MacBook Pro Trackpad and Keyboard not Working?

I was sat at the airport the other week with very little to do.

I turned on my 13 and  a half month old (that’s one and half months out of warranty I believe, around 45 days) MacBook Pro , that I love and has been working perfectly since I purchased it and I couldn’t type in my password when it came to logging in to OSX.

‘No problem’ I thought, ‘a simple reastart should fix this’.

Hmm. Not so. On restart this time, I realised that th Trackpad wasn’t working also.

‘One last try, booting into Windows instead’ was my next thought. Only, holding down the Alt key wasn’t bringing up the boot loader menu!

Suddenly I had a lot to do

  • Find an Internet booth at the airport to check for known issues
  • Find a local Apple dealership that would be helpful and fix my laptop before I wanted to turn it back on again.
  • Write an angry letter to Steve Jobs (Get well soon Steve) about how I felt my two year old loyalty to Apple as a brand had been taken for granted, by providing me with equipment that lasted less time than the reasoning behind me spending £1,500 on the new notebook did with my Bank Manager.
  • Decide what I would buy instead of the Mac Pro I had been pricing up for £3500 just that week.
  • Wonder how my life would work whilst my Macbook Pro keyboard didn’t.

Blimey, I was busy.

After a flight home fraught with concern, a few minutes ignoring my girlfriend when I arrived home and the meal she cooked ‘because my laptop is broken’ I calmed down and took out the battery.

The problem

Anyway, what I found was that there are two small ribbon cables just under the battery in my MacBook Pro  (Revision :3,1). The darker orange / brown cable was the one causing trouble.

To discover this I:

  1. Booted into OSX with a USB keyboard and mouse
  2. Plugged in the power cable
  3. Removed the battery
  4. Whilst pressing the caps lock key on continuously (on the laptop keyboard),  I gently pressed the ribbon cable.

Although there was no visual signs of a problem, it seemed as though the ribbon cable had heated up too much and become warped. When pressed down the keyboard functioned perfectly.

The Repair Centre

So, I started looking for a company to repair my Macbook and, I found  a local Apple repair center who, after hassling them without any response on a Saturday, fair enough on the weekend I guess, responded at 9.15 on Monday morning, with a price.

I’ll be honest, I wasn’t happy about the £250 price tag, ‘because the whole keyboard housing was going to have to be replaced’, which I suspect was Apple, not Amsys’ reasoning,  but the response time was the best I could have expected. Well done Amsys.

My (temporary) Fix

Not getting a response until I was back in another country on Monday morning did however leave me with a weekend to work out my own fix.

Before you try this, it is temporary and I’d like my MacBook Pro to be fully functional without the use of Sellotape (Scotch tape, whatever) at some point,  as I’m sure you would. I take no responsibility for burnt laps, smoking MacBooks or the smell of burning glue or any other associated issues the fix might cause.

  1. Get a small piece of sticky tape and roll it up
  2. With the power on, battery out and machine on:
  3. Place the Sticky tape onto the ribbon cable whilst pressing the caps lock key to identify that the keyboard is working
  4. Close the screen and turn over your mack book.
  5. Replace the battery so that it presses on the sticky tape and ribbon cable

This worked for me, but did take a few attempts, and it is still working after three weeks!

Let me know if you’ve had the same issue please, or if you know of an alternative fix or repair centre!

127 thoughts on “MacBook Pro Trackpad and Keyboard not Working?

  1. Pingback: 333
  2. I don’t believe it, you are a flipping genius my boy… for months i’ve been messing around with a USB keyboard and mouse plugged, scouring the forums, trying to reinstall firmware updates, all in vain… have just played with that cable and that’s exactly the problem!!!! Stuck a bit of rubber to the back of my battery inline with the cable to maintain pressure and it’s fixed!!!!
    If i had a hat i’d take it off!! Many thanks!!!!!!!

  3. works for me too 🙂 Now i just need to book it in with apple care to get it properly fixed. It even fixed my dodgy ‘o’ . Nice work!

  4. THANK YOU! This worked for me, I was having this exact problem and was dreading carrying around an external mouse/keyboard with me until I had the resources/time to get this fixed.

    I’ll update when I get it fixed for good. 🙂

  5. Again, many thanks for this. Honestly, a computer should not be able to mechanically destroy itself. At least, not if it’s not been modified.

  6. I also had this problem. Had to bend the whole chassis to “wake” the keyboard, only to have it die after a while, having to bend it again. I first thought the problem was where the orange ribbon cable attaches to the mother board. So I opened it up, made sure all cables was firmly connected but without any noticeable improvement. Your trick fixed the problem for me but I’m afraid it won’t last. Will it break again in a while when the cable has “get used” to its new position while the heat keeps weakening it?

