Is there anything like a reset of the internal keyboard device that I can try doing instead of having to restart my MacBook completely?

  • The internal keyboard on my MacBook Pro just stops responding to key presses at a random moment (and stays like that). After restarting, it works again.

  • it happened 7-8 times already, every time in the middle of typing something. It also happened twice while I was typing this question.

  • Trackpad continues to work normally.

  • It happened while I had an external keyboard connected, as well. Actually, two of them, both Apple keyboards -- one wireless and the other USB. Both of them, and the internal keyboard, stopped working at that point. When I re-connected a keyboard, it continued working again (only the reconnected one).

  • Have you tried an SMC reset?
    – fsb
    Oct 14, 2019 at 20:05
  • 3
    Hello, i'm having exactly the same issue after catalina update :( have no solution but it's good to see that i'm not alone and this is something clearly related to Catalina and not any hardware issue
    – Patroy
    Nov 3, 2019 at 16:15
  • 3
    @Patroy I realised it had something to do with Caps Lock, at least in my case. Funny, I know, I'm still not completely convinced, but I saw that every time the keyboard stopped working, it was when the Caps Lock was on. So I just disabled Caps Lock to see if that's the issue (by going to System Preferences > Keyboard > Modifier Keys... and setting Caps Lock to No Action) and it hasn't happened since.
    – Bloke
    Nov 4, 2019 at 14:02
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    @Patroy Just out of curiosity, do you happen to use Karabiner perhaps, as I do? Not sure if it might actually be something with Karabiner
    – Bloke
    Nov 4, 2019 at 14:03
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    This appears to be the same problem as apple.stackexchange.com/questions/372578/… . (And yes, I'm having it too, and I use Karabiner, and this definitely has something to do with Caps Lock in my case as well.)
    – DomQ
    Feb 13, 2020 at 16:26

2 Answers 2


This appears to be a Karabiner bug (at least in my case).

  • Did you successfully work around it? I use Karabiner too but quitting and/or restarting that app doesn’t change the system and I still need to reboot. Also, this probable NEVER happens using an external keyboard but will happen several times an hour using the the built in keyboard.
    – Darf Nader
    Jul 22, 2020 at 4:28

Here are a couple of workarounds in the form of an answer so people can find them easily, since this Karabiner bug is still bugging us actively:

1. Disable Caps Lock key (so it doesn't happen)

MacOS System Preferences > Keyboard > Modifier Keys... and here set Caps Lock to No Action

One easy workaround is to simply disable the Caps Lock key entirely, if that is an acceptable option for you.
If you have to yell around the Internets a lot, try the next one:

2. Kill karabiner process (when it happens)

In Terminal: sudo pkill -f karabiner

This seems to be enough for some people to get their keyboard working again without having to restart, but some say it does not work for them.

If you don't have an external keyboard to connect to type this out, or if you don't already have this command copied somewhere to simply paste it into the Terminal, you can use the "Keyboard Viewer":

Click the Input menu in the menu bar, then choose Show Keyboard Viewer.

Credits to Jyosua and iwill (Mr. Ming) from the Github Issue page for the second workaround

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