexpensive USB hub fixes the problem for me.

  98. WOW!! That actually worked!!! Thankyouthankyouthankyou!!!!!!!!

  99. Thank you so much!! This immediately solved my problem.

  100. Surprisingly it worked ๐Ÿ™‚
    Thanks alot

  101. Try pressing the option key 5 times. Worked for me.

  102. Cant believe it, it worked straight away!

  103. thanks. life saver!

  104. Thank you so much for this!! I was about to throw out my keyboard and now it works again. ๐Ÿ™‚

  105. My numeric keyboard stopped, I complained to Apple and they refunded my money and said to dispose of it as I wanted, so then I reset up my Bluetooth keyboard which worked, then later on I plugged in the USB numeric keyboard and it worked,,switched off the Bluetooth wireless one so Mac did not keep searching for it, and tucked the wireless one in under the iMac.

  106. My KB stopped again after installing updates andl like Jeff said I have now added a cheap USB four way hub extension into the mac the keyboard into that.
    And it works now.

  107. Great thanks. It worked for me.

  108. Thank you. Keyboard works but mouse still not connecting.
    You saved me getting a new keyboard which is what the Apple Support page suggested!

  109. Can’t believe it is this big of an issue. Worked instantly for me.

  110. Worked a treat, thanks!

  111. Thank you! Iยดve been struggling with this for months, and spent hours looking for a solution. Youยดre a life saver ๐Ÿ™‚

  112. Keyboard went dead. Reboot did not help. Fixed after unplugging USB and plugging it back in. Easier than the “extension” trick, so if it happens to you, try this first.

  113. Used imac / keyboard at lunch time, came home and key board not working. Added in extension cable and hey presto it works ???
    Tried the restarting and using another port neither of which worked.

  114. Thank you!! I’ve had issues before when the keyboard was plugged into an extension so was surprised this was the fix – but it has worked a treat!

  115. Thank you so much for taking the time to write this post. Very very grateful!

  116. USB extension cable worked for me too. Keyboard was working fine via USB hub, but today suddenly stopped working. Tried various recombinations, but USB extension cable into MacBook Retina Pro USB port did the job. Disappointed by this fault.

  117. The extension cable fix worked for me before. But today my keyboard stopped working again. The extension cable alone didnโ€™t help. So I tried a few things and ended up plugging my phone into the keyboard (keyboard still attached by extension cable to my Mac). Bingo, that worked.

    So it seems to help to plug something into the keyboard as well. Or it was just coincidence. This whole thing is weird.

  118. I just spent an hour trying to figure this out and your solution worked immediately! THANK YOU SO MUCH.

  119. I was going to return the keyboard to the mac store but you saved me! Thank you! Anyhow it’s a shame that a device that cost so much doesn’t work very well.

  120. I’ve had this issue multiple times and it’s always taken me hours to resolve and usually it just decides to start working randomly again not through anything I’d do…But this solution worked for me, thanks so much for the tip…hopefully the same thing doesn’t start happening with the extension cable now haha….

  121. The extension has worked for me until today. I restarted, did a safe boot…nothing worked. So, I got a toothpick and carefully cleaned out the ends. And it worked!

  122. Hi .. I was facing the same issue on my MBP running Yosemite .. I followed your steps and Voila .. it started working ๐Ÿ™‚ .. thanks for this article !!

  123. I have the opposite problem. I have my keyboard on a Belkin USB extension cable and that has worked fine for years. All of a sudden, the keyboard no longer responds if it is connected to that USB extension cable. Bought a new cable – same behavior.

    Plug keyboard directly into the Mac – works fine.

    Mouse works quite fine on the extension cable.

    Very strange behavior

  124. Thank you so much!! I was ready to toss it out the window. Now I am typing this on my very functional keyboard. You saved me much time by being concise with directions.

  125. Thanks

  126. Thankyou!!

  127. Thank you so much!

  128. Thank you!! I already bought one new keyboard. When the new one stopped working …

  129. Thanks a lot !

  130. Great trick! Thank you so much for sharing!

  131. Well I am blown away. To date I have gone through 3 keyboards, hours of frustration trying to solve a problem which does not have any logic. Plugged in the extension lead I have had for 10 years and never used until now- BINGO. Brilliant post

  132. Thank you very much, you saved me a trip to the apple store and a bunch of $$ ๐Ÿ™‚

  133. OMG this has been driving me crazy for MONTHS!!!!! Thank you for sharing this fix.
    But, why is this happening? I don’t get it.

  134. OMG, thank you, thank you. I restarted my iMac for updates and once again the keyboard stopped working. Had an old keyboard on hand which works perfectly, but now both keyboards work, YAY! Thank you again.

  135. Thank you this worked brilliantly. I’m plugging a mac keyboard into a pc laptop and it has been working sometimes but then would not work the next time I turned on the laptop. I think it just isn’t recognising the mac software and the extension disguises this.

  136. Thanks so much for the tip! My keyboard worked fine until I upgraded to Yosemite and began experiencing problems. I tried an older Mac keyboard and it worked so I returned the keyboard to the Apple store. The new keyboard did fine until a few weeks ago. I ended up zapping the PRAM and it worked again until today when it inexplicably died again. I tried zapping the PRAM and a safe boot and neither worked. I surfed into this forum and tried the USB extension and it worked!.Thanks so much for the tip!! It must be tied to Yosemite and how the new OS handles USB somehow. I had zero problems before upgrading.

  137. Mark said he plugget his phone into the keyboard and that it helped. So as I didn’t have an extension cable I tried plugging my printer to the keyboard and turning the printer on.
    Didn’t work, but when I unplugged the printer from the keyboard again….
    I am typing ๐Ÿ™‚ It is working ๐Ÿ™‚
    More smileys? ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ˜€

  138. Worked like a charm! Thank you so much for sharing!

  139. Great advise. Seems working fine with extension… But it’s really weird!!!!

  140. The extension lead trick works.
    Another suggestion I found Googleing around is “unplug everything, power down the mac, hold the power button for 5 seconds. Once the system has rebooted then reattached all peripherals.” (I have not tried it yet, though).