    1. Hi Johan,

      This seems like a fairly common problem and an unusual design flaw from Apple.

      The fix mentioned worked for me all the way until I got my mac repaired by my local repair centre – for £300!!

      I’d be tempted to try it and leave it to see how it goes!

  7. Same problem, except the tape fix didn’t work for me. My warrranty had expired two months before I noticed my keypad wasn’t working…….what a rip.

  8. Okej. So I woke up yesterday to find that my keyboard once again stopped responding. I messed around with the ribbon cable without any luck. I finally went to my local Apple store and bought an alu keyboard making my dear laptop just an ordinary desktop computer. Been given the price tag ~ €390 at my local repair centre I went to try my luck on eBay. I’m now checking eBay regularily for the Apple part 922-8026 (for A1226, 2,2Ghz MBP15″ Santa Rosa). It looks like you can get them for $75-150 at best…
    I’m thinking of ordering two – who knows how long it will take to burn the next ribbon cable?

  9. I agree, I think you are a genius. When you read though the chat rooms/blogs it’s clear that several others have had the same problem- but did not know it was the cable. I wondering, you know those silicone pot holders? The square ones you lay down on the table? Can you cut a small section from there, which would support the cable and be a heat resistant buffer between the battery and the cable? Or would it be too thick?

  10. I had the same problem, I knew it was from that cable because every time I used to unplug and plug back the battery it would work for a couple of minutes.
    So I got something to stick that brown thing and after couple of days it just didn’t work no more. I have to be very lucky to get this thing stuck and working for couple of hours and after a while it just stops back.
    Now comes the fun part. As you can see from my English I am not from any country which might have an Apple Centre. I live in a country which is considered be a terrorist supporter unfortunately “Syria”, thanks to the US. And though I cant get my Mac Book Pro fixed in an Apple Centre and Though I was hopping any one can give me any suggestions. I do know how to work electronics so if some one can tell me what to do, I will do it my self 😀
    Thanks again everybody for your help in advanced…

  11. * Design Flaw! Broken Track Pad

    Just got back from the Apple store. My MacBook Pro has a cracked track pad inside of 1 week from purchase. Now, I can make an appointment in a couple of days so they can let me know how much it will cost to get it fixed @#$%*&! Simply, someone picked up the light weight laptop with one hand, placing their thumb on top of the middle of the frame. Unfortunately, Apple left only 1/4 inch of frame along the front edge. Handling the laptop near the track pad risks pressure on the edge of the pad, causing a perfect crescent crack. Reading blogs, normal usage cracks them, too. Apple designed the track pad to be clicked down, yet makes it incredibly FRAGILE.

    R & D needs to stop patting each other on the back and get back to the drawing board.

    Pay them to fix it?? They owe me an apology for rushing this one to market.

  12. Hello all…

    it happen to me same thing for the second time in this month… Cold sweat has got me… I am pore and starving artist and I invested 08/2007 in to a Mac-Book Pro believing in a quality… last week I have to buy a new Power cord £58 but I can’t afford an extra keyboard… the manager at apple shop in Regent St. UK just smiled and said: “everything brakes down with a time, even a car”…
    I understood her answer as: – “Just buy the @&?:£ cable and !%*£ OFF…

    I feel being ripped off by Mac!…

    is there any cheaper way getting external keyboard??? for example:
    is it possible in any way to use external PC Keyboard ???

  13. Kudos to you! Your analysis is spot-on. Between your writeup and you being #2 for “macbook pro keyboard not working”, I found the cause of the problem within 30s of it happening the first time. Aren’t the internets great?

  14. Update:
    So after a couple of months using my MBP as a stationary desktop with an external keyboard I finally got my insurance company to accept the repair cost. So I went down to the AAP and told them I accepted the €390 price for a new top case. Got the thing back yesterday after two weeks and it works perfectly with a brand new fresh looking top case (although with my old keypad, which I assume they just transfer from the old case to the new one). Since nobody seem to know what’s causing the problem with the ribbon cable I started thinking of ways to prevent it from happening again. My first solution is to simply tripple fold a small piece of paper and put right beside the ribbon cable, between the aluminium bottom and the battery, to release it from the pressure from the battery, and possibly give it a bit of air flow if heat is causing the problem.

  15. I’ve tried this 6 months ago.. it worked fine..but intermittent in the later part.. then… recently i have been having nightmares with my monitor, as it fails to light up..

    apparently, the monitor connect may get loose after multiple times of applying pressure on the keyboard ribbons..

    i wish i could start my laptop without having to dance into a technique before pressing the power button.

