accessories_wirelesskeyboard_20100225

How to Reset an Apple Wireless Bluetooth Keyboard, Mouse or Trackpad (Troubleshooting Pairing and Other Common Problems)

If you are having problems with getting an Apple Wireless Bluetooth keyboard, mouse or trackpad from connecting to your Mac (iMac, Macbook or Mac Pro), you can try this trick. The following mentions the keyboard, but it should work for other wireless devices that have a on/off switch of the contact type (i.e. press on and off, rather than a physical slide switch).

  1. Switch off the keyboard by holding down the power button for at least 3 seconds
  2. Click the Bluetooth icon in the menu bar
  3. Click on “Set Up Bluetooth Device”
  4. Turn on the keyboard by holding down the power button, BUT DO NOT LET GO OF THE POWER BUTTON. It must be kept held down through the entire process.
  5. The Setup Assistant will find the keyboard, so click the name of the keyboard, and then click on “Continue”. Make sure you are still holding the power button down.
  6. You will be prompted for the Pairing Code. You can now release the power button, type the pairing code on the keyboard and then press return. There will be a slight delay whilst the pairing completes (a few seconds)
  7. The keyboard will now be Paired.

So just to clarify, the trick is to continually HOLD DOWN THE POWER BUTTON.

What if this doesn’t work for you?

Is this the problem you are searching for? As stated above, this is for when you have problems pairing, specifically with a Mac. I don’t have other non-Apple devices I want to pair my keyboard with, so have no idea if the steps outlined above will help you if you are on Windows, Android, Linux or anything else.

There are some generic tips that might point you in the right direction. I don’t wish to point out the obvious, but sometimes in frustration these things can be overlooked.

Are you working with a fresh set of non-rechargeable batteries?

Apple’s keyboards are known not to work well with rechargeable batteries as the voltage they supply is too irregular. Battery life on alkalines is in the order of 6 months plus, so there really isn’t any reason to use rechargeables. Any battery that is providing low voltage or irregular current will result in all sorts of weird behaviour. Don’t assume that batteries fresh out the packet are good, try another to be sure.

Have you unpaired the keyboard with any previously paired Mac, iPhone or iPad?

Apple specifically state this in their instructions, and pairing and connection behaviour is undefined if there is a previously paired machine within communication range (up to 10 metres). If you no longer have the machine, or it is well out of range, you may be able to skip this step, but if you can, remove the pairing from the old machine. On the old machine, just go to System Preferences > Bluetooth and highlight the keyboard you want to pair elsewhere, and click the ‘-’ at the bottom of the list to remove the pairing. Unfortunately you do need to identify any other paired machines, as you can’t tell the keyboard to forget the pairing that is stored on the old machine. This can be big issue in large offices – perhaps IT took your old machine away, gave you a new one, and then reissued your old machine to someone else, perhaps even on an adjacent floor. If they forget to remove the Bluetooth pairings, this can create all sorts of strife, and of course your co-workers may not be happy for you to go digging around in their machines changing settings they don’t understand.

Is there any other device causing interference?



Bluetooth keyboards use the same 2.4ghz frequency used by Wifi and Cordless telephones, not to mention that you may have numerous other Bluetooth devices within the vicinity, paired with the target machine or with others nearby. Bluetooth is a great technology, but it can’t work miracles when there is a lot of electronic noise nearby. If you can’t eliminate interference, you may have to go back to a corded keyboard.

Are you getting incorrect characters, symbols or non-functional keys when using the keyboard?

Lets face it, tech breaks. Even tech by reputable companies like Apple. The only way to check is to unpair the keyboard with your machine, pair it with another, test, and if it works, unpair and pair again. Something of a pain in practice. Also, there are multiple places on OS X where keyboard behaviour can be modified, i.e. you press a particular key on the keyboard, but some other function occurs on the Mac. You need to check System Preferences > Keyboard > Input Sources are correct for your locale. Check System Preferences > Keyboard > Keyboard Shortcuts don’t have incorrect behaviours defined. Individual applications can also modify behaviour, so if you’ve recently installed new software, check there. Also, check System Preferences > Language & Text > Text to see if there are any substitutions that could be causing problems. Use the ‘Restore Defaults’ button where provided to be sure, although bear in mind any legitimate customisations you’ve already made may be lost.

Can you even reset an Apple keyboard?

There is actually no evidence that the Apple Bluetooth Keyboard even supports a reset function. Apple state in their troubleshooting documents that you reset the keyboard by turning it off, then on again. Does that fix the problem outlined above – nope – but the steps above do. Go figure.

