I received some sort of keyboard firmware update today. I was restarting my MacBook Pro and was in a rush, so when I saw a message about a keyboard update, I just accepted. I have a MacBook Pro, 15 inch, 2.33 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, for those keeping score at home. To my surprise, when I rebooted, my trackpad and keyboard were dead! Dead dead. Not even available for a PRAM reset during boot.
So I borrowed a USB keyboard and mouse, which worked fine. I tried several things, for two hours, until I found another MacBook Pro EFI Firmware Update.app from Sept. 27, 2007. I installed that, which rolled me back, I guess. Then I got my keyboard and trackpad back.
But I was minutes away from giving up and driving to the Apple Store.
Of course, without the external USB mouse and keyboard, it would have been impossible to do this. At one point I only had an external mouse, and was unable to enter my password to allow the install. I suppose it is funny in retrospect. I wish there was a on-screen keyboard of some sort.


62 Responses to “MacBook Keyboard Problem”

  1. Stephanie says:

    I have this same problem! How did you install this update? My computer tells me that I don’t need the update, and won’t allow me to do it. Thanks!

  2. jeff says:

    Same for me. How did you install it ?

  3. rosenz says:

    I never got any message about not needing the update. I just ran that file and it installed.

  4. JJ says:

    I tried to install this and when I open it up it just says “your computer doesn’t need this update”, then shuts down. How did you get around this?

  5. JJ says:

    Sorry, didn’t see the about comments!

  6. Ape says:

    I have the same problem, It’s a real pain– I’ve tried everything and can’t do the update because it says “my computer doesn’t need this update”…. well obviously it does when the entire keyboard and mouse track stops working every so often. :(

  7. rosenz says:

    Ape: It has been a while, but try finding an earlier update, or a way to revert to the original keyboard drivers. Then do the new update. I don’t remember the specifics. You could always try taking it to the Genius Bar if you have an Apple Store nearby.

  8. Fraser says:

    This could be a hardware problem. I had it and tried everything with no luck (MBP 2.2 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, OSX 10.5.5). Then I stumbled upon this thread:
    http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?messageID=6571108
    The technique in this thread worked for me, however I will try to have the MBP repaired anyway (although some are reporting that the factory fix replicates the same possibility for failure).
    The technique involves actually removing the battery and applying pressure to a small strip of plastic. Sounds totally lame and not something you’d expect from such an expensive product, but there you go. It may get you through the next few weeks, but as I said I am pursuing a real fix form the company. These things should not be held together with bits of tape and paper!
    Read the full thread so you know what you are doing.

    • rolfmobile99 says:

      Hey Folks who still have MBP’s from this era (2007 or so),
      I recently experienced the same keyboard problem: trackpad
      and keyboard completely stopped working. But, plugging in external USB mouse and keyboard did work.
      I found this forum and the excellent link mentioned above
      (http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?messageID=6571108)

      So, I added some tape on that “suspect” flat cable inside the battery compartment, and now things seem to work again.
      Good luck!

  9. Kylie Chu says:

    hey guys!
    my macbook is also having the same problem.
    i’m installing the new update, but my computer says i don’t need the update.i’m using the usb keyboard and mouse as we speak.
    i’ve tried finding earlier updates but my computer still says the same thing!
    can some one tell how to get around this_
    thank you!

  10. rosenz says:

    Kylie: If you are near an Apple store, I’d make an appointment to go to the Genius Bar — probably the easiest way. Otherwise, you can try installing older updates if you can find them still.

  11. paul says:

    yep the pressure on the strip worked for me. my mac was completely unresponsive. As a matter of fact i’m typing this with one hand and pressing the strip with the other. Removing my hand stops everything working.

  12. virgil says:

    QHello QIQam having a very anoying problem with my keyboard.

    QI have a 13inch white QMacbook, QIntel Core 2 Duo. and

    Every time i press the left Shift a capital Q appears… and… when pressing Q key, only appears on capital letter….. and when pressing the Enter key, it also makes the function of the decreasing the volume key….

    HELP ME PLEASE!!!

  13. rosenz says:

    You keyboard is broken. You’ve got to take it in to get it fixed.

  14. Matthew Henry says:

    On the off-chance that the keyboard is the only problem, turn off all Universal Access options and it should come back to life. As for the on-screen keyboard, if you turn on the languages icon in the menu bar, you can turn on the “Keyboard Viewer”, which is an on-screen keyboard.

    If you want to lessen the warping of the ribbon cable, download smcfancontrol, and turn the default up to around 3000rpm. You don’t hear 3000rpm, and its fine on the battery. If you want better cooling when you’re plugged in, set it to change to 5000rpm when plugged in, and you’ll never get heat issues.

  15. Derek Bell says:

    The top row of function keys on my key board stopped working and the keys don’t do what they say they are how do i change the settings of what the top row keys do??