  16. Have the same problem few days ago, so before reading ur post, I’ve taken my MBP (2007, Santa Rose, A1226) apart to see what’s wrong with it.
    Pressing down the ribbon works, but later on didn’t work anymore, probably the cable has become very weak in the first place, then become more borken after I applied pressure on it.

    Now I tried so many place to get a cable replacement (because I don’t think Keyboard and Mouse pad have problem, and that will cost me so much to replace), but no luck find the ribbon cable connector!

    Replacing the whole top case cost me a price of a Netbook, not replacing it make me giving up a 2 year old epensive device!!!


  17. After weeks of thinking I’d solved the problem – opening and closing the cover, software and hardware updates, buying OSX 10.6, without any consistent results I thought I was finally going to have to turn my macbook over to the IT folks (who all hate Macs) – this was an instant fix.

    Many thanks

  18. Son of a gun. I’m flying to India in a few hours and this problem came up yesterday. All the software hacks regarding Hibernate Modes and other stuff had zero effect. I find your article, press down on the little bubble in that cable right where you said and hey presto – keyboard and trackpad are back and functioning again. You rock, my internet friend.

  19. Congratulations! It works, I had the same problem, but in my case, I had the same problem in OS X and in Windows XP too, now I go to see if in Windows XP works too.

    Many thanks and Happy New Year from Italy

  20. You my friend are a lifesaver. I use my mac for work and play 12 hours a day and I was THIS close to having to buy a new macbook pro (i did buy a new external keyboard though 2hours before i read your post though….).

    I modified your fix a little:
    – used a bit of namecard paper, folded it into 2
    – Stuck it onto some scotch tape
    – Stuck the whole thing onto the ribbon

    The idea is to use the mac battery to press down onto the added thickness from the scotch tape and namecard, thereby forcing down the ribbon.

    Thank you so much for your post and Merry Christmas.

  21. Thanks very much for this tip. Saved me a lot of time indeed! I suspected a firmware problem, but this saved me even shutting down – just popped the battery out while on mains charge, pressed the ribbon in and suddenly keyboard, trackpad and button all work again. Just as well, as I’m working on-site with a client tomorrow.

    Thanks again! K

  22. I was wondering, if I use an external keyboard, will I still be able to log in without my actual keyboard working? Or will the keyboard not work before log in?

  23. This really works… thanks for the tip. Saved me a trip to the Apple store. Had to do it a couple of times to get the correct position and thickness but don’t give up on the first try.

    Thanks again, Mike

  24. I found this looking for only the trackpad issue as my keyboard was working. However, this seems to have worked for just the trackpad issue. It would freeze and stop responding for a few seconds at a time. Then it would just stop responding for about half a minute or so. I have an early model 2008 mbp dual core.

    So far the fix is working except what I used was a toothpick placed perpendicular to the ribbon. There is a groove that seems to be just deep enough to hold down the ribbon.

  25. Thank you so much for sharing this.
    I’ve plugging in a keyboard and mouse for months and was so fed up at my laptop being a desktop.
    You are definately my hero of the day!

  26. I have this problem since i bought my MBP but never thought it was such an issue because it only happened once in 2-3 months. Now 2 months over warrantee it happens 2-3 times a day! I’m really getting pissed since i am not the only one and i expected much more from an 2300 dollar machine. I’m gonna send it back tommorrow for repair, i hope this won’t be an issue every year! Good luck to you all having the same problems.

  27. WOW! I can’t believe it worked. I was having the same problem, googled “Macbook Pro Keyboard not working”, yours was the first post and in 10 minutes I’m back up and running. Genius.

    Not impressed with Mac, though. Til now, they had never disappointed me. Can’t believe I pay nearly $3000 for it for this to happen.

  28. ok, i haven’t yet tried this technique, as my keyboard and trackpad only stop working very once in a while.
    needless to say i will most definitely try!

    this unfortunately is not the only problem with my macbook pro;
    i had to have one of my ram chips removed which i payed apple generously to have installed before i even got the computer, because one day it just decided that it was “faulty”!

    but common guys, lets not all sit here and find ways we can fix our $2000+ ($4000 in my case) laptops with sticky tape!
    what has happened here is bullshit!
    having to restart my computer 3 times a day so that my keyboard will work again is completely unacceptable. And i don’t think that a huge company like this should get away with selling off clearly faulty products.
    if there are 40 posts here of this problem, think of how many more there would be out there who haven’t googled “macbook pro keyboard not working”.
    lets do something about this!
    i have just sent a very lengthy email to steve jobs ( &, expressing my disappointment and distress.

    i buy apple, only apple, i support and recommend the brand to everybody and anybody who will listen! but unless something is done about my computer (for free(not $300for a new fucking keyboard)) forget it!

