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How to Fix USB Keyboard is Not Working on Mac or MacBook

There are many reasons behind the USB keyboard failing to work in desktop or laptop machines. We have to dig deeper into the hardware & software side of the problems account and then apply solutions based on it. We have macOS machines supporting proprietary & universal keyboards mechanisms, so it is not a big problem to solve. Let us look at a number of ways to resolve the USB keyboard not working on the Mac.

Wear and Tear

Physical keyboards come in different shapes and are manufactured by different brands for business and gaming. Most of the cheap but branded boards have good build quality and better technology that lasts for several years. The Dell keyboard that we have connected in Windows, macOS, and Linux machines has last over five years and they are prone to wear & tear.

Take a look at the board’s physical condition, USB connector, wire, surface, and other parts of the product. Our 5 years old Dell keyboard requires wire replacement but it is out-of-warranty. Make sure to check out the physical condition of the keyboard and try to fix it or replace it.

Dust & Corrosion

Many consumers don’t clean the peripherals after years of usage, which is up for debate. No one should underestimate the power of dust particles and corrosion. None of the electronic products can handle dust for a long time, and it will reduce the performance of the membrane or mechanical keyboard.

You should take a few minutes to pick up a micro-fiber cloth and 99% alcohol to clean up the keyboard. We recommend the users use a brush and avoid using liquid as it can damage the internals. You should consider giving the physical keyboard a good cleaning to bring it back to life.

Low Battery

Wireless keyboard requires batteries to function, and it requires replacement from time-to-time. Many wireless peripherals owners don’t keep a tab on it, which is a common factor, but you should always take it into account. If you have spare AA or AAA batteries in the storage space then you should consider replacing them to confirm the problem.

USB Ports

USB Ports on the laptop & desktop fail or stop functioning after a while, and it is a common scenario. The pricing of the machine doesn’t matter because electronic products tend to fail from time-to-time and no one can stop it. The best way to confirm the problem is to connect the USB keyboard to another port, and that’s the only solution you’ve got. You can use an air vacuum to clean the dust particles in the USB port because it has been reported that dust can impact performance & connectivity issues.

Restart your Mac or MacBook

Your PC might have problems with drivers or temporary files in macOS, Linux, and Windows. You should take the first step to reboot the machine because it will remove the temporary files that are causing the problem. A quick reboot will assist the crashed drivers or forcibly stopped drivers to start again and the keyboard will start working again.

  • Click on the Apple logo located at the top to reveal more options.
  • Click on “Restart” to restart the machine.

Wait a couple of minutes and the peripheral is working again and you can repeat the process again if it persists.

Reset the SMC

SMC stands for System Management Controller, and you can reset the USB ports if it is having power-related problems. USB ports require power to run the USB devices, and premium keyboards consume higher power than membrane keyboards.

  • Click on the Apple logo to reveal more options.
  • Click on “Shut Down” to turn off the machine.
  • Unplug the power cord from the socket for one minute.
  • Plug the power cord back into the socket but do not turn it back on. Wait for another sixty seconds to let the Mac computer sink in the pool of electricity.
  • Press on the power button to turn it back on.

Now, the electricity will flow smoothly in the Mac computer, and it won’t bother again for a while. You can repeat the process multiple times in a day as long as you turn off the machine correctly.

Connect Another Keyboard

The keyboard driver may not be working properly which is a common problem on all computers. The best way to kick in the driver is to connect another keyboard because it will install basic drivers to support it.

  • If the wired keyboard is not working, and then you should connect a wireless keyboard.
  • If your USB keyboard is not working, then you should connect it to another USB port.

It is a common factor that users connect Flash Drives, iOS Devices, External Drives, Mouse, Keyboard, and other components to the Mac machine. All Mac computers treat USB ports individually, so they can treat connected devices as individual peripherals. Mac will install basic drivers or dedicated drivers available for the third-party manufactured keyboard drivers again.

Bottom Line

Remember, the USB keyboard is not working due to several unknown reasons, and it could be faulty hardware as well. You should not hesitate to seek assistance from Apple-certified engineers.

Nurdin Navodiya
An avid young Blogger, Tech Writer, Web Developer and Founder of


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