As far as Bluetooth technology is concerned, there is no requirement for the device, such as a keyboard, to have any settings that might need resetting. The device can essentially be ‘dumb’. When you make a pairing between a device and its host computer, it is the host the remembers the pairing by noting the hardware identifier supplied by the device during the pairing process. Just because during pairing on an Apple keyboard you type a pairing code onto the keyboard doesn’t mean the keyboard remembers that – it only needs to pass it to the host during the pairing to confirm that you have the correct physical keyboard, in case there are others nearby also in pairing mode.

Whilst this article is titled ‘how to reset…’ I’m not intending to confirm that there is some hidden reset function that Apple forgot to mention. I only use the ‘reset’ word in the title because that is the common term used by people when they want to make something work when all else appears to fail. I spent a fair amount of time trying to resolve this problem for myself, digging through plenty of irrelevant articles before I found what I was looking for. None of them suggested that there was an official, documented (or even undocumented) way of doing a reset on an Apple keyboard.

Now it is apparent that the trick outlined above does seem to do something that just and off/on doesn’t do. That doesn’t mean the Apple keyboard remembers something. There may be some state that is preserved that merely means it doesn’t pair to a new device reliably, but its not clear what it is. If you don’t consider that a reset, then fine, but for all intents and purposes, it is.

Still not getting satisfaction?

I’d love to hear from you. But please, help humanity by taking the time to describe your actual problem, otherwise how on earth is anyone expected to help you. Flaming others isn’t nice. I’ve expanded this article from its original succinct set of instructions in the hope that it sheds more light on the subject. Lets see what happens.




154 thoughts on “How to Reset an Apple Wireless Bluetooth Keyboard, Mouse or Trackpad (Troubleshooting Pairing and Other Common Problems)”

      1. I tried every possible recommended fix and nothing worked UNTIL I performed the ‘hold the power button’ fix Dave suggested. THIS WORKS!!

        Bottom line – one fix does not fit all! Keep trying and get the right fix for your problem. After a week of trying everything, my trackpad is back up and running! Yeah!!!

        Greg

      2. What button on a wireless apple keyboard is the power button. All I did was change the bat tiers out on my keyboard and it won’t connect to my apple keyboard?

    1. Dave, THANK YOU!!

      Random keys on my apple wireless keyboard stopped working all of a sudden, a couple of months back. Tried everything, searched every nook and corner of the interwebs and couldn’t find a solution. Ruled it out as hardware issue/fried chipset and gave up.

      Came across this post and thought I would just give it a whirl. Held the power button for a while and that did the trick ! Works flawlessly.

      Thank you very much !

    2. This worked, but only after I uninstalled USB Overdrive. I found another support forum where someone suggested that USB Overdrive could interfere with the pairing of a magic trackpad. I uninstalled USB Overdrive and then followed the instructions here…finally, a successful pairing! Thank you for pointing me in the right direction. I would have returned the trackpad out of sheer frustration!

  1. Thank you so much, Dave. The first and only guide that works for me. Easy to understand. Why is it not printed in Apple’s Bluetooth manuals. Would make life much easier for a lot of people.

  2. Thanks so much! I thought my keyboard was toast, but it just needed a reset. Nice that Apple left this tip off their troubleshooting page :P

  3. To reset the wireless b;luetooth apple mouse. I held it upside down and held the click down. then power it one. And it works – so yes it works for mice too.. Thanks for the tip

  4. This solution does not represent the title. This is not resetting the keyboard, or mouse, or trackpad. Does anyone actually know how to reset these devices? My keyboard consistently connects to a different computer than the one I would like to use it on. The solution provided here does not resolve this.

    1. Brett, thanks for the feedback but the title is accurate. These instructions reset the device. In your instance, you need to tell OS X to forget the Bluetooth device so it won’t auto connect to it. Once paired, the device should reconnect to the last machine, but due to signal issues it can connect to any paired device in range.

      Go to Bluetooth preferences on the machine you don’t want it to connect to and remove the device from the list. If you do in future want to connect to that machine, you’ll need to re-pair.

      1. Thank you for your response, but I respectfully disagree. These instructions do not reset the bluetooth device, but seem to allow a device to pair when having some kind of difficulty. My situation is different. I work in an environment where there are dozens of Mac computers and I have no idea which this device is actually paired to. It would be very difficult, at best, to allow it to connect and then go to each computer to see if it is the offending one. Using your instructions, my keyboard continued to connect to the wrong computer. I need a way to totally and completely reset the keyboard so that it does not maintain any of its previous pairing information.

        1. Thanks again for your considerate reply and extra detail. I think this comes down to whether you think its the keyboard or the Mac that is remembering the pairing. I think you will find that its the Mac that remembers – the device just presents itself.

          When pairing a keyboard, the Mac proposes a passcode that is entered on the keyboard, but the keyboard just uses that to provide verification that it is the same physical keyboard that requested the pairing (not another within the vicinity). The Mac then records the fact that a device with a particular hardware ID is paired so that it doesn’t need to ask again.