    1. I could not agree more. I have been a faithful MAC user since Christmas of 1990 when I got a MacPlus 🙂 Ahhh the good old days….when the only “geniuses” were the folks that owned a unit and had to necessarily troubleshoot it on their own. No www then to turn to for help, only the “Mac Bible”…but I digress

      Apple, needs to stand more firmly behind their products and stop the rat race the R&D department has begun to just put out any ole product. WAY too many things are “buggy” and the technology is too sophisticated now for the average bloke to do home repair. They should be more up front with the intended life expectancies of their products. If you KNOW you’re going to have to replace the keyboard in 1-3 years, you might treat it differently, or start saving, or even buy something else. But to put out a product for $2500US and then respond with oh well things break down several months after the warranty expires is just, well…..wrong.

      I’m sending my email, today. Thanks!

    2. Hi Matty,
      I have the same problem you had with your Macbook Pro trackpad and keyboard. I still cannot find a proper solution to it.

      Can you please tell how you resolved this issus? Did Apple get back to you?


  29. Well I wrote on jan 13th on this page that my MBP was going to get repaired. I have it back for 2 weeks now and it seemed to work all right again. They replaced the top case.

    Yesterday the problem started again. For now it’s not 3 times a day, but i assume that in a few months this will happen. Huray for Steve

  30. Wonderful. Can’t thank you enough. Even if this fails tomorrow, at least I’l know the cause. As a freelance designer, I had so many awkward client meetings in the past half year with me dragging out my mouse and keyboard with my shiny MBP…and then having to explain why (well, usually avoiding the part about not being able to afford to fix it…but I can afford tape!). Thanks!

  31. Same problem with USB and trackpad locking up. Problems happen more when there is something in the USB port, and then the computer has time to go to sleep. I hate to try to print. The keyboard and trackpad have been replaced twice (under warranty). Just back from Apple central. So very frustrating. Toyota like?

  32. Wow i thought the Apple store genius bar guy was a genius when he reset my SMC and the problem went away… but now I know it was probably just the pressure on the cable from taking the battery in and out. But I was happy for 2 days. And then bam the problem came back today I came across your post and sure enough, bingo problem identified.

    So right now I’m working with the battery out and trying to decide if I want to do your fix or take it back to the Apple store.

  33. Phew! You’re a lifesaver. This is the first time it’s happened to me and simply taking the battery out and putting it back in solved the problem. Looks like a new computer purchase may be closer than I hoped. Mine’s 4 yrs old so that’s not a terrible lifespan. Having a hard time justifying $2K for one Mac when I could get 2-3 really good PC laptops for that.

  34. It also worked for me, but notice that sometimes it can also be the data ribbon that attaches the keyboard/trackpad to the logic board getting lose… So disassembling it and fixing that may also be in order.

  35. Hey your fix finally stopped working for me (but thanks it was a great life saver in between) so I took it into Apple for the new upper/ lower deck and got it back in 3 days. Dragged out an old one at the office to use in between…

    Got a question for you all, do you all still have the rubber feet attached on the bottom of your case? My problem started shortly after one of the feet on the left side fell off and really got worse after the second one on that side fell off. i know it sounds stupid but these things have such tight tolerances that I just thought I’d ask…

    By the way when I got it back all of the feet were back in place

  36. Hi, This week my trackpad stopped working. It takes about five to ten clicks for it to finally work. I set it on “tap to click” and that seems to be working fine. Everything else works just great, but not the actually clicking of the trackpad. I just got this computer for Christmas, so I’ve had it about 3 months. It’s the new Macbook with glass trackpad (you can’t take the battery out of this one). Do you think this a temporary problem? I would bring it in to the Apple Store but I’m going on vacation tomorrow morning and I don’t have time.

    Any ideas or thoughts? Thanks.

      1. I had the same problem with my 2007 MBP after using a bluetooth keyboard and mouse. After reading down through all the posts I was beginning to believe that I also had a busted laptop cable (or whatever the real issue is). Then I came across the post reminding me about resetting the PRAM and NVRAM. though I was thinking it wouldnt work cuz the keyboard was not working (you have to hold down a key combination to do it), but it did the trick! So if anyone has the same problem, before you run out to the repair shop, or try sticking foreign objects in your $2000 laptop, give resetting your PRAM and NVRAM a try

  37. You are a life saver. I’m so far away from apple repair center and I was in hysterics. Then my husband found your site. Thank you. Very much.

