The problem

Every once in while the keyboard and trackpad completely stop working and I have no way to affect the software. The mouse pointer is left frozen exactly where it was when the problem occurred and nothing on the keyboard works. The only solution I currently have is to push and hold the power key triggering a forced shut-down - implying keyboard funcitonality, but I'm wondering if this bypass is actually separate from the keyboard processing for the reason I am using it.

I really don't know what this is as it's impossible to diagnose with no interaction tools!

My system

  • MacBook Pro Retina, 13 inch, Late 2013
  • Processor 2.4 intel core i5
  • 8gb 1600mhz ddr3
  • OSX Yosemite 10.10.2


  • typical developer machine: ITerm; Sublime; browsers; FileZilla; Slack; MAMP; Sketch
  • frequently have 30 or 40 Chrome tabs open
  • ten or so applications in total running at any given time
  • rarely restart formally, just sleep, I kind of assumed Macs are good at handling this

There are no obvious signs of overload like sluggish responsiveness.

My hunch

Is that it's something to do with overheating, there seems a flaw in the design that means it doesn't handle sitting flat very well (work bought us stands for this purpose) though I haven't noticed a correlation between the fan noise, heat and this event yet.

2 Answers 2


Try plugging in an external USB device, such as a phone or keyboard. I have found recently that this fixed my intermittent keyboard/trackpad issues perfectly.

As for why this is, I read on another site that the internal keyboard and trackpad on Macbooks connect over USB internally, so if the internal USB hub gets reset, it would force the keyboard and trackpad to reconnect. And after thinking about it, I am pretty certain that any time I have had keyboard/trackpad freezes like yours, I was also plugging in my Android phone, either to charge it or run diagnostics. I am pretty sure that plugging in my phone has been causing these issues.


This happened once with my MacBook Pro and what I did is to reset the System Management Controller (SMC). Go ahead and shut down your MacBook (force shutdown if needed). Then plug the charger into your MacBook. After that press Shift-Control-Option on the left side of your keyboard and the power button at the same time until the indicator light on your charger temporary change to green colour. Now power on your computer normally. For more information check here.

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