          If you look at the Apple Support article on Bluetooth pairing (http://support.apple.com/kb/ht1809) and look in the section ‘Pairing you Apple Wireless Keyboard with another Mac’, you’ll see that it notes that you must unpair with the original machine if it is within 10 metres before pairing with the new machine. If you do not do this, it will be arbitrary which Mac makes a connection at the next attempt (although the support doc actually say that it is my experience).

          The instructions in my article do correctly represent how to reset the bluetooth device, although in reality there is little that this seems to achieve but it does seem to be necessary to overcome certain issues when connection cannot be established. The keyboards do seem to remember something about the last paired machine, which only may be to allow it to make a quicker connection when that machine starts announces its presence. But whatever it remembers it can cause it to have problems connecting later.

          Your problem seems to be that you either have a keyboard that is not connecting to the desired machine (and should therefore be reset), or that there is another Mac nearby that it is connecting to out of chance or by choice. By identifying which machine has the erroneous pairing and removing it from the Bluetooth settings, you should be able to keep your keyboard connecting to the desired system.

          I hope this info help you, I know that Bluetooth issues can be extremely frustrating because most Bluetooth devices have no ‘user interface’ other than a status LED which is usually less than helpful when you have problems (particularly with Apple devices!)

          If you do find that this info is not helpful, please feel free to post your comments with some explanation or alternative solutions so as to help others. This post gets over 2,000 hits per month so this is no doubt a common cause for concern.

        2. Brett, Why don’t you take the keyboard and the computer you want to pair it with 100 yards away from all the other computers – then you can be sure the keyboard cannot communicate with any of those other computers. Dave, Thank you for your painstaking efforts to explain this topic to us all.

        3. Brett, one solution is to put all the Macs asleep and then press a key on the keyboard. That will wake up the offending Mac. Another option:

          Press Command+Shift+A and that will open Applications on the offending Mac.

    2. Just in case someone comes across this and are wondering the same thing seven months later – actually my problem was having to reset the keyboard. Thanks to this web page, I knew to uninstall the keyboard on BOTH my computers, install new batteries, and then do as Dave suggested. It worked all because I had to reset the keyboard. Thank you!

  5. I’m not sure this author knows the difference between a reset of the keyboard and a repairing of bluetooth…a reset is what you do when you set it back to factory specs, say after you changed the default language.

    1. Shawn, thanks for the reply. It’s not possible to change the language of the keyboard – you can change the input source which correlates with the physical keyboard layout (i.e. position of certain letters and symbols, which varies from country to country). That isn’t a function of the keyboard though, its a function of OS X. The keyboard isn’t aware, or care, about how the OS interpret the keypresses. So these instructions are accurate for resetting a keyboard, and do not cover changing input sources in OS X.

      1. I was having the same problem of not being able to pair my iPad with my Apple wireless keayboard too that I had already paired with it. I couldn’t firgure out for the longest time why my iPad couldn’t see the keyboard anylonger. Then it hit me, I had paired it with my Apple TV and that had canceled out the iPad. As soon as I “Forget” the device it worked on the iPad again. I hope this helps.

  6. Okay. We must need the blog titled “how to Hard reset apple keyboard to factory defaults”. Dave, maybe you have a link? This blog wouldn’t get 2000 hits per month if the title read ‘How to pair a apple device with a mac’, as it should be. I don’t have a mac, any help for PC/Android users? Perhaps leaving the batteries out for 5 mins will HARD reset the keyboard. Maybe if we type the word ‘reset’ 3 times and turn it upside down. Oh. I’m so silly. I’m sure if I take it to the Apple store they’ll give me a fresh one.

    1. Sorry that you and a few others don’t seem to get the solution you want from this article. Perhaps if you try Googling for that article title suggestion you’ll have better luck, as this page doesn’t appear in the search results.

  7. Thanks to you I’m typing this message from my wireless keyboard after hours of trying to reconnect it to my computer. You rock! Thanks!!

  8. Thanks for this. Also worked to fix connection issue with a 1st gen iPad. Had been connected fine in the past, but along the way the Bluetooth connections seem to get corrupted. For the iPad, the only difference in instructions is to click on the iPad’s Settings icon (the grey ‘gear’ symbol), then click on ‘Bluetooth,’ (make sure bluetooth is on, btw). There is no “set up bluetooth device” selection, just a list of currently or previously connected devices. Likely your Apple Keyboard may not be evident here. If it is, you may want to click on arrow to the right and select “Forget this Device” in the menu that opens if you’ve been unable to connect. Then, do as instructed here, hold down power button continuously on keyboard that has been shut off. The keyboard should now appear on list, (on mine it shows in black type whereas other devices appear in blue type.) After you select it, there will not be a “Continue” command, but pairing window should just appear. OK now to let go of button, enter the pairing code, and it shoud show “Connected” to the right of the Apple Keyboard device on list. It may say, “So-&-so’s Keyboard” with your name unless it’s a brand new keyboard. Thanks.

