Suddenly my wired Apple Keyboard isn't working anymore. My MacBook don't recognize the external keyboard, and the keyboard is only two weeks old.

Is the Keyboard physically broken, or is it a software issue?

What can I do to fix it?

  • Flipping the (USB-C) cable over worked for me.
    – simplikios
    Dec 26, 2023 at 17:25

10 Answers 10


I resolved my issue by following the SMC Reset instructions here.

Basically unplug everything, power down the mac, hold the power button for 5 seconds. Once the system has rebooted then reattached all peripherals. Then my keyboard started working again.


  • I will try it and inform you if it helped.
    – xyNNN
    Jan 20, 2015 at 8:29
  • This worked for me support.apple.com/en-us/HT201295, thanks!
    – xyNNN
    Jan 28, 2015 at 7:29
  • This worked for me after upgrading to macOS High Sierra. Jan 16, 2018 at 2:29
  • 1
    After SMC reset, it didn't work, I reset NVRAM with instructions here support.apple.com/en-in/HT204063 and finally worked.
    – Sumesh
    Mar 6, 2020 at 7:36
  • Just upgraded to macOS Catalina 10.15.4 and my USB keyboard with extension cable stopped working. @Sumesh's solution fixed it.
    – YeeHaw1234
    Apr 9, 2020 at 18:33

This is what solved it for me:

Eventually I found this thread on the Apple website, and followed the rather bizarre advice of adding a USB extension cable between the keyboard and the Mac (luckily the keyboard comes packaged with one). Bingo! Keyboard fine, mouse plugged into it also fine.


  • 18
    Had I not just experienced this myself, I wouldn't have believe this was a real fix. Utterly bizarre!
    – Drarok
    Aug 6, 2015 at 13:17
  • 3
    This is what solved it for me. Apple products are becoming less and less reliable.
    – Pier
    Sep 21, 2015 at 13:55
  • 3
    USB extension worked for me as well!
    – user147852
    Sep 21, 2015 at 15:36
  • 3
    @xyNNN This should be the accepted answer.
    – biniam
    Oct 21, 2015 at 12:16
  • 1
    It's 2023 and this is still a thing. The USB extension worked for me... Sep 18, 2023 at 16:53

I think the problem is that the keyboard draws so little current that it won´t wake the port if you have the Apple keyboard with a usb hub.

Just stick a usb memorystick in the keyboard and re-insert the cable. If it works then just remove the memorystick or what ever you put in (doesn´t matter what).

  • Of course, you should never connect a keyboard via a USB Hub in the first place, connect the Hub to the keyboard if you need to chain them.
    – Tetsujin
    Aug 20, 2015 at 8:43
  • I can confirm that charging your cell phone via one of the USB ports on the keyboard will also resolve things.
    – James
    Mar 22, 2016 at 17:43
  • @Tetsujin why should you not plug a keyboard into a hub? It seems counterintuitive to put the keyboard as a bottleneck when you have a powered hub.
    – devios1
    Aug 12, 2016 at 16:51
  • 1
    Inspired by the initial remark about "so little power", I found that plugging a wired mouse into the keyboard before connecting it to the computer caused the keyboard to be recognized (and I could then unplug the mouse).
    – jscs
    Oct 21, 2017 at 16:20
  • 1
    My keyboard/mouse combo doesn't work. If I attach the keyboard through a USB extension cable, as described in stacey's answer, that works. Very odd.
    – Duncan C
    Sep 18, 2019 at 19:33

I just had this on a box-fresh macbook pro. Sigh. This was the only thing that worked for me:

To reset the SMC:

  1. Shut down the computer. Plug in the MagSafe or USB-C power adapter to a power source and to your computer.
  2. On the built-in keyboard, press the (left side) Shift-Control-Option keys and the power button at the same time.
  3. Release all the keys and the power button at the same time.
  4. Press the power button to turn on the computer.

Source: http://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201295


Actually, using the USB extension lead is all that works now. Reproducibly weird.

  • 1
    Using the USB extension fixed it immediately for me.
    – Uri
    Jun 17, 2016 at 13:55
  • May be a similar reason as to why keyboards work when a peripheral is plugged in to them, as suggested a few times on this page. The keyboard may start to draw more power with the extension lead present, which then makes it recognised. Jul 2, 2020 at 1:26
  • I was super hesitant to try this, but eventually did and.. it worked! I don't understand it, but at least it is working now. So strange. For completeness, I used a 3 meter Amazon Basics USB2.0 extension cable, plugged into an Anker USB3.1 hub, into my MacBook 2018 with 4 Thunderbolt ports.
    – Jim
    Dec 7, 2021 at 14:59

Just tried adding a usb memory stick fix, and it worked. I can't believe I am having to do this, why can't apple recognise that it is a problem.


Since February 2015, I've had this happen to me twice. Mac refusing to recognize wired keyboard (new mac keyboard received at Xmas). Holding down power button 5 sec after rebooting works for me, but this should be happening at all! Disabled Bluetooth, removed all connections as well

  • 1
    This does not really answer the question. If you have sufficient reputation, you may upvote the question. Alternatively, "star" it as a favourite and you will be notified of any new answers. If you have a different question, you can ask it by clicking Ask Question with a link to this question if it helps provide context.
    – grg
    Mar 27, 2015 at 18:49

I have a usb hub attached to the kyboard, and the keyboard plugged directly into my imac. I tried adding a usb extension cable between the keyboard and imac, but the usb hub light kept blinking and the keyboard wouldn't work. I removed the extension cable. Now the usb hub light didn't even blink. I unplugged and replugged the keyboard a few times, and on one of the atempts it started working again. No idea exactly what's going on. wiggling the usb connections doesn't work, so it doesn't seem to be a loose connection -- the connector actually has to be unplugged for a few seconds and then plugged back in for it to work.


I had a similar problem. Brand new iMac that refused to detect my wired keyboard.

After a lot of experimenting, I resolved the problem by removing my bluetooth keyboard from the bluetooth devices list completely and then plugging in the wired keyboard.

  • Open System Preferences and select “Bluetooth”
  • A list of the devices detected (both paired and unpaired) will appear.
  • Hover your mouse to the right of any connected bluetooth keyboard and press the x that appears, to remove it from the list completely.
  • Finally, connect your wired keyboard and hopefully voila. For me, everything returned to normal.

On my iMac the wired keyboard quit working—I checked the USB ports, which all worked. I tried the keyboard on my MacBook, which worked. Then I read this blog. The restart didn't work but as a last resort I tried the USB extension and to my surprise, the keyboard works again.


I had the same issue on my 2015 Air. I had a mouse dongle in the keyboard and plugged it straight into the computer and it didn't work. I plugged a USB hub into the computer and plugged the keyboard into that and it started working for some reason.

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