    What is crazy about all this is that this issue has been pointed out since the realease of Mavericks (I think it’s 2 years now) and Apple never solved it.
    So much for the unerring MacOs myth.

    Thanks for your post, by the way.

  141. OMG I didn’t think this would work but bingo ! worked! Keyboard stopped working, tested on another machine to rule out being an issue with my machine – about to chuck it away but thought I’d check with Dr Google and whaddayahknow!? This works!

  142. Amazing, it works! Yippee! And the man at Apple said it sounded like a hardware problem and I’d have to take my Mac to them! Thank you so very much for sharing and saving a lot of people a lot of heartache!

  143. OS X El Capitan
    Version 10.11.1
    21.5-inch iMac, late 2012

    Yet another confirmation of the USB extension cord trick on another of the Macsโ€ฆnew OS, same old problem.

    My wife just did the latest update for El Capitan. After the restart the wired Apple USB keyboard wasnโ€™t reading no matter what port I plugged it into.

    The Bluetooth set-up window came up searching for the bluetooth keyboard that came with the iMac that we have stuffed in a drawer (why doesnโ€™t apple make a full-sized bluetooth keyboard?).

    I found this post and tried the USB extension trick and the keyboard worked immediately.

  144. Bizarre solution – but it just worked for me! Thanks!

  145. Wow! Worked like a charm. Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  146. Haven’t tried this yet… will wait until it happens again, which I’m sure it will. But wanted to share this similar work-around, in case any geniuses can figure out why this is happening.

    When the Apple keyboard doesn’t work on startup, we switch it for an old MacAlly IceKey unit we use on an old Mac. Type something, then switch to the Apple keyboard — and voila! the Apple keyboard works again.

    Stranger than fiction…

  147. Thank you!! Works perfectly – life saver!

  148. THANK YOU!!

  149. Thankyou!!!
    spent 35 mins trying to fix this issue this morning and this is the only thing that worked!!!!!!! – i love apple but when things go a bit wrong they drive me crazy!!

  150. Fantastic – worked a treat! Thanks so much for posting that solution.

  151. Thanks! Just tried it and it worked for me

  152. Thanks so much! This was such a huge pain and now it works!!

  153. Thanks! “It just works” with the extension cable plugged in, weird though that it’s needed…

  154. I suppose all El Capitan users with a USB keyboard will have to learn this trick sooner or later. Thank you, this tip ought to earn you a geek-knighthood.

  155. Thank you very very much for this tip. It works indeed, how strange this might be.
    It saved me a new keyboard ๐Ÿ™‚

  156. ???? It worked!! Thank you and I agree you should get a Geek Knighthood!

  157. It works!!!

    I’ve had the key board problem always after a power failure.
    I took it in and after two weeks they gave me a new one. I was so happy… but soon again the problem came back. I plugged in the extension and it works… very happy!

    THX

    Thank you!!!

  158. Thanks for this solution! My iMac wired keyboard is working again! (I just had to find were I had stored the USB extension cord!)

  159. Thank you. Works brilliantly.

  160. Genius it worked- after a frustrating trip taking it back to the store where of course it worked!

  161. After months of absolute frustration and many ugly words, I found your solution. I dug out the box my keyboard came in and there was the extension. With nothing to lose expect the will to live with this keyboard, it worked. As simple as that. You are a star, thank you for sharing.

  162. This worked and I have not found another reason or exploit that could fix it. Macbook Pro retina with external apple keyboard and a logic wireless mouse USB transmitter plugged in. I do have Logitec’s Special software “Unifying” for the mouse installed on El Capitan but it did not make a difference for this problem.

    Thanks for keeping this solution live!

  163. Ridiculous, but the extension fixed the problem, for now.

  164. Thanks a lot. Can confirm this worked for me, even with a non-apple extension cable.

  165. Tried all the suggestions above on keyboard with number pad connected to my wife’s IMAC Nothing worked. Tried it on My MacBook Pro. Nothing worked. Hate to spoil the party but guess I am off to Best Buy for a new one. Only M and U keys refuse to work.

  166. Just updated to 10.11.2 – went pretty smoothly- yesterday. Bluetooth was turned off and I couldn’t turn it on. Recommended solution was to turn off the computer for a couple of minutes and that worked. Seemed to be some issues with putting a computer to sleep and it not finding the bluetooth mouse upon awakening. Put it to sleep this morning and couldn’t wake it up tonight, so had to reboot, but then no recognition of the wired keyboard. Tried a couple of things, but this worked. Thanks so much

  167. Solved my problem, thanks!

  168. For me the problem was Android File Transfer. After disabling it my external keyboard started to work again without the necessity of the extension.

  169. Thanks !!!!!! It works

  170. Works a treat! (Now I wish I hadn’t torn out my hair over this problem ;-))

  171. Un-be-lie-va-ble…for me it worked as well…I was getting so enormously frustrated, right before an important deadline my keyboard just stopped working…was about to spend more money but came across your post…I’m over the moon again, thanks a million!!

  172. Wow, thanks! Works like a charm ๐Ÿ™‚

  173. Thank you for saving hours and $$$. Wired keyboard just stopped working. Glad I found your site and save a bunch of time. Usually I want to understand the “why” things work or don’t, but today….I just want to get work DONE! THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!!

  174. Excellent advice! It worked perfectly. Very thankful

  175. THANK YOU!

  176. Unfortunately this solution did not work for me. I already had the extension on it when it suddenly stopped working. I’ve tried everything. The only time keyboard works is when it’s plugged in directly to MacBook Pro. Anyone have another idea?

  177. Worked. MacBook Pro (15-inch, Mid 2012). I wonder if the USB plug from the keyboard and the socket on the computer get worn and the unused plugs on the extension make better contact. Thanks for posting.