  38. I landed up with a lemon from Apple. No doubt this Aluminum Keyboard is as well designed as Apple makes them, but the one I bought has a problem. I discovered it much too late to do anything about it. For maintenance tasks (which are relatively few on any Apple Mac), one requires pre-boot keys (control, command, option) to be active. In my particular keyboard, this does not happen. Which means, that I can’t do a Safe Boot, Boot Disk Choose or Reset PRAM with this keyboard. This is caused probably by a circuit error which causes the keyboard NOT to be recognized until after full boot-up. Apparently this is a widespread problem with a certain series of Apple Aluminum Keyboards. Just hope that your Keyboard is not part of the faulty series like mine is.

    Dipe Chatterjee

  39. Wow! I can’t believe it’s over.
    Was struggling with this problem for a few weeks now, don’t want to pay for a fix right now.

    I think Apple should take responsibility for this problem! I was shoked to find out just how many people came across this problem, and in the flagship of Apple computers!

    Taped a piece of isolating tape onto the battery above the ribbon, so far so good.

  40. Dear sir,

    Because of your well crafted solution to this terrible problem my sweet gray love no longer ignores me. I did make a slight modification and used a blue tape. Blue is the vibrant dervish in my otherwise drab and whirling battery undercarriage. The orange wires are perfectly complementary, thank you.

    Yours in the struggle,

  41. Brilliant! I am typing this on my now restored, 3-year old MacBook Pro. Don’t know how long it will last, but your solution still works 18 months after your initial discovery. Thank you!

  42. Thank you very much!

    The fact that Apple is ignoring this problem and not recalling their faulty product (the fact that it is a design fault should absolutely mitigate the fact that it is ‘out of warranty’) is, frankly, unsurprising from a company known for trying to cover up fundamental flaws with their products for their own profit. It is disgusting. What goes around will one day come back round.

    Has anybody contacted Watchdog about this problem yet? (if you’re from the UK?) … perhaps we should form a group somewhere, track down everybody who has complained about this problem (of which there are probably(hopefully) tens of thousands) and present a strong case to them? Apple simply will not be able to ignore that. Give me a shout at fl [[[ at ]]]] nnol [[ ]] and we’ll start on this!

  43. Hi,

    Thanks, it really worked like a charm. Nothing was working until this fix :-).. really you are a GENIUS .


    1. jee, thank you a lot!

      this Macbook has driven me crazy last 2 months, together with ingenious Apple support center in my country. I had to buy even a new harddisc according to their advice, just to see the problem with freezing keyboard / trackpad remained. When I complained, they said: ‘hmmm, maybe the new harddisc is also not good…?’

      After this, I stopped asking for help the official support and kept googling and googling, until I found this thread. I did a few red ribbon massages according to instructions – and voila – my old Mbook is back!

      Man, you probably saved me a 1300 EUR for new laptop.
      You should have your own channel on You Tube, telling your story over and over to make them think.

      I will try to get back the money for last “repair” from Apple and if this happens, I will send it to you, proven you give me contact.

      Your faithful

  44. This same problem happened to me. I drive a early 2008 model MBP4,1 dual core, 2.4 with OS10.6.4. I have owned it for 2 years. It started intermittently and then began happening all the time. I was able to attach a USB mouse and keyboard and it worked fine, but who wants a laptop that has to be tethered to peripherals? I used the “toothpick fix” because I’m still not certain where the tape should go. I have 2 orange “ribbons” under my battery, and have NO idea which one goes to the keyboard. I agree you are a genius, IBarclay. I hope Apple gives you that now laptop you have asked for, actually I hope they give you a job as head of their R&D department, because of all the threads out there, all the “geniuses” out there, all the techs currently working this problem for what now muct be 3-5 years, you are the only one who has come close to identifying and resolving this issue. AND, you did it in an airport between flights. My hero. Well done!

  45. Very clever. Worked for me as well. My macbook pro heated up after an extremely long (3 hour) update of my iPhone resulting in the same problem. I removed the battery and pressed on those two cables with my fingers after it had cooled down and then reinstalled the battery. Perfect. Many thanks.

  46. I think it is definitely a hardware problem. Apple says, that there is a fix included in the OS 10.6.4 update, but I don’t think so. After the update my Computer behaves almost normal, but sometimes still strange.