    • The settings is here: System Prefs, Keyboard, Keyboard, “Use all F1, F2, etc. keys as standard function keys.”
      Whichever option you choose, using the “fn” key and the top row will do the opposite.

  16. JoJo says:

    I have a problem with the numbers 2,3 letters w,e,s,d,x,c on my keyboard and other funny things happening with the shift button on my macbook running on Mac OS X 10.5
    No problems with the external keyboard.
    Anyone got any idea how I can fix this???
    Thanks

  17. arjun says:

    hey guys,
    i have the new macbook pro 13 inch
    im having a slight problem with the upper most alphabet line(i.e qwertyuiop)…they have 2 be pressed very hard and work after a while ,or sometimes dont even work ! what could the possible problem be ?
    request ull if any one could help me..

  18. LP says:

    I think it is an hardware problem. Apple says, that there is a fix included in the OS 10.6.4 update, but I don’t think so. After the update my Computer behaves almost normal, but sometimes still strange.

    Here it what I get when I type “sudo dmesg” into the terminal:

    s – received Status Packet, Payload 2: device was reinitialized
    AppleUSBMultitouchDriver::message – kIOUSBMessagePortHasBeenReset.
    AppleUSBMultitouchDriver::checkStatus – received Status Packet, Payload 2: device was reinitialized
    AppleUSBMultitouchDriver::message – kIOUSBMessagePortHasBeenReset.
    AppleUSBMultitouchDriver::checkStatus – received Status Packet, Payload 2: device was reinitialized
    AppleUSBMultitouchDriver::_deviceGetReport – DeviceRequest for reportID 0xc8 returned with result 0xe000404f – retryingAppleUSBMultitouchDriver::message – kIOUSBMessagePortHasBeenReset.
    AppleUSBMultitouchDriver::checkStatus – received Status Packet, Payload 2: device was reinitialized
    AppleUSBMultitouchDriver::message – kIOUSBMessagePortHasBeenReset.
    AppleUSBMultitouchDriver::checkStatus – received Status Packet, Payload 2: device was reinitialized
    AppleUSBMultitouchDriver::validateChecksum – 18-byte packet checksum is incorrect (expected 0x32c, checksum bytes were 0xc8d)
    AppleUSBMultitouchDriver::message – kIOUSBMessagePortHasBeenReset.
    AppleUSBMultitouchDriver::checkStatus – received Status Packet, Payload 2: device was reinitialized
    AppleUSBMultitouchDriver::message – kIOUSBMessagePortHasBeenReset.
    AppleUSBMultitouchDriver::checkStatus – received Status Packet, Payload 2: device was reinitialized
    AppleUSBMultitouchDriver::message – kIOUSBMessagePortHasBeenReset.
    AppleUSBMultitouchDriver::checkStatus – received Status Packet, Payload 2: device was reinitialized
    AppleUSBMultitouchDriver::message – kIOUSBMessagePortHasBeenReset.
    AppleUSBMultitouchDriver::checkStatus – received Status Packet, Payload 2: device was reinitialized
    Warning: audit space low (< 5% free)on audit log file-system
    AppleUSBMultitouchDriver::message – kIOUSBMessagePortHasBeenReset.
    AppleUSBMultitouchDriver::checkStatus – received Status Packet, Payload 2: device was reinitialized

    This is with the 10.6.4 "fix". As you can see touchpad & keyboard are reinitialized again and again. Which means fix from Apple is a hack to make bad hardware work.

    I would apreciate if some of you could post your dmesg and OS X version as well to see if you suffer from the same cause.

  19. curtis says:

    my keyboard likes to add letters on its own like the letter w and x here is an example : two i twyped to and when i type twhe letwtwer bx i gsetw…….
    as you can see this is fustrating also numbers 1234256789012342566…..CAN SOMEONE PLEASE HELP ME. I HAVE A 13IN MACBOOK OSX 10.6.4 WITWH MAGIC MOUSE.

    • Sounds like something may be wrong with it. Have you taken it to the Genius Bar so they can have a look?

    • Evelyn says:

      Curtis, i have the exahsct same problem, as you cå∫n see. How did you fix it? Pleåse, ånything would b very helpful. Thank you

  20. DesperateTraveler. says:

    13 inch white macbook 10.5.8. (late 2008) My keyboard just ceased to work completely, thank G-d have an external mouse and have been typing through ‘keyboard viewer’!!! It’s all i have at the moment and couldn’t be a worse time as things are presently hectic at work.
    ! Worst part is i’m abroad and no apple shop where i am.. Pleaaase HELP :\

    • It sounds like a hardware problem (need to get it fixed by a shop). It could be software — have you kept the Mac up-to-date with Software Update? There have been some keyboard updates here and there.
      Until you get it home, why not just pick up a cheap USB keyboard and plug that in?