  178. Got my keyboard going again after all the rebooting and changing ports failed – many thks!

  179. Worked straight away – thankyou – it was a random issue and very frustrating but plugging in an o;d powered USB hub I had lying around and bingo worked straight away !

    Much Love and thanks

  180. Thanks so much for posting this text! It frightens me. I bought for the first time a Mac (MacBook Air Early 15), because everybody says it is more reliable and practical than a ‘normal’ PC, and I am dealing with several of these issues. They have to do with bad design.

  181. Mark-#117 has an interesting point. I didn’t have any issue with the wired Mac KB until I used the USB port on the KB. after that day I had this issue. luckily the usb extension fix worked for me but not sure if it will come back soon as for other people… I am going to try avoiding using the usb to see if that is the problem, unfortunately the handy sub port on the KB is the only reason I went with the wired KB in the first place! ????
    Apple needs to address this problem! especially on a 50 buck wired KB!

  182. Didn’t work for me as the extension was already connected when the keyboard stopped working. Any more ideas?

    I’ve rebooted, tried it without the extender, tried different usb ports and nothing. ๐Ÿ™ Thanks in advance.
    My OS is El Capitan on an iMac.

  183. Bingo! Thanks You very much. 20 second fix to a 4 month problem.

  184. It worked!!! So glad I came across this!!! Thanks a bunch!

  185. I have not tried the USB extension trick suggested here; however, I do have a solution that seems to work for me.

    I own both the original aluminum Apple keyboard with the return key situated between the third and fifth rows of keys (as shown in the picture above), as well as the revised version where the return key sits between the second and fifth rows of keys. If I unplug the second revision, plug in the first revision, and then plug the second revision back in again, everything goes back to normal. I have no idea why this works.

    This behavior occurs every time there is a power failure.

  186. Extremely disappointed with this so-called “premium product”. I can buy a PC for ยฃ250 that won’t have a problem with its keyboard. Ever. In fact, has anyone ever had a PC with a keyboard that suddenly stops working? And if it does and the keyboard actually is stuffed, does it cost ยฃ5 or ยฃ45 to replace it?

    Where I work, we had around 45 brand new iMacs put in about 2 years ago (first batch of the curved-back ones) and at least half of them have had this issue with keyboards. I assume the other half have been fine because the keyboard leads were shorter for some reason and we had to use the extensions straight away.

    That over TWENTY of these machines have had this failure and the only solution my supplier will give me is “buy some USB extensions” is pretty poor. If it were possible, I’d send each one back to be repaired or replaced, only I expect the same problem would still occur when they came back.

    Utter junk. I don’t buy into the “it just works” spiel. That doesn’t seem to have been the case for over 10 years now, anyway. I also don’t buy into the fact that a relatively basic computer should cost the best part of ยฃ1000 just because it’s got some shiny metal on the outside.

    If the machines actually worked properly then the price MIGHT be justified. But they don’t. And the worst thing is that Apple has some kind of magical influence over people which means they’ll just put up with it or be happy to work around it. Spend some of that ยฃ1000 on decent components, not curvy aluminium with no disk drive in it.

    Arrogant, dictatorial, reducing quality to enhance profits and getting away with it (and not just with iMacs).

  187. This works completely!! Thank you so much! The extension cable even comes with the keyboard!

  188. Wow, thanks! Works like a charm ๐Ÿ™‚

  189. Surprise. Fixed with usb extension cable.

    Thank you so much.

  190. Hello,
    I have a I mac 2007 , suddenly the keyboard was stop working, and back on again after I re-start works well,
    then after sleep mode, keyboard is non responsive.
    I keep traying the method of SMC still not work.
    Then I found this site put the hub , bingo, problem solved
    thank you.

  191. I have a late 2013 iMac with OS X 10.9.5
    Tried resetting the SMC numerous times and resetting PRAM numerous times with both the USB connected keyboard(Shown in the display) which refuses to respond and with the shorter wireless keyboard that came with the iMac that continued to work. Nothing fixed the issue.
    Adding a short 5″ long extension cable eliminated the problem. How strange is that. Thanks for the advice. I’m saving this site. Would love to learn what the problem is and why this “Trick” fixes it.

  192. what a weird solution but yes it works perfectly now by using the usb extension cable. Thanks for posting your solution

  193. WOW. This has been driving me crazy for 2 years, I almost laughed when I read a thread on the Apple support site where a few had posted this worked. I had tried all manner of solutions including hubs and 3rd party keyboards. Adding the white extension cable fixed it. I can’t imagine why but it worked.

  194. Yep, it worked. Very strange and from the number of responses above you would think Apple would come out with an explanation/solution! Where are you Apple, you owe all on this list a response!

  195. This has plagued me for a long time. I finally found the answer: Unplug the keyboard, wait five minutes and plug it back in. I have had two failures recently and this works.

    Adding the Apple extension cable probably worked for some people because they left the keyboard unplugged for a few minutes while installing the cable.

  196. Worked also for me… as my keyboard stopped working yesterday.
    I GUESS that the reason comes from some High frequency used for the power supply for USB.
    The length of the keyboard wire could be in a kind of resonance,absorbing all power in the keyboard wire, and than the power supply stop working.
    adding a few length (or shorting the wire, which is much more difficult) and the resonance is not there anymore…
    as Ham radio operator i could imagine something like this, as I saw already some very funny and weird behaviour in the high frequency world….
    In the ham radio world we want to have wires (read antennas)in resonance…with minimum SWR, (standing wave ratio), to get the most of power to the antenna and into the air…
    For me the keyboard wire was acting as ยดperfectยดantenna…
    but why now suddenly?? upgrades, changes of the frequencies for the power supply ??WHY is the question, maybe apple is reading through it and find out what to do for a next upgrade,until then using an extension cable, even when it is only 20cm long

    Hans

  197. Using the supplied USB extension worked for me. Weird. Thanks for the post.

  198. thanks!! this fixed my annoying problem!