    Here it what I get when I type “sudo dmesg” into the terminal:

    s – received Status Packet, Payload 2: device was reinitialized
    AppleUSBMultitouchDriver::message – kIOUSBMessagePortHasBeenReset.
    AppleUSBMultitouchDriver::checkStatus – received Status Packet, Payload 2: device was reinitialized
    AppleUSBMultitouchDriver::message – kIOUSBMessagePortHasBeenReset.
    AppleUSBMultitouchDriver::checkStatus – received Status Packet, Payload 2: device was reinitialized
    AppleUSBMultitouchDriver::_deviceGetReport – DeviceRequest for reportID 0xc8 returned with result 0xe000404f – retryingAppleUSBMultitouchDriver::message – kIOUSBMessagePortHasBeenReset.
    AppleUSBMultitouchDriver::checkStatus – received Status Packet, Payload 2: device was reinitialized
    AppleUSBMultitouchDriver::message – kIOUSBMessagePortHasBeenReset.
    AppleUSBMultitouchDriver::checkStatus – received Status Packet, Payload 2: device was reinitialized
    AppleUSBMultitouchDriver::validateChecksum – 18-byte packet checksum is incorrect (expected 0×32c, checksum bytes were 0xc8d)
    AppleUSBMultitouchDriver::message – kIOUSBMessagePortHasBeenReset.
    AppleUSBMultitouchDriver::checkStatus – received Status Packet, Payload 2: device was reinitialized
    AppleUSBMultitouchDriver::message – kIOUSBMessagePortHasBeenReset.
    AppleUSBMultitouchDriver::checkStatus – received Status Packet, Payload 2: device was reinitialized
    AppleUSBMultitouchDriver::message – kIOUSBMessagePortHasBeenReset.
    AppleUSBMultitouchDriver::checkStatus – received Status Packet, Payload 2: device was reinitialized
    AppleUSBMultitouchDriver::message – kIOUSBMessagePortHasBeenReset.
    AppleUSBMultitouchDriver::checkStatus – received Status Packet, Payload 2: device was reinitialized

    This is with the 10.6.4 “fix”. As you can see touchpad & keyboard are reinitialized again and again. Which means the fix by Apple is a hack/workaround to make bad hardware work.

    I would appreciate it if some of you could post your “sudo dmesg” and OS X version as well to see if you suffer from the same cause.

    Don’t worry beeing ask for your password. dmesg won’t change your system. The password is just needed to prevent unauthorized people to gather informations about your system.

  47. I have been having the same problem, but it doesn’t seem to be associated with the ribbon cable under the battery.

    I have had some luck getting back both keyboard and touchpad control by plugging in an external keyboard and manually unloading and reloading the kext with the following commands:

    sudo kextunload /System/Library/Extensions/AppleUSBMultitouch.kext/

    sudo kextload /System/Library/Extensions/AppleUSBMultitouch.kext/

    It has worked for me every time so far.

    Does anyone know if there is a way to write an applescript to monitor the system log for the error and run the command automatically?

  48. Brilliant!
    I didn´t even have to use the tape. I just removed the battery, put my finger on the orange/brown cable and it started working again. I put the battery back and here I am, using the built in keyboard. it is all working fine.
    Thanks a lot!

  49. Thanks! But now…not working…
    Sticking a piece of folded paper or tape between the orange ribbon cable and battery are wonderful quick fixes that got me through some festival performances and lectures. Also using an external wireless mouse and keyboard worked well. However, a month later, my computer has become bored of my bizarre rituals and now nothing makes the keyboard, even external, work. (!) I am very much in non-stop busy mode with a daily need for a functioning laptop. I have a MacBook Pro 15″ 2.2 Ghz Intel Core Duo 2007 Santa Rosa. I recently went from Tiger to Snow Leopard but I had the same trackpad/keyboard problems on both OSXs. It gradually went from intermittent to non-functional except for that an external wireless mouse still works. Pressing on the ribbon cable no longer works as a fix. My battery info says to Replace Now! which actually means that it’s old and holds less charge but is still ok to keep in as per Apple. Also, it is not the bulging battery issue…yet anyway. Running my laptop plugged-in without the battery still does not get the trackpad/keyboard to work. Any new advice/solutions out there? I no longer have coverage for repairs, though dismantling the thing myself is getting more and more appealing. Thanks! ~A~

  50. Found the cable you said,
    pressed the cable into the connector under the transparent protection with a plastic toothpick.

    no tape


    Thank you very much for your guide brother!

  51. Un-be-leave-a-bull. Yes Bull !
    I have been rebooting 10x (if not 20x a day – this was a lifesaver).
    The best part ..I just had the trackpad go nuts for the final time (it typically misbehaves before it stops working. Well I was dragging email into the trash. It highlighted all of the folders and all of their contents went into th etrash and became permanently delated.