  9. tks SO MUCH for this! was going nuts trying to figure this out & then my husband came across your article and fixed it on the spot… thank you!!

  10. My husband and I tried everything we could think of, even things I read in the “iMac for Dummies” (I’m not very computer-savy)! Nothing was working, tried new batteries, found the power button on the keyboard, etc. For 2 weeks, I couldn’t really use my computer, just my phone. In desperation, I kept trying ideas from websites–and finally found yours on my phone. I tried it 4 or 5 times trying to type in the code, as my keyboard finally was recognized. Then the computer said it didn’t connect– until my husband restarted the computer. Wow! It worked, and I am using it now. Thank you!

  11. Hi. I’ve had my wireless keyboard since 2010. It has been working properly. I use it with my iPad. It is the late 2009 model with only two batteries. Well, today it decided not to pair with my iPad. First it would display the name of the Keyboard in the tablet, but not connect. Then I umpaired them, turned all Bluetooth devices of and tried to pair it again with my iPad. Nothing. Then the keyboard’s name disappeared and now it is just label as Keyboad. Well, Iv’e been reading forums for hours. It seems that my keyboard behaves ike it’s paired to some goshtly device that doesn’t exists. When I turn it on, the LED won’t blink as when it is umpaired and now the other devices are only able to see the keyboard when it’s being turned on. No device (iPhone, iPad, MacBook) can now pair to it. I’ve replaces the batteries, fresh, new, and not rechargable; I’ve pressed down the power button, but it seems that it is paired to something… Even if I’m in the middle of nowehere, with no bluetooth devices on, the thing thinks its paired to a ghostly MAC. I cannot reset it.

    UPDATE: WHILE WRITTING THIS, THE PROBLEM WAS MAGICALLY SOLVED. IT HAPPENS THAT MY COLLEAGUE PAIRED HIS IPHONE TO MY KEYBOARD ONE DAY AND HAD FORGOTTEN… I SWEAR… HE WAS THERE WITH ME IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWEHERE WHERE I WAS TESTING THE KEYBOARD…. AND NOW THAT I’VE DECIDED TO TEST AGAIN IN THE OFFICE, I TOUCHED THE PLAY KEY AND HIS MUSIC COMES ON!!! DUDE!!!! IT WAS ACTUALLY PAIRED… /()($·/=)Q=()$(Q·!!!!!

  12. I have an iMac and the bluetooth mouse and keyboard stopped responding last week. At first the bluetooth connection was dropping and reconnecting every 30 seconds or so. When I was able to connect I went through the PRAM and SMC reset and that didn’t fix it. Now they will not connect at all. I went and bought a USB mouse and keyboard thinking it was just a bluetooth issue but those do not work either. I’ve read that reinstalling the OS might fix it but I had a CD in the drive when this started and I can’t get it out. Hope someone might have some ideas on what might fix this. This thing is less than 2 years old and the entire reasoning behind purchasing it was that the Mac would last much longer than a PC! Hope I wasn’t wrong about that.

    1. You should use a USB keyboard in order to do a PRAM reset, bluetooth keyboards don’t connect early enough in the boot sequence. If you cannot get a USB keyboard or mouse to work then its possible that you have a hardware failure on the USB controller – the Bluetooth controller is connected via USB in many Macs, so a failed USB controller will likely disable bluetooth also.

  13. Wow! Thank you for the tip that rechargeable batteries won’t do the trick. Have used Apple everything since 1988, including purchasing the Apple batteries and charger last December. Wow. Yours is the explanation for my mouse suddenly jumping aimlessly. I feel scammed by Apple, and that is something I’ve never experienced before. Truly disappointed in Apple. Thank you, Dave, for your help. (installed charge rechargeable Apple batteries….the mouse is still jumping around…difficult to select “submit”)

    1. Lisa, thanks for the reply. Whilst Apple obviously make their own battery charger, and therefore condone the use of rechargeable, there has always been an issue with power quality from rechargeable batteries. Quality makes a difference, and no reason to suspect that Apple are using anything inferior, but when the life on alkalines is as good as it is, I’ve never seen a good reason to use rechargeables.

  14. Fantastic! Worked like a charm the first time. Clear and simple procedure to fix a problem that Apple seems to have forgotten about… Thank you, Dave.