  199. Unbelievable extension cable plugged in and it works, and no it didn’t take me 5 minutes to add the extension cable.
    Great solution, Thank you guys… ๐Ÿ™‚

  200. Thanks! Illogical but works!! Also can restart computer which wastes time!! Like your solution better.

  201. Worked for me but its strangest thing I have seen with computer hardware. I some what agree with @hans.

  202. Thanks so much!
    Had been struggling with this for over a year and was convinced that it was a software issue.
    Completely counterintuitive solution but works perfectly.

  203. Unbelievable, but it works. Thanks to @hans for explaining physical background – couldn’t believe without it. ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป

  204. Thanx! Had same issue here. Keyboard stopped working after Macbook Pro woke up or was disconnected. Not every time. And usually disconnection and reboot helped. But it doesn’t anymore!

  205. You saved me from my sleepless nights!!!!!! After 2 months now it works like new…thank you sooooooooo much!! Why Apple does not inform their customers about this?

  206. Found this on another site, it’s the easiest solution I’ve seen, I kept searching because I didn’t have the USB extension: stick a usb memorystick in the keyboard and re-insert the cable, or charge your cell phone via one of the USB ports on the keyboard. Charging my cell phone did it for me immediately, no need for USB extension. Keyboard works as before.

  207. Just came across this while I searched for an answer. Today (and for the first time) my Apple keyboard stopped/froze while plugged into my Macbook Pro. Mouse stopped working too. I tried it on another computer and it worked fine. I tried another keyboard on my computer and that worked fine. But my original keyboard wouldn’t respond.

    That’s until I plugged in a USB extension as suggested. Now working fine. Weird!

    Thanks!

  208. You sir, deserve a knighthood.

  209. This apparently doesn’t just affect keyboards but other USB peripherals aswell, I had an old Intuos drawing tablet that wouldn’t be recognized on a Macbook Pro but worked flawlessly on other computers. I simply plugged in an extension cord or USB hub inbetween the tablet and the macbook, and voila it works.

  210. Don: good to know!

  211. Is there an official recogition from Apple on this or will they sit it out like in most cases?
    I bougth an used (can not complain to Apple) USB-kb having same probs with connection to cinema-disp or directly to MBAir. For me the fix unfortunatly does not insure a reliable performance. still quits working from time to time.
    no one up for class-action lawsuit? ๐Ÿ™‚

  212. Why the fuck does this work. I’m so pissed off right now I was about to throw this over priced piece of shit out the fucking window. Thank you. You saved it. Maybe you could give the fucking dumb ass mother fuckets over at AppleCare a goddamn clue!
    Have a great day. I’m going to fucking Yosemite. The real one.

  213. Worked for me too !!! that’s so crazy that this works. I was so frustrated because of the randomness. some days it would work, some days, it just laughed at me. this morning i woke up very early to get some work done and the damn keyboard wouldn’t work! read your post, plugged in the extension, and now i’m writing this comment with the keyboard i was ready to chuck out the window. THANKS !!!!

  214. thank you! this has been bugging me for a year… !

  215. This is crazy… it works and I am happy. But what does the extension cable add to all of this (technically)?

  216. It could be a tighter plug connection (the keyboard’s own USB plug slips in and out of a MacBook Pro’s USB sockets very easily – maybe too easily), or it could be the extra capacitance or resistance introduced by the extra cable length. Really not sure.

  217. Thank you so much for this information. I was lucky enough to come across your post first and had the problem solved in a few minutes.

  218. Been having the same problem on a recently purchased new El Capitan iMac using a USB Apple keyboard. Just trying your solution – putting into a USB hub – has worked immediately.
    Thanks for posting it all those months ago. Shocking that Apple seem to not care a damn, as I have a very recent iMac.

    Have also had Safari freezing with the little rainbow wheel whirling for minutes – so I now have to close if with a Force Quit. Then it generously send an immensely long report to Apple – but not a word to me !! It makes you feel as if the basic business model from this angle is “The customer comes last”.
    That said, I’ve had great service from Apple Support calls – free. So there’s good apples and bad ones ….

  219. works perfectly on the first time! thanks

  220. Plugging the USB keyboard directly into power source worked. Keyboard is working again.

  221. I got into this because my wireless (magic) keyboard batteries were dying and didn’t have any new ones handy. Besides I like the extended keyboard with the 9-key pad, extra Function keys and the HOME key. Don’t have a USB extension handy but will try an old powered USB external later. Has anyone tried to use an Apple USB keyboard at the same time as an Apple wireless mouse??

  222. WOW I took my computer in to the genius bar and they reformatted my hard drive and they could not reproduce this problem at all while I was there… Now since i have been home for about a month.. it started happening again. THEY HAD NO IDEA what was happening and nor did they tell me to use the extension that came with the keyboard!!!! BANGS MY HEAD ON THE DESK. I now have the extension plugged in and will see if this problem recurs later.

  223. Hi guys,

    Thank you so much for taking the time to post this. I note Johan’s comment (#35 On 27 Mar 2015 at 09:07, Johan) about turning off Bluetooth. As soon as I did this and plugged the USB keyboard in, it started working again. WTF!!!

    Anyhow, I re-enabled my Bluetooth mouse and all seems to be working properly once again.

    I have spent countless hours talking, live chatting and emailing Apple support and reformatted OS X.

    Here’s hoping this helps. I am now going to email the Apple support person and let them know about this. Who knows… They may release a patch.

  224. My thing was a bit different, I was trying to extend my apple keyboard with a USB 2 extension cable, but it would not work. First I plugged it into the the mac keyboard extension cable which is only 3 feet long, basically useless, Apples keyboard has that nub in the connector so it can’t connect directly into a third party regualr extension usb 2 extension cable, then I tried plugging the keyboard into my old USB 2 powered hub that reaches my mac pro, and it worked fine, then I plugged the keyboard back into the extension cable directly into the mac pros usb 2 port and now it works… strange…. Perhaps zapping the PRAM would also cure this issue as it resets your ports.