    So now Mobile me (thier on line service) has lost a tom of my email (not my fault). I can’t believe we’ve all been had (and we keep comng back for more apparently). Steve Jobs has made a fotrtune off of suckers like us. Cheep Chinese crap. Designed in Cupertino, California. If only Bill Gates hadn;t become so complacent. Jobs will get what’s coming to him. The smart phone business – he is going to face real competition now. Notice how quick he reacted to the iPhone4 antenna issue.

    “In nature there are niether rewards, nor punishents, only consequenses” – Goethe

  52. Tape/card worked a couple of times, then not again. Then, surprisingly, resetting PRAM/NVRAM with cmd-opt-p-r worked, just before heading off to the genius bar.

  53. Uh, I need to know if this is Apple’s fault and why the ribbon had warped. I really need help!!! And does this destroy the computer? I want to know before I can take any risks.

    1. Hi,

      As much as this helps some people fix their problem, the issue that I had and many others had was one of a hardware failure. The cables were visibly bending out of shape and disconnecting from the connectors so resetting PRAM etc wasn’t helpful in my case.

  54. Whoa, cwaazy… For months back then I had to carry usb keyboards around 😀

    BTW I was having a major scare earlier for about an hour while replacing the logic board, as there was only minor attempt for one the fan to run when power button was pressed signifying some power got into the board, but perhaps not all since it still can’t boot. Turned out, one of the top left cable was hooked, but just not pushed enough all the way. tinkering with it a bit, and the machine is back alive.

    Now I wonder if similar tricks can fix of of my my whacko logic board fan… these tiny monster sells so expensive. 😀

  55. Unbelievable!!! I’ve been fighing with my wifes computer for a year and had to invest in the external keyboard/mouse to get it to work. It was that or goto the “hijackers at apple” and pay $300 for another design issue with thier computer. Along with a screen that flashes a negative picture anytime the computer is bumped. Oh yeah did I mention the 3-4 powercords that have all frayed in the same spot. Apple needs to invest in some quality control in thier R/D department. Thanks for the tip on the fix. Your a life saver.

  56. Awesome post, saved mine too.

    A piece of bent paperclip worked for me, won’t melt or ignite 😉

    And I love that I MacGuyvered my old macbook pro with a paperclip.

  57. I’ve just had this same problem in the last 2 days. After opening my macbook totally to try and diagnose, I came to the conclusion it was the brown ribbon. I was about to start pressure testing to see if I could bring it to active but decided to see if it was a common problem first. Did a google, found your blog and voila. Common problem.

    Only catch is, I have to put so much pressure on the 5mm point of connection right at the bidge where it passes to the small PCB that the mousepads sits 5mm off the normal resting place, which means when I close it, it’s going to put pressure on the LCD. This isn’t ideal in any way. So I’m off to find a replacement ribbon 🙂

  58. My gosh, it worked! Just roll up a small piece of Scotch tape into a ball, sticky side out, place it onto the little bubbling part of the orange ribbon, carefully replace battery back into computer, as to not move the tape ball, and presto it works! Thank you so much for solving this problem and saving me a ton in cash.

  59. Hey, can someone please post some pictures. It’s worked for so many of you, I’d really appreciate if someone could help me out with this. I’ve tried everything I’ve read here and still nothing. I’m not sure if I’m doing something wrong?!

    A couple of photos would be really helpful. Thanks.


    1. Ignore that, 2 minutes after I posted that message I figured it out. GENIUS! I could have fixed the problem a long time ago had I known it was that quick and easy!!

      I’d like to be able to post some photos but I don’t know how so if anyone gets stuck with this please feel free to send me an email and I’ll reply with a couple of photos on how to fix it. It’s the least I can do for such an amazing, money saving tip!



      1. Yes please post Picts, I’m not getting it to work on 17inch mbp. Frustrating as I can get it to work by lifting the edges and pressing hard in the center just above the trackpad… Has anyone brought theirs to apple with a real fix? I wonder if it isn’t the orange ribbon, but something else is torqued into alignment by putting pressure there, I also see no ‘visible’ problem.

  60. Glorious. My girlfriends just crapped out right in the middle of us working at a coffee shop, and we fixed it in literally 5 minutes after reading this post. You sir, are a gentleman and a scholar.

  61. THANK YOU SOOO MUCH… i was getting really close to forking out another 2k for a new macbook and this fixed the problem!!! you are very appreciated!!