  15. Nice one, the holding down the power button during pairing worked a treat! I’d tried everything else (PRAM resets, removing my Bluetooth.plist files etc).

    This was the only method that worked.

    THANKS!

  16. Hi,

    The trick works, my keyboard even got my name attached to it.

    But, my keyboard still doesn’t work. Some keys are not responding. I tried to pair it with my iPad and the same keys were not working. So, I guess my keyboard did not like it when I cleaned it up with Windex…

  17. My keyboard was paired with the ipad as well as with my macbook pro. Suddenly it stopped working with the ipad. The ipad still seemed to be paired with it (no keyboard shows up on the touchscreen) but I cannot seem to write using the wireless keyboard anyway. I did as you instructed and removed the pairing from the macbook pro, tried to reset the pairing on the ipad but still not working. Re-pairing it with macbook pro makes me conclude that there does not seem to be problems with (fresh) batteries, but something else is preventing it from pairing with ipad. Any ideas?

    1. I would remove the pairings with all devices, then just add ack to the ipad.

      If you go to the Bluetooth settings on the ipad, it does tell you if the device is paired. If the keyboard is not popping up it suggests something is connected, but maybe not wht you think. It’s easy to get frustrated by this stuff!

  18. Oh my gosh. Thank you so much. I’ve been trying EVERYTHING for the past 1/2 hour and was just about ready to slam my keyboard against the wall.

  19. After an hour of searching all the official apple articles – this is the one that worked! THANKYOU!

    Now back to looking at kittens on the internet.

  20. Hi, interestingly, I tried the holding of the power button during the pairing a few weeks ago as the ‘fault’ appears to be that the pairing light goes off after only a few seconds thus disconnecting from the PC before pairing is completed. It didn’t work for me then. Read your article today, tried it again and…..it now works.

    A tad random but hey….thanks. Pete….

  21. Fantastic !!! it worked after what seemed an eternity searching forums your simple instructions were perfect ‘HOLD DOWN THE ON/OFF BUTTON CONTINUALLY”

    1. When you are running the Bluetooth Assistant it shows you the pairing code, which you enter on the keyboard (and you MUST remember to hit Enter at the end).

  22. Thanks. Holding the power button worked for me. Couldn’t figure that out for myself and could find no help on Apple Support site.

  23. For me, after an OSX update, I could not log into my computer because my mac mini would not pair with my mac BT keyboard (like the one in the picture at the top of this post). No matter how long I held the power button, the green light just kept flashing, and anyway, I was unable to go into the settings on the computer, because I could not log in.

    In the end, after some experimentation – I tried to take the batteries out, and put them back in – I tried to reset the computer – it seems like what worked was to take the battery cap, hold down the power button, and replace the battery cap whilst doing so. After that, the keyboard immediately paired. I don’t see why this would work, perhaps it was just removing the battery cap once more which did it, but that’s what happened.

  24. Hi Dave. Enjoy your helpful advice. Finally managed to pair I mac and New wireless keyboard. Finally typing but SO SLOW! Have you any thoughts about possible remedies?

  25. Apple came up trumps and I have managed to pair the keyboard with the I Mac and locate the reason for the slow performance. The keyboard now functions perfectly.

  26. My wireless keyboard and mouse stopped working at the same time. The batteries are fine and I tried your trick here but it didn’t work. This apple keyboard and mouse came with my 27″ imac and even picks up fine on my MacBook Air and iPhone. Neither show up at all on my imac. When I tell the bluetooth on my imac to discover the new devices it just searches over and over and never finds anything. It appears as though my bluetooth is malfunctioning…is there a way to reset it? Update it? Fix it? Thanks!

    1. Jared sorry to hear of the problems. Make sure you remove each device from the Air and ipad as well as the iMac before trying the above trick, or they could be preventing the pairing. If this fails, try pairing any other Bluetooth device with the iMac to establish if the Bluetooth is faulty. You could try a PRAM reset on the iMac if you have a wired keyboard to hand, but not sure this would help, maybe worth a try.

  27. Thanks, keeping the power button pressed while clicking on ‘Continue’ until the code input dialogue appeared, was the solution.

  28. I had this problem. Updated to Mavericks, and first time I rebooted, the Bluetooth Assistant tried to pair my bluetooth wireless keyboard and with my iMac but it said my keyboard was not “discoverable.”

    I couldn’t fuss with anything because I couldn’t login without a KB. Tried various times to reboot the computer to fix problem but nothing worked. Replaced batteries in KB. Didn’t help.

    Not really very technical so figured I would get rid of all accessories and distractions (near by cell phone, etc).

    The I took the batteries out of the keyboard. Shut the iMac off for a minute… then turned it back on. It started looking for a BT keyboard… couldn’t find anything. After a minute I put the batteries back in the KB, and I guess it was the only possible thing around to pair with so it did.

