How can the virtual keyboard be enabled at the login screen?

On Windows it is really easy, but I haven't found to way of enabling it on a Mac.

  • As far as I know this has never been possible in any version of OS X. – Tom Gewecke Jul 17 '14 at 11:54
  • I need the same feature on Yoisemite. Really annoing as you can do pretty much everything with the magic mouse from meters away - but you can't log in. – adrian7 Feb 28 '15 at 10:40

This answer focuses on the case where you want to access the virtual keyboard because of layout/external keyboard uncertainties.

If you only have access to a mouse/pad this answer will not help you.

There is a keyboard shortcut that propose you to access to Accessibility Options, and it is working at login screen. (Only on High Sierra.)


And for MacbookPro w/ Touch Bar:

fn-Opt-Cmd-F5 or Triple click on TouchID button

From this new window, you can click and enable the virtual keyboard:

Here is the Mac accessibility shortcuts ref from Apple.

EDIT 2: for macOS Mojave

If the problem is that you're not sure about your keyboard layout, try this:

Opt-Enter : It lets you enter the login in a clear text field. Use it to visually check your layout \o/

EDIT: (added information from comments)

  • Only available on High Sierra
  • Shortcut for MacbookPro with Touch Bar
| improve this answer | |
  • With new so called MacBookPro we don't have function keys :) – Olcay Ertaş Jan 31 '18 at 11:59
  • Indeed, but "Accessibility Options" are kind of important, I guess there is another trick for it. I'll search later but in case you find it, feel free to update the answer. – itMaxence Jan 31 '18 at 12:26
  • triple click on touch-id button also works for macbooks with touch-bar – Olcay Ertaş Jan 31 '18 at 12:36
  • fn-Opt-Cmd-F5 works also with new MacBook Pro's with the Touch Bar. (fn enabling the function keys.) – Jawa Jan 31 '18 at 12:41
  • The Accessibility Keyboard is only available in High Sierra, as far as I can tell, so this solution is limited to that version of MacOS. support.apple.com/guide/mac-help/… – Tom Gewecke Jan 31 '18 at 15:33

I am sorry to say that this is not possible in Mac OS X unlike in Microsoft Windows. Maybe you could just wait for Apple to include it in their future releases. I hope I helped you :-)

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The answer by itMaxence regarding High Sierra doesn't seam to be valid any more (perhaps apple changed something in one of the updates).

According to macOS User Guide, the Turn on accessibility options in the login window on Mac option seams to be available only on macOS Mojave 10.14

I can confirm that the accessibility options/keyboard is not working on 10.13.4 High Sierra when the screen is locked (login screen).

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I just want to expand on what Ivan has said,

According to macOS User Guide, the Turn on accessibility options in the login window on Mac option seams to be available only on macOS Mojave 10.14

I have followed the Guide and it works as expected. (I needed a way to login to my MBP since the built in keyboard is intermittently not working.)

I could not find it under Accessibility, however it can be found in System Preferences-> Users & Groups-> Login Options Accessibility Options. Once you have the keyboard checked it will be on the screen the next time you login. I am currently running 10.14.6

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Actually it is possible OSX 10 allowed for onscreen keyboard in lock screen mode. I believe you have to sudo the root to enable it.

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  • 1
    You need to provide exact procedure for doing this to be believed. – Tom Gewecke Nov 16 '17 at 4:13
  • StackExchange is intended for specific, usable answers. This doesn't provide enough information to answer the question. If you think there's an answer and you want to be helpful, you should do the research and provide a complete answer. Hints at possible solutions, if posted at all, should be confined to the comments, and intended to help point others in the right direction to find a solution that can be posted as an answer. – Chris Page Nov 16 '17 at 9:10

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