  225. Hi,
    I had another trick: when it stops working, I plug it into my colleague’s macbook pro, confirm it works on his mac, unplug it and plug it into mine: starts working again. Works every time.

  226. It stopped for me and did’nt work for about a month.. but today morning it started working Wolaaaa ๐Ÿ™‚ am happyy.. btw great job keep it up

  227. Thanks, I had this happen today and was very annoyed. I plugged in the cable, which for some reason I had kept, and it is now working.

  228. Bizarre, after using Windows and Linux for decades I just assume USB keyboards to function after hibernation without a hiccup. I didn’t anticipate an issue with Apple and yet here we are. This extension solution appears to work with my MacBook Air. My desktop is a little more cluttered but that’s a small price to pay for my sanity. I had hoped for better from Apple but like they say the grass is always greener.

  229. Thanks! You are awesome!

  230. Thanks!!!!!!

  231. saved my day and keyboard

    tks

  232. This solution has worked well for me for a year or so. But today this no longer works either. I have plugged in another (non-Apple) key board into one of the USB ports and the original mouse into the other USB. This all works but there are now no available USB ports on the MBP. This is a ridiculous problem – what is wrong with Apple to not address it!!

  233. This has been a frequent problem for me aswell, but strangely this solution worked perfectly for me as well, first try! Thank you for posting this, from both me and my wallet.

  234. I’ve been suffering this one for more than a year. I never thought it would be so simple… any sticky connection in the internals of the keyboard?

    Thanks!

  235. Thanks, simple solution but it works. Still a part of me likes to know why this issue isn’t solved yet by Apple.

  236. I can confirm that this is still an issue with Sierra (iMac 21.5in) and a real pain because the PRAM suggestions rely on the “option” key being detected AT BOOT – once the OS is loaded, the keyboard works fine and the mapper shows the correct key presses are being detected. Interestingly, I swapped out another (Mac) wired keyboard, and that worked fine WITHOUT the extension, but the extension solved the problem with the original keyboard and the important keys are correctly identified at boot. My very sincere thanks to the stalwart Andy for posting this – I am COMPLETELY lost, but I can’t deny the evidence of my own experience – thanks Andy !
    Simon

  237. Thank you! This worked brilliantly without the hassle of resetting anything.

  238. This was an intermittent problem with our iMAC wired keyboards. Solution was to make up a small USB thru adapter with 330nF capacitor across the supply pins.

  239. Life saver!!!

  240. YES it works. Amazing. Thank you.
    Apple…. we need to talk.

  241. wonderful, thanks a lot. it worked immediately with my Macbook Air.

  242. Holy crap, you totally rock! As I have been the designated “techie” of the family my elderly mother has called me from her home state periodically over the years with the “USB Keyboard isn’t working” complaint. Stumped (I hate being stumped) I’ve advised her to get a new keyboard. I didn’t want to do it again & I luckily came across this thread. I’m amazed she still had the USB extension cord- and the fix WORKED! I am in your debt, sir, seriously!

  243. I have been suffering through this starting about a year after I purchased my iMac (27-inch, Late 2009). I did what you suggested, and to my hope/surprise, it worked like a charm. I have tried every, and I mean everything else, including taking it into the Mac Store. Now that I have updated to Sierra OS, my bluetooth keyboard has been a pain to pair. I have to actually erase the keyboard, and pair it as a new product every time my wired keyboard went out. At least that will no longer be a problem, thanks to the new fix. Thank you Andy Towler!

  244. Thanks a lot – worked like a charm. Amazing indeed. My best explanation from above is the improved power conductivity through the extension cord’s connector…. Am interested to learn the truth!

  245. Wow. I have a model 14.2 withMacOS Sierra and latest update yesterday. I have two wired extended keyboards that don’t work like the numerical keypad, the t the this and that. The other runs the volume up to max. I tried the extential directly to the mac and to a 3.0 hum with or without extension. Nothing changes. Is there a specail keygoard that has to be selected? Do you reboot after changing the configuration. I an’t belive I broke two of thier keyboards. I am no using a dasKeyboard ,. A few more tries and I given up; I might think it is the added memory but the first keyboard broke before that. Must have spilled coffer or water that mess it up. I don’t like the small wireless and I bought the wrong logic key board that is just as small but it does have three buttons that you can use to switch from computer to tablet to phone. My streak of things breaking is now officially on again.

  246. I have the opposite: if my keyboard is connected threw a USB hub it does not work. But the problem is only present at login.

  247. Works for me to on a 2015 macbook pro which is connected to an older 27inch imac to have a bigger screen. I inserted a powered USB hub in the left usb port and can use my wired keyboard again. Problem solved. I’ll bookmark this thread and hope to learn what is really going on.
    Thanks.

  248. Thank you so much!!!!! My Mac mini keeps refusing keyboards all of a sudden and randomly. Twice so far. I saw this message and now it works fine… Thanks!!!

  249. Don’t know if anyone will read this all the way at the bottom, but its worth going to accessibility(used to be universal settings) and checking to see if Mouse Keys is turned on. If you press the option key 5 times it can get turned on which would make your keyboard appear to not work all of a sudden.

  250. After upgrading my iMac to Sierra, my extended USB keyboard was not recognized. I called Apple support, and they gave a simple fix not mentioned above. It works. Unplug the Mac from the wall, wait >15 sec, plug in, reboot holding the start button for at least 15 sec. So far (one week later) this is a permanent fix.