    Didn’t think it would work but it did.

  29. My iMac recognized my keyboard, but the functions keys were performing tasks other than their assigned functions. The settings indicated that I had more “F” keys than the keyboard actually has. I tried this suggestion and it fixed the problem. Thanks!

  30. Thank You VERY MUCH for this! This should be on apple’s website. Wish this page came up higher in search results too. I spent way to much time visiting webpages (Apple’s included) that said a lot of nothing….nothing relevant, anyway. Thanks again!

  31. Thanks very much for your tips. Worked first time after a frustrating couple of hours. I think the problem was that I had moved an older machine into the same room and there was a conflict.

    Thanks once again

  32. I have a WIRED keyboard, (mac mini 10.8.3) with a Bluetooth mouse, which has been working fine for 6 months. All of a sudden the mouse just ‘disappeared’, so I plugged in a wired mouse, went to System Prefs > Mouse>set up Bluetooth mouse, it just aint’ there under available devices. (I put new batteries in the BT mouse) Any suggestions?

    1. Could just be a failed mouse.

      I guess its possible that the Bluetooth controller on the Mac is no longer working. You could try seeing if it can see any other Bluetooth devices (mobile phone perhaps?). It’s also possible a PRAM reset might help, so try that too. Finally, go to System Report and look at the detailed hardware info for the BT device to see if there is any clue there.

  33. Seems to work right up till I enter the code. Then there is either no reaction to clicking return or I get the message, “pairing attempt was unsuccessful . Click continue to try again.” Nothing happens when I try again.

    1. When I’ve seen this problem before its either because you still have the old pairing on the Mac, or it might be paired with another device still. Go to Bluetooth preferences on all devices that you may have paired with (or own) and remove any existing pairings, then try again, noting the trick with the power button.

  34. Hi Dave,

    My problem, I think, is particularly unique, and unfortunately NOT solved by your suggestion. I’m trying to pair my wireless keyboard with a Mac Mini it has successfully connected to in the past.

    However, in the past it connected to the Mac through a USB bluetooth extender. I had that setup in my previous home, because the Mac Mini was inside a big steel built-in Home Theater rack that caused the built-in bluetooth to not be able to detect my bluetooth mouse and keyboard reliably, especially not if I wasn’t close to the Mac. With the extender plugged in the back I was able to move the bluetooth signal outside the track and into the room. With that setup I was able to use the keyboard and mouse without any problems from anywhere in the room.

    At the time, it was a HUGE PAIN to set that up. Somehow the Mac Mini stores the information for the internal bluetooth in a different location than for the bluetooth extender, and this caused all kinds of weird issues. I had to make sure that the devices were NOT paired with the internal bluetooth before trying to pair it with the external USB extended bluetooth. And what really added to the confusion is that the Apple UI only shows the bluetooth settings for the bluetooth device that is active (internal or external), but does NOT indicate that to the user in any way. Nowhere (if I remember correctly) is there an overview that explicitly indicates: there are two bluetooth devices on this computer, these are the devices paired with those, and this is the one that is currently active! Ultimately through guesswork and informed trial and error we were able to get it to work.

    Anyway, now I have moved into a different setup, I no longer need the bluetooth extender. In fact, I lost it in the move. So, now I am stuck in this situation:

    • Somewhere in the guts of the Mac memory it knows this machine is already paired with my keyboard
    • NOWHERE in the UI does it indicate this; the keyboard is not listed anywhere in the UI, so I cannot unpair it.
    • When I hold the power button on my wireless keyboard (yes, with brand new batteries in it) it simply comes on, does not blink, and no matter for how long I hold that power button, nothing in the UI detects this keyboard as wanting to pair :-(

    What do you think? Does my suspicion of what is going make any sense? Or would it be that my keyboard broke at the exact same time as I moved?

    I’m not sure what to do. At this point I have spent so much time trying to get this to work that I think it’s more cost effective for me to just buy a brand new keyboard :-(((

    Erik

    1. Erik,

      Thanks for the detailed history, really helps!

      You could try deleting Bluetooth Preferences. There might be two, one in the main Library folder:

      {HD}/Library/Preferences/com.apple.Bluetooth.plist

      And one in the user folder:

      ~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.Bluetooth.plist

      Delete them both, the completely shutdown the machine (not just a restart) before booting again. You should then be prompted to start pairing again.

      I’d make sure you have a USB keyboard and noise to hand in case you can’t pair the Bluetooth devices – at least you’ll be able to navigate the Mac. Just borrow ones from a friend, and from a PC will be fine.

      If that fails, do the same again, but this time, on restart, do a PRAM reset (web search for the specific instructions). Go through the cycle at least twice before releasing the keys to allow the normal boot up.

