How get past Mac log in screen when keyboard won't work?
June 5, 2019 10:11 AM   Subscribe

I password protect my Mac desktop. This morning, after it worked last night, the keyboard won't work. I changed the batteries. Still won't work. Problem is, I can't go into system preferences to see what's up because I can't type in the password to get pass the log in screen. Any advice? Thanks!
posted by holdenjordahl to Technology (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
And you don't have another USB keyboard you can plug in?
posted by zamboni at 10:18 AM on June 5, 2019

At what step do these instructions fail, and how?
posted by flabdablet at 10:27 AM on June 5, 2019

I am by no means an expert but we use a lot of macs at work and these instructions have helped with most of the keyboard issues we've experienced:
posted by phunniemee at 10:50 AM on June 5, 2019

Thanks flabdablet. To now rephrase the question, how do I pair the keyboard to the Mac if I can't get past the login screen? Thank you.

Thanks zamboni. Alas, no other keyboard.
posted by holdenjordahl at 11:07 AM on June 5, 2019

Is there any way to enable the onscreen keyboard from the login screen?

Windows has an accessibility icon on the login screen that lets you do this. Does your Mac have something like that?
posted by domo at 11:55 AM on June 5, 2019

Oh, this talks about that:

It looks like you have to enable it ahead of time.
posted by domo at 11:56 AM on June 5, 2019 [1 favorite]

I'm guessing you have the older-style Apple wireless keyboard, since the newer kind doesn't have user-replaceable batteries. Did you press the power button on the right side of the keyboard? And does the power LED light up?
posted by vitout at 12:00 PM on June 5, 2019 [1 favorite]

In my experience, when a wireless keyboard or mouse will not connect to my iMac upon startup, or at times just randomly disconnect for no real reason in the middle of the day, I have to plug in a wired keyboard or mouse and go into the bluetooth preferences and pair the one that won't connect from there. It doesn't happen a lot, but enough that I kept my old wired versions when I upgraded just for this problem.
posted by blacktshirtandjeans at 1:19 PM on June 5, 2019

Go buy a $21 wired keyboard, plug it in, fire up your machine, and keep it around in case this happens again.
posted by pdb at 2:08 PM on June 5, 2019 [1 favorite]

Hello everyone.
I figured out a nice workaround.