  251. Yep, just worked for me too. Again!
    Isn’t this a weird thing, folks.
    Thank you from a frustrated iMac + extended keyboard owner.
    Bruce XXX

  252. Same here. This is an incredibly (simply) brilliant fix to an incredibly stupid problem.

  253. I rarely comment anywhere on the internet.
    But this post literally just saved me from buyung a new keyboard.
    Why on earth does a USB extension cable fix this?
    unbelievable.

  254. Thank you! Worked a treat.

  255. Basically, the keyboard sometimes worked when plugged in to my MacBook Pro Retina, but sometimes just totally failed to respond, and the mouse plugged into its extra USB port didnโ€™t work either when this happened. If I plugged the same mouse directly into the Mac, it worked fine.

  256. Worked very well

  257. Brilliant! You also saved me buying a new keyboard. Such a simple fix but it works.

  258. wow, this worked for me – Thank you and Merry Christmas.

  259. Bazzar… but the extension cable worked… thank you

  260. Yep, that’s bizarre, but it has worked. Now I just need to get a cable-tidy …

  261. Apple: It just works.

  262. So weird – I used the extension cable workaround approx. 2 years ago when my wired external keyboard stopped working and it worked.
    However, mid-sentence yesterday, my keyboard stopped working again… this morning it was typing random characters in my mac logon box so I couldn’t even access the computer… and now it’s gone completely dead.

    I’ve tried rebooting, resetting the SMC, cleaning the USB port and ends, unplugging and replugging, plugging it directly into my macbook pro (I usually use it via a Thunderbolt screen) and still nothing. Sigh.

    Any ideas??

  263. It’s possible that the keyboard has actually failed this time, rather than just giving the appearance of failing that can be solved with the extension cable.

  264. it works! thanks!!!

  265. After hours of troubleshooting I found your advice. Adding the extension cable WORKED!!! Thanks!

  266. Instant fix, after a sudden keyboard disconnect after rebooting to fix a spinning ball Finder. Tried all the USB ports, sans success. Frustrating after never having the problem previously–new iMac, keyboard only a year old. Truly a WTF problem and obviously from the trail of respondents, not a rare one.

  267. After doing this, called Apple Support. They suggested the following:
    1. Unplug all USB devices.
    2. Shut down the computer.
    3. Unplug the power cord and wait 1 minute.
    4. Plug in ONLY the keyboard.
    5. Replug in power cord. Wait 30 sec.
    6. Restart computer.
    The keyboard was now recognized, and subsequently replugging in all other USB devices also works. Apparently, this process resets the power supply to the USB board, which is the issue.

  268. It just worked for me – 2 years on. Thanks for putting it up in the first place.

  269. 267 worked on my Mac Pro. I did not try the extension cord. The issue only occurred when I had to restart which was rare as this machine runs 24/7. I would normally use an old keyboard to enter my password as normally the current keyboard was functional after the restart. Now I will do an unplug power down at restart. Thank you

  270. I found that out myself and then did a search for “apple keyboard only works with extension cable” which brought me here! Amazing Apple, the way you design your stuff. It’s not even compatible with your own stuff.
    By the way, I ALWAYS have this problem after having run Windows and rebooting into OSX. It’s very annoying and it drives me nuts. I don’t want to use an extension cable because it’s extra clutter on my desk. I also don’t want a Bluetooth keyboard because it doesn’t have a numpad. ARGH!

  271. My usb keyboard, which is about 1 year old, worked fine until I installed the most recent system update. On restart I was unable to type in my password, so I can’t even get into my computer. I will try Bruce’s suggestion, but I’m baffled why a system update would turn off the power supply to my USB.

  272. OMG, this usb cable trick worked when nothing else did! I have the keyboard pictured. Thank you

  273. Has anyone found out from Apple WHY this is happening?? I’m one of the ones that this “trick” does not work! It worked initially but after a day, it’s back to it’s old error message with the bluetooth message asking to install a keyboard! I don’t even have a BT keyboard! It’s USB and it should be as simple as any other USB device BUT it’s frustrating as hell!

  274. Hey Bruce, thanks for taking the time to write that. It took some time and I had to change USB-C port, but in the end it worked.

    I’m on MBP 2016 with TouchBar (which is useless, by the way)

  275. Yep that fixed it thanks

  276. I bought my Apple USB Numeric Pad Keyboard 17 months ago and had no problems until yesterday when the ‘esc, tilde, tab, and caps lock’ keys all stopped working. Nothing I’ve done so far seems to have rectified the problem, including the USB extension cord trick. Looks like I’m off to buy a new keyboard.

  277. I seriously can’t believe this has worked – so random but THANK YOU so much!!

  278. Had same problem fed up replacing batteries I went to a wired keyboard. Yup more by trial I found that I have to plug the mouse into extension cable to move mouse for password. Then once highlighted by mouse plug keyboard into extension usb to input text. Then plug mouse into keyboard which is on ext usb to proceed. When finished & shut down I then return usb to back of mac. On restart following day it ether works or I have to repeat the above. Its very random and annoying considering how much all the kit costs. Also being random you never seem to be able to resolve it. May work for weeks then one WHAM its back1

  279. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!
    I’ve lost SO many lost hours of work because of this problem. I’m so grateful to learn this fix.

  280. Worked like a charm. Bizarre.

  281. Also worked for me. Bizzare, but grateful. Thank you!

  282. That’s crazy. But your solution resolved my issue. Thanks!

  283. Wow! This is unbelievable that Apple has not fixed this problem since first reported in Dec 2014. I have a 2016 iMac and my keyboard was fine until I did an update today – then whammo! No keyboard. This fixed my problem (in a very stupid way). Thanks so much!

  284. UNBELIEVABLE! Was still on all caps because your outside the box solution worked! This has driven me crazy several times to the extent I took my USB Apple keyboard to a computer store when it wouldn’t work any which way – but it did there! Then it quit again a few days ago. I wonder if its the USB connection from the keyboard going into the iMac has gone bad but not enough to not work with the extension cord? Thank goodness I had one in my desk since I bought the iMac! Anyway – many, many thanks!