      The Mac probably stores the ID’s at least of the initial keyboard and mouse paired with the system, because that normally happens when you first setup the machine. The PRAM reset should clear that.

      Let us know how you get on.

  35. Trouble with key board not responding. First I changed the batteries, then I went to the web and added a small piece of aluminum foil, didn’t change anything. All along I can use the delete function but no keys to type. Found your site, was able to generate a new bluetooth code and resync my blue tooth, at least that was the message I got.

    Nothing has changed. I’ve turned the whole computer on and off and really don’t know what else to try. What does it tell you that I can delete from my keyboard but nothing else?

  36. Un Freaking Believable!! Not even Apple mentions this in their TROUBLESHOOTING docs.. Totally worked to allow me to pair with my Mac after my keyboard was paired with my apple TV.

    Pretty sure what this does is force it back into pairing mode.

    Very awesome work man. I can’t believe Apple doesn’t mention this at all. They seriously suck for that.

  37. Thank you! Holding down the power button during the duration of the procedure was the step I was missing. Your instructions worked beautifully for my missing Apple magic track pad. Cheers

  38. I had problems to reconnect the bluetooth apple key board back to my iMac after recharging the batteries. this was the first time this happened: in the past after recharging & replacing the batteries the key board reconnected in a twiffy. Not this time though! i tried your version by holding down the on-off button of the k-b during the whole set-up: no connection. so i removed the wireless k-b from the bluetooth list and restarted the procedure: bang! this time i got through the connection protocol. so with a little further fine-tuning, your method proved to work. have a nice day & trip, Marc

  39. My keyboard and mouse pairing will only last for about 30 minutes before the connection is lost. I’ve had to reboot my Imac every time this happens. Dave, would your suggestion above be an option? Thanks

    1. Marc – Definitely would recommend deleting the existing pairing, then setting it up again and using the ‘hold power button’ trick. Also consider if you have a strong local source of interference – other Bluetooth devices, 2.4Ghz wifi devices or digital cordless phones. They all use similar frequencies, so another device could be causing the keyboard and mouse to loose their connection with the iMac.

  40. Hello- I just turned my iMac back on after not using it for months and it looks like my keyboard and trackpad are blinking green which I think means it’s not paired. But without a keyboard or mouse I can’t get past the home screen! I feel comepletely stuck and I don’t understand how they can stop working and therefore make your computer completely inaccessible! I changed the batteries and tried the reset and still they look to pair but without logging in I am stuck :( welcome all tips!!!! Thank you!!!

    1. Yes very annoying. You may need to borrow a USB keyboard (or buy one, they cost as little as $5, any will do), just so you can get booted, then remove the pairing and try again. You may need to do a PRAM reset as well.

  41. Hey Dave,

    I seem to have an unique issue where Num keys 1-9 are not working. Every other keys are fine. Strangely the Keyboard got unpaired from the Mac by itself & now can’t pair it back as number keys not working, any suggestions? Currently using a USB keyboard,

    1. I seem to remember having a problem when pairing where, in my case, the enter key was not working, so maybe its a glitch in the setup. I’d make sure its not shown as a paired device, reboot, then try pairing again using the tip outlined in the article about holding the power button. I think that has worked for me every time.

      1. Hey Dave, The number keys not working is not just at the time of pairing, I have this problem even while it was paired earlier (suddenly it got unpaired for no reason). What do you suggest

  42. Very old keyboard would not pair with slightly younger Mac Mini running Mavricks, though it worked earlier. Finally, I attached an old wired keyboard, turned Bluetooth OFF, restarted the computer, and turned Bluetooth ON. Keyboard was immediately recognized. Magic?

  43. it did not work for me as my iMac i7 2013 still dose not see my key board on boot but once in the OS the key board works fine but still can’t figure out the problem i looked at things that may interfere with it but surely if there was any interference it would stop it working all together but one in the oOS the bluetooth keyboard works fine the mac just don’t see it on boot any one got any idea’s ?

  44. Hey Dave,

    Came across your blog post. My aluminium (3-battery) keyboard packed up and decided not to connect to anything at all. The ‘hold button’ trick got me a little further — the keyboard assistant briefly showed the name of the keyboard but reverted to ‘no keyboard found’ when it actually tried to pair. Any other variation and just nothing appears on the Mac at all. (MacBook Pro, mid 2010, 10.9.2). I’ve also tried pairing it to my iPad but that doesn’t even see it. Far as I know, my MBP is the only thing this keyboard has ever been paired with. :-(

    Regards!

    SB

  45. Thanks for this; after losing 20 minutes of the morning to this problem again this trick actually worked and I’m now able to get on with things; much appreciated!

