I have a MacBook Pro, 13-inch, Mid 2009 with OS X 10.9.5.

I suspect two things that might have caused the trouble:

  1. Recently I had to replace the keyboard. After replacing the keyboard everything worked fine for a while.

  2. I have also recently failed installing Windows with Bootcamp. The keyboard and trackpad worked before.

Now the keyboard and trackpad do not work at all. Though doing an SCM reset by using Shift Control Option and power keys seems to work as the macbook doesn't boot and I see the battery LED light up for a second or two (I'm using the Resetting the SMC on portables with a battery you should not remove on your own method). The power button works normally.

So the question is: Is it a hardware problem or a software problem? What should I do to make it work again? Is it worth it to do a clean system reinstall?

Update: System reinstall didn't help. I got back the keyboard backlight, but pressing the keys or using the trackpad still doesn't work.

Update #2: After one and a half years both the trackpad and the keyboard woke up of the coma and are working as if nothing has happened.

  • It's probably worth checking how well you put the connector strips back together...
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Oct 10, 2014 at 18:30
  • Did that already. That was my first thought too. Maybe I should give it another go, though I think I cannot put it better than I did. Commented Oct 10, 2014 at 18:32
  • @Tetsujin It just tried to fix the connector strips multiple times, even with my old keyboard (which is missing a few buttons). No luck. Commented Oct 10, 2014 at 19:53
  • still sounding like the connector... what was wrong with the old keyboard, btw?
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Oct 10, 2014 at 19:55
  • @Tetsujin My wife tried to kill my MacBook by letting it drown first and then baking it in the oven. The old keyboard melted partially. I haven't been there and couldn't stop it. It's a miracle that the MacBook came to life again. Commented Oct 10, 2014 at 20:03

2 Answers 2


There's a very simple way to see if this is a software or hardware problem. Power on your machine and hold down Command-V. This is the shortcut for verbose boot. If the keyboard works at boot, but not at a login window, its software. If you cannot perform startup commands properly, it is a hardware issue, as no software is loaded this early in the startup sequence.

If it ends up being hardware, possibly a poor cable connections has caused it since the machine was opened recently.

  • None of the startup commands work. So I thought it's a hardware issue. What puzzles me is, that I can use the keyboard to do an SMC reset. Can you explain why? Commented Oct 10, 2014 at 18:38
  • Likely because your not actually resetting the SMC, merely holding down the power button to force the machine to power off and reboot.
    – Fyrefly
    Commented Oct 10, 2014 at 18:55
  • No, I do not force a power off. The machine is already shut down/powered off. Then I press Shift + Control + Option + Power key together. The machine does not boot, but the battery LED lights up for a second, so it somehow recognises the keys of the built in keyboard. Commented Oct 10, 2014 at 19:01
  • Interesting, let us know what you figure out on it.
    – Fyrefly
    Commented Oct 13, 2014 at 16:22
  • Also alt key. (Typing this comment from iPad via VNC -- trying to solve without reboot.)
    – Nakilon
    Commented May 1, 2016 at 16:34

In my case my macbook's keyboard was disabled after being connected to a miscellaneous bluetooth keyboard somewhere in my house. I used keyboard shortcuts to get to System Preferences and disable bluetooth and fixed the problem that way.

If your computer is connected to both a trackpad and a keyboard via bluetooth, you might alternatively have to locate that bluetooth device and use it to disable bluetooth and/or remove one of the devices.

Lastly, a solution is to move the laptop out of range of interfering bluetooth device, then turn off bluetooth once you have regained control.

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