  62. THANK YOU!!!! In this moment I´m in the public library of Oviedo, north of Spain. I´m walking the wonderful Camino de Santiago. Yesterday I was in an hostel with wi-fi, so I turned on my beloved Mac and.. surprise, for the first time after 4 years I had an issue, I was not able to login anymore, trackpad and keyboard were not working!! So today I came here to use this public computer to find some information and I found your webpage. I removed the battery, then I put some sport-tape I have in my medical-kit, I turned it on and… IT WORKS!!!! I can use my laptop again!!! THANK YOU!!!

  63. man u;re a genius ! i had the same problem , i follow your advice and now it;s working :)) no more usb keyboard ! thxx

  64. back again.. last night was working but today seems like it does the same again..not enough pressure on the cable… anyone other ideeas ?

  65. I know this was an old blog post but I just want to say “Thank you!” I, too, love my Macbook Pro but the stupid keyboard has been driving me crazy. The tape worked!!!

  66. Thank you!! I read this post and decided to get the most heat resistant tape i could find. I used Heat resistant electrical tape from my local home depot hardware store. It says resists up to 120 degrees. As soon as i can I will get it fixed I will but so far this fix has been great. Thanks again.

  67. Thanks man u are a genius.i just removerd the battery tampered wit the wires that connect the keyboard and trackpad to the motherboard and it worked.thanks mate

  68. Its 2013 and this trick still works. I Just to used it on my macbook pro early 2008 (yea..i know, time to get a new macbook…lol ) but hey…its still works…Thanks Again!

  69. You Sir, are a genius. I spent 6 hours trying to reawaken my locked keyboard with no joy. Reboot after, safe boot, after restart…etc. After reading your post I took out the battery, pressed the larger part of the ribbon cable back against the casing and the keyboard now works. Not sure for how long, but at least I know where the problem is. Thank you so much!

  70. You’re definitely onto something. Spectacular post! Thanks.

    You may be surprised to be getting a reply deep into 2014, but I’m still running my 2008 MacBook Pro and have only got the problem of the non-functioning trackpad and keyboard for the first time in the last few weeks.

    For the moment, just removing and reinstalling the battery (I wanted to check out your solution) has been enough to restore the keyboard and trackpad back into action so I suppose the orange cable must have been coaxed back into a more favorable position.

    Either way, I know the cause of the problem. Thanks again!

  71. Thanks very much for the fix. I first used it a couple of years ago and i saved my ass. I recently bought an old MacBook Pro (A1226) to donate to a friend and this issue appeared again. I think the underlying problem is that these machines do not handle heat very well. I live in Spain and when it gets warm here and the machine is running processor heavy software like Photoshop, it goes crazy. On comes the fan, the body gets very hot and then the keyboard locks out because the heat inside is warping the cable in the battery compartment.

    If you can run your MacbookPro on a cooling stand or at the very least get some air under the base by raising it up a little, it should help things.

  72. I’m troubled because I’ve been receiving this exact same issue with my 2015 13″ MacBook Pro for the past year. The trackpad would stop responding, would jam in fact, in turn the keyboard would also not register except for the power button.

    It’s scary because these posts haven’t been seen since 2009 with your original threads mentioned.

    I’ve had my Mac repaired twice now.
    •4-July-15: The entire Topcase and Battery was replaced under AppleCare. The problem was fine for several months until the trackpad would begin to stop responding for periods. I’d restart in recovery which would fix the issue as per what one apple person said, that the Force touch feature is locked and unlocked by the software, therefore not a hardware issue.
    When handed in for repair however I was told first that the keyboard runs through the trackpad then into the body, thus an issue with the trackpad disables the keyboard. They believed that the cable that connects the keyboard and trackpad to the body was most likely disconnected or interrupted. This was not replaced until,
    •24-Nov-2015: The trackpad issue began and reccured on and off over a week until it couldn’t be recovered. I went in a second time and was told that the previous repair should’ve just replaced the Trackpad Cable Flex.. If this happens to be the same orange strip you’ve been talking about then this is a big deal. The MacBook functioned normally right up until last week where again, on and off again, stops responding. Now, nothing can get it back, no shaking, no recovery mode, no restart and wait etc.

    I’ve been scouring the internets for this problem in 2015 models and found nothing. Yet I’ve encountered three people in my class alone who has this issue with the same computer. What’s going on?! Some cover up of a design flaw that’s been around since 2009? No-one online or in store has been straight with me until this one Apple guy told me he gets these issues all the time. Where’s the info online or in forums.

    AppleCare for now has me covered but I don’t know how I feel about this continuing to plague me for the next few years.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s