  46. At least 2 x my keyboard & mouse just quit, monitor fine. Since I can’t use mouse or anything I have to unplug computer and then everything works fine again. Will definitely try your advice of holding down the power button, but my mouse doesn’t work, so do the same with the mouse too? Or do one then the other? Lastly, how do we do it with the mouse, since there is no power button to hold down rather a click? Many thanks!!

    1. The power button trick only works for those devices that have a contact power button. Some of the mice have a slide power switch, so no good. But the rest of the advice on the page regarding general Bluetooth troubleshooting holds true, so be sure to check those out too.

  47. Thank you! So should this happen again I will try your trick, and if it works great, but will it make the mouse come back too? If not, how can I reboot computer with just keyboard? I’m hoping/thinking that if your trick works for keyboard, then it might make the mouse ‘come alive’ again too. Just curious, if one has to keep doing this, resetting–it can’t be good, no? Some underlying other issue perhaps or just buy a new keyboard? And again, thank you so much!

  48. This document details keyboard shortcuts to restart/shutdown our computer.

    http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1343?viewlocale=en_US&locale=en_US

    Try the NVRAM reset shortcut on startup (keep holding the keys until the Mac restarts) as that can cause problems with Bluetooth config).

    Obviously not good if it keeps happening, but likely to be a glitch in the configuration or local interference, which if you follow the tips you may be able to diagnose. Probably not either the keyboard or mouse if it affects both, so maybe the Mac’s Bluetooth controller failing, which on most models can be replaced if necessary.

  49. <

    p>My wireless mouse is not working, but my keyboard is. I can’t click anything on my Apple Mac screen because of a non-working mouse. I don’t know what to do and I have tried replacing the batteries, it still doesn’t work. If you have some sort of solution for my problem please email me your answer. Thankyou

  50. Ok, I have the strangest problem and I tried your suggestion but failed. I am not sure if you can help me or not, but here goes. My imac has stopped responding to my wireless keyboard, but only in my account. SOME keys work 1% of the time! and only after smashing them. Also, the ‘right click’ function of my wireless mouse has stopped working.

    However, everything is fine when I log into the guest account, and I can type in my password at the start up screen.

    Oh please help :(

    1. Any chance that you have some utility installed that is meant to be ‘enhancing’ the keyboard and mouse, but that is no longer working correctly? That likely wouldn’t be installed on the guest account. Try creating another normal user account temporarily, and see what behaviour you get there. Also, check your users login items to see if there is anything loading at startup that might cause a problem, and also see if you have any addition System Preferences panes that are keyboard/mouse related, other than the standard ones.

  51. Works great everytime. But then every time I turn my MBP off for more than a few hours it gets unpaired and I have to do the whole “hold down button” trick again. Same deal for both keyboard and magic trackpad. Any thoughts on that? Thank you in advance.

    1. Are you sure its getting unpaired? Does the pairing still appear in the OS X Bluetooth preferences, but its just not connecting? It sounds more like the devices are perhaps connecting to another host which they’ve been paired with before. If so, you’ll need to remove them from the other devices pairing preferences or they’ll keep trying to connect.

  52. David, You, sir, are a genius. Thank you so much for solving this problem.

    As for Apple… come on, guys, get your act together. You’re making zillions of dollars. A little better product support, please…

  53. Hi Dave I do exactly your guide. But when the code appear, the numbers doesn´n black althought i type correct. But when i type different number, the code is black. Return is blue but i can´t press it. The keyboard doesn´t pair. What i should do?

  54. Hi Dave

    A big thank you for such an easy fix for an issue in pairing a keyboard with my iPad.

    Connected beautifully once I followed your clear instructions.

    F

  55. Awesome! Dave, you’re great! I’m from Germany. No one could help me. I was getting so frustrated and this solved my keyboard problem. I’m so happy!!!! All the best for you!

  56. Hey Dave,

    I have a sort of unique problem. First off, I want to disclose this I’m running Yosemite right now and that may be the culprit. Pretty much, I’m having trouble pairing my keyboard with my mac. It pairs for a while and then stops working. When I try to remove the device, it gets removed but when I enter discovery mode again, it doesn’t give me the option to pair it, but only to reconnect to it. When I remove the device it should not reconnect unless I pair it although it won’t give me the option to pair it. When I try to reconnect, that won’t work either. Again, it may be Yosemite, but I just wanted to ask to see if you had any idea.

    Cheers, Tristan

    1. Obvious the beta software it could be a bug, but seems to just be the same issue that affects earlier versions. If the ‘hold power’ trick outlined in the article doesn’t do it, try the other suggestions, particularly regarding fresh Alkaline batteries and removing interference. Also, take a look in the Console logs to see if there is any hint as to why the keyboard disconnects. Good luck!

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