  21. FErnando Martinez says:

    Tengo un problema con mi teclado de macbook, no ecribe la letra W,S,X

    • THMP says:

      The same happens to me, from the QWERTYUIO don’t want to work and the backlid neither. That really sucks, can someone help!

  22. John Robertson says:

    I found the actual problem (and solution) – the internal (USB)keyboard/touchpad cable appears to fail internally. If you want to fix it permanently you either have to replace the cable or do some fine soldering work. See this page for details and pictures:
    http://flippers.com/MacBookPro.html
    I hope this information helps someone!

  23. karen says:

    when i type, are erased as i type sometimes and jump around…???

  24. lawrence says:

    hey guys, if my key board is broken ie. a few keys dont work, so by installing the whole topcase will that solve my problem? also because my macbook was bought in korea the keyboard is different, will this cause any problems when i install the new english topcast?

    • I’m not sure what you are asking. Installing topcase/topcast? Not sure what that is.
      If your keyboard is physically not working, then a software install will not fix it. You’ve got to have it repaired.

  25. Yfke Pasman says:

    Hi, I have a 15″ MacBookPro labtop purchased last October and since 2 days on my key board the G-key only works in combination with the shift-key, so only capital letters it doesn’t work if you just press it or when capslock is on. I reloade MAC OS as advised by the Apple aent, I reset the PRAM with didn’t solve the problem. I also ran the hardware test but there are no hardware issues detected. What action miGht solve this problem?

  26. philip says:

    I have macbook white, most keys function ok, a couple dont work at all, a couple show two letters at once and one shows the letter next to it. Any ideas

  27. Julia says:

    Bought a brand new keyboard with number pad this time. Can’t get the Function keys to work. (Brightness, Sound, etc.). No more software updates and I’ve done all I can in System Preferences. Any suggestions?

  28. Gaby de Neef says:

    Let me add to the fun here;-) IMac OS X 10.5.8 been having trouble w/ keyboards.
    First one, numbers 3 stopped funtioning, and letters e d . Replaced keyboard at first all was ok….then number stopped functioning again, now nr. 2 as well whihc is a pain as has the ‘at’ sign with caps. Also noticed that shift key with u doesn’t make U, any longer unless I use capslock.
    Tried both keyboards with other Mac….no problem there. So it’s not the keyboard but the iMac, I guess software. I’ve updated all software and FIRMware…..still no joy.
    What to do? When checking in the show keyboard mode, I notice that F6 key appears to be stuck. Also get a lot of ‘sound warnings’ …Tks for any help.

    • Take a look in your System Prefs under Keyboard with that keyboard plugged in. See if you have it set to something else — like a european keyboard.

  29. Gaby de Neef says:

    Hi Gary,
    tks for response. I am in Europe so have European keyboard, selected language Dutch. I checked System Prefs however, under hardware, keyboard/mouse I only see key repetition speed and repetition slow options? Or do I need to go elsewhere …sorry, but not sure I understand. Tks for your time and trouble.

  30. Petter says:

    HELP !!! I have the same problem as a lot of people have askled for help wioth – but NO answers !!!!!!!! Mac Bookl – typing 8 i k , instead doubles to be “89 io kl ,.”
    Must be a common problem since so many ask – WHAT IS THE SOLUTION ???
    Please helpppppp!!!!

  31. Petter says:

    Thanks for your answer,. but it is a mac book PRO that gets help from napkin pieces !! Mine and a bunch more are Mac Book ()NOT Pro!) and they do not lookl the same !!! So repeationg questioon someone pLEASE help !!!!

  32. Adam1noah says:

    The following worked for me
    (my keyboard wasn’t working except when booting and choosing the startup disk)
    type this in Terminal:

    kextstat -kl | awk ‘ !/apple/ { print $6 } ‘

    hit enter (I had to hit it twice for some reason) and then a list of files should appear which you have to find and delete. I personally deleted only the files that I was suspicious about, and now the keyboard works just fine.

    Just in case, the files I had to delete where located in -> Library -> Preferences

  33. Siem Abera says:

    I have a macbook, and the keyboard and the trackpad just stacked, I can switch on and off on the caps lock but i could’t type in any thing, Even i have tried to mount an external keyboard and mouse but doesn’t work.
    can any body help me with it

    MacBook, Mac OS X 10.6.4

    Blessings

  34. Doug Smith says:

    My office computer is a PC and when trying to use my sales program
    I Series from home (with my Mac Book 7,1) I am unable to use the
    F1 through F12 keys. So before having my hard drive replaced at work a few days
    back, I’d use a “on screen keyboard” that would let me work on the I Series from home. Now the new “on screen keyboard” doesn’t have the F1 through F12 keys
    above the numbers?? Can anyone help me out with this. Thanks

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