  285. Your solution worked for me, too. Many thanks. Yes, it’s nuts.

  286. Same here! The keyboard works fine on our MacBook Pros. It didn’t work at all when we got a MacBook Air.

    The MBA has only USB 3.0 and our MBPs have USB 2.0 but that may just be a coincidence.

    Anyway, this fix worked for us too soโ€ฆ thanks!

  287. My keyboard stopped after turning off desktop and a great tip, both an extension cable and plugging into a hub brought it back.

  288. Thank you for posting this! Easy (and strange) fix.

  289. Awesome. Usually I “resolved” this issue by repeatedly plugging the keyboard in and out but some days I had to use a PC keyboard as the Apple one wouldn’t “wake up” at all. Luckily I do have a powered USB hub and that works indeed. As many agree, it’s odd but effective. Cheers!

  290. FIXED! This worked for me, thanks Bruce Becker! The extension worked for me too, but this was better.

    Apple Support suggested the following:
    1. Unplug all USB devices.
    2. Shut down the computer.
    3. Unplug the power cord and wait 1 minute.
    4. Plug in ONLY the keyboard.
    5. Replug in power cord. Wait 30 sec.
    6. Restart computer.
    The keyboard was now recognized, and subsequently replugging in all other USB devices also works. Apparently, this process resets the power supply to the USB board, which is the issue.

  291. Apple will not fix this. Their attitude is: our hardware/software is integrated and after 2 years, you all should just buy new stuff. They literally do not give a rat’s backside. Their user forums are to pretend to care.

  292. My issue was that I had an apple keyboard plugged into my macbook pro and I unplugged it and plugged in a non-apple keyboard just to test the new keyboard. When I plugged my apple keyboard back in, the macbook pro wouldn’t recognize it. What finally worked for me was to unplug the apple keyboard, restart the computer, then once it’s back on, plug it back in. The message about identifying the keyboard will come up and just do what it says, chit the key to the right of the shift key on the left side of your keyboard. When I did that, a message popped up saying that I had hit a key on an apple keyboard, and that was it. It worked again.

  293. Does the trick. Every Mac OS upgrade made my USB keyboard (and USB mouse) defunct. The cable extension really “jumpstarts” the keyboard into working again.

  294. UNREAL! THANKS!

  295. That worked for me also! prob a connection thang!

  296. For those that bought a second hand mac. Apple can order you the USB extension. I paid $15.80CAD. Item Number: 922-8254, Item Description: Cable, Extension, wired keyboard (2007). Buying this item is cheaper than a new wired keyboard that could suffer the same issues. This solved my problem.

  297. This is insane. This old post still saved me this morning! Thank you.

  298. Spray wd-40 in usb port and mouse plug and reboot; it will work!

  299. I have tried using an Apple USB extension and a non Apple USB extension…neither worked. I have tried plugging it into a powered USB port…still does not work…tried the back of the computer…NOTHING! Tried restarting the computer…again, nothing. Any other suggestions???

  300. This utterly bizarre fix has worked!!! Absolutey fantastic, Thankyou so much.
    One thing I noticed is that the usb connector on the keyboard is very weak and slipped in and out of the Mac very easily, whereas, the extension cable grips the connector very firmly and takes a noticeable shove to go into the Mac so it could be that the keyboard connector wears out over time (all the wriggling and wiggling of moving the keyboard about) and the extension cable has refreshed the connections?
    Thanks again.

  301. Plugging into the powered USB port worked???????

  302. OMG! Thanks!

  303. Even more fascinating: I was using an Apple USB keyboard with a MacBook Pro running Windows 7, when suddenly the keyboard stopped working. I have a second MacBook Pro running Sierra, and when I transferred the the keyboard over to it for testing, nothing. It was dead to both machines, regardless of operating system. I tried the USB extension hack, and it worked instantly with both operating systems. There must be something going on at the driver/power level, as some commenters have speculated.

  304. This worked for me just now. Thanks so much!!

  305. Perfect fix. But what a farce Apple, still a problem 3 years on.

  306. Thanks for this tip! It worked for me on a late 2016 MBP 15″ with touchbar. I’m using a small Satechi USB-C multiport dongle and it has been wasting a ton of my time.

  307. This is a joke. Happens to me very often whenever unplugging the keyboarding. Thus rendering a Macbook Pro Laptop useless for a joint laptop and docking station. Wastes literally hours and hours of time rebooting, finding solutions, reading blogs and establishing previous state especially on terminal. Losses all terminal history in each term window. Total nerdy bullshit. Never happened prior to 2014 Macbook pro and Ive had four generations since 2001 so far.

  308. So this happens to me too (hence me being here to find a solution). FWIW, I do have something to add to how it seems to be caused when I see this issue.

    I ONLY have this problem when I disconnect my external keyboard while the laptop is closed or sleeping. This is mostly a guess, but it seems like the laptop holds on to the USB addressing for devices attached in that state and even reconnecting the same device to the same port doesn’t jog it into recognizing the device properly. The only consistent recourse I’ve found is to just wait it out (about 10-15 minutes – I’m guessing the timeout to the OS forgetting about the lost device). After that, the device works fine – no reboots or USB extensions or hubs needed.

    I see the same issue with an external drive, so it’s made me hyperaware of the issue. If this were a PC, I’d know where to go in the control panel to drop the devices and allow the system to redetect them fresh, but Mac’s OS doesn’t make those settings easily accessible from what I can tell.

  309. weird thank you so much worked first time ! But why?

