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Is there a way to lock the keyboard in Lion? By "lock keyboard" I mean some way to make the computer ignore almost any keypresses, except some special "unlock" sequence. Maybe an OS X feature or utility? It's a laptop, so I can't just unplug the keyboard.

My desire stems from using my laptop to skype with my toddler's grandmother. The kid bangs randomly on the keyboard and interrupts the call. It's more fun if she can get up close to the screen, but then grandma disappears.

Any advice appreciated.

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up vote 7 down vote accepted

I hope this helps. Lockey, It looks to me like it is the very thing that you are looking for.

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I use KeyboardCleanTool, which ignores all keyboard input. It was created so you can clean the keys without accidental key presses, but obviously would work for your situation too.

It's free!

To unlock, just use the mouse to click the unlock button.

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I like free. But the kid bangs on the track pad too, so that would unlock it. – Leopd Jun 4 '12 at 14:58
Could you shield the trackpad, maybe with some MacGyver thing that has suction cups? – Reid Jun 5 '12 at 18:33
You would have to move the mouse to the unlock button and click on it, not just click on anything anywhere. If you're really worried that would happen, you could also hide/minimize the window, requiring someone to track to the dock icon, click, track to the unlock button, and click again. Not likely to happen by random banging on the trackpad. – iynque Oct 12 '15 at 17:56
Since Mavericks, you must allow the app to access your keyboard by going to System Preferences > Security & Privacy > Privacy > Accessibility. Under the text Allow the apps below to control your computer make sure you tick KeyboardCleanTool – Adrien Be Nov 27 '15 at 18:24

One free solution would be to use Ukelele to create a new keyboard layout. If you save the blank file that it starts with as "null keyboard" or something to that effect, all the letter keys will be blank. That means that Q and other such combinations will not do anything when that keyboard is selected. Save it to ~/Library/Keyboard Layouts. To switch to this keyboard, enable it using the Language and Text » Input Sources System Preference Pane (if you haven't assigned it a name in Ukelele, it will be called, very creatively, "new keyboard". Then select it via the keyboard menulet.

When you want to re-enable the keyboard, again go to the menulet and select your default keyboard.

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Nice idea in theory, but with the Ukelele's blank keyboard, many keys still register, including the arrow keys, delete, enter, tab, and the function keys (e.g. dashboard, volume, media keys). Also, the trackpad is still active, and my toddler seems to like clicking in the dock. – Sparhawk Nov 21 '14 at 23:56

I use Lock Screen 2 and I love it. It costs money but well worth it and your child

share|improve this answer this app is free, locks keyboard, n doesn't shut off screen (you can continue to FaceTime / Skype, or watch a movie)!! Other apps blur the screen.

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I've been using Keyboard cleaner for years. It's super simple and free:

  • As soon as the app starts, it "locks" your keyboard and displays a black screen with a reminder on how to quit the app
  • Command + Q (OSX quit keyboard shortcut) to exit the app

I use it whenever I need to clean my keyboard, and the black screen helps me clean my screen pretty well too.

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if you read the original post you would see that "keyboard cleaner" would be completely useless in this application because he wants to use Skype whilst the keyboard is locked. keyboard cleaner blacks out the screen. – user72493 Mar 9 '14 at 13:24

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