  310. Thank you so much!!! This helps me saving every morning for about 1-20 minutes of my time and a lot of frustration!

  311. I’d like to add to the information pool here, since I’ve had variants of this problem.
    I have a Mac Mini (the last one with a Superdrive) and have used a Microsoft Natural ergonomic KB and a MacAlly USB dotMouse for years (I like the 2 distinct buttons and the scroll wheel). I’ve never used Apple KBs for literally decades, as the beginnings of Carpal Tunnel drove me to ergonomic KBs which have really helped that problem.
    This KB and mouse cimbo worked fine for a good long while but started getting wonky after I upgraded to El Capitan, then Sierra, and now High Sierra. It got so bad, that I was having to replug the mouse and KB into the USB hub every 15 minutes or so!
    Research online suggested that when one has a lot of USB connections, that sometimes the Mac fails to recognize some of them. So I got a wireless MacAlly 2-button mouse and left only the KB plugged into the USB hub.
    This seemed to clear things up for awhile, but then the KB started its disappearing act again. So, I considered getting a Bluetooth ergonomic KB, but the selection out there mostly seems to boil down to a Logitech KB with meh reviews and no numeric keypad. I stalled.
    Then I tried to just plug the KB into the USB hub that was directly plugged into the Mini. (I had the KB plugged into a hub that was plugged into that hub! Why? Because I’ve got too external HBs, an external Apple webcam, and a Samsung external Superdrive (because the Superdrive in the Mini died a little over a year after I bought the Mini.)
    That seemed to work better, but every day or so the KB would still konk out. Rebooting would fix it, but what a hassle.
    So, I searched further online and came across this comment thread. I now have the KB cable plugged into the USB extension cable and that plugged into the USB hub. So far, so good. I hope this is of some help to someone.

  312. Still works! Thank you. I was so upset until I found this thread!

  313. WHAT THE DUUUUUCK! Months of fighting and molding the usb connection of my keyboard to make contact, sometimes it worked and sometimes dont, today I was having a hard time fixing it, so I search for the solution and end here!

    It worked like a charm! Thank you so much Andy Towler!

  314. P.S. to my #311 comment. Plugging into the USB hub was still problematic. Ultimate solution, plug the KB directly into the Mac USB port (with the USB extension cable between the KB cable and the Mac). That finally seems to have done the trick. Happy New Year all!

  315. So what is the answer for a wireless keyboard that works intermittently?

  316. Works like a charm! Thanks. Hard to believe this problem (and this solution) has been around for years and Apple hasn’t done anything about it.

  317. Big llooooooollll.. It worked !.. What crap is this

  318. Thanks so much!!!! can’t believe this was the fix!

  319. THANK YOU FOR THIS!!!!

  320. Well that’s right up there with the king of strange. My wife’s USB keyboard could not be recognized by her recently repaired iMac. I was looking for instructions on how to take it apart, thinking a loose connection might be the problem, then I found this blog entry, tried a USB splitter (which did not work) and an extender, which worked right away !!

  321. Cheers mate, you’re the only one who gave the right solution to this nagging problem, thank you!!

  322. brilliant, it works. thanks!

  323. Wow! Thanks so much!

    Plugging it into a powered usb hub fixed it immediately!

  324. 2018 and this solution is still relevant, thanks!! Wasted so much time switching ports and keyboards and configuration. Unbelievable that one has to resort to this: just make a keyboard work perfectly as a keyboard (like on a PC) first and not a USB hub with 2 ports!

  325. works! thanks so much!

  326. When I clean my USB keyboard, it stops working on the iMac. However it does work on the MacBook pro. Bizarre.
    USB extension lead solved the problem. Happy days and thanks for the tip

  327. For what its worth, I have a uesd Mac purchased from Walmart last month. It came with El Capitan and the left capitalization failed, upgraded to Sierra and comma failed, upgraded to High Sierra and I discover spotlight has been grayed out for who knows how long. Along with this has been a reluctance to recognize my wireless keyboard and MMII, a separate purchase.
    I noted that my machine has 2.0 usb so ordered a 2.0 extension in the hope that this usb extension will somehow heal the problem. Note that I am typing with commas as I am using a Logitech wireless with built in touch pad that astonishingly works wirelessly with no problem. Except the punctuation keys are IBM and not Apple so do not type the desired mark.
    I note that combo keyboards/touch pads fell immediately after intro so whatever this problem requiring more usb wire seems to stem from, it may not have been a problem if the combo keyboards had been continued!!

    Ms Kate Sisco

  328. This is still a great solution, thanks much for posting this.

  329. Thanks, it works!

  330. Wow. This just fixed my issue on a 2016 iMac with 10.13 installed. 4 years later, this issue is still coming up, and this blog post is still saving people…

  331. Great solution: worked on my Macbook Pro 2017, where I had an apple usb keyboard connected to the two usb-c ports via a Satechi USB c hub. Suddenly the keyboard did not work anymore. Simply adding a usb extension cord did the trick!

  332. Just worked for me! Crazy.

  333. I works !!! Thank you so much!

  334. Hi Andy
    333 is such a perfect number, sorry to ruin it with comment #334. However, I thought my case is worth mentioning. I believe you’re right about USB extension cord but in my case it was the opposite! This problem began after I added a USB extension to my Apple keyboard (albeit a rather long, non-Apple generic one). Perhaps I’ll try an Apple extension cord in future. But now I can fix it, so you helped me too, thank you!

  335. Yep, that did the trick with a Mac Pro.

  336. Mine was working on and off, and would start up hours after plugging it in. Adding the extension worked. I think its a bad flux capacitor!! Truly bizarre!

  337. Thank you! After attempting multiple other methods, this is what solved my issue. Really appreciated.

  338. OMG! OMG! Thank you so much for this post. Iโ€™ve spent 2 panicky hours trying to login to my almost brand new 27 in Mac desktop before finding your post. It worked perfectly! Now I can use my computer again. Thank you๐Ÿ˜

  339. You totally fixed my Mac USB keyboard! This pro tip was no where to be found on the apple support site for “troubleshooting your Mac keyboard.” Thank you much!

  340. Amazing! How such a little trick fixes it. My mac usb was not typing and I went to bestbuy, tech looked a me like I was crazy. $5.00 late for usb ext and it worked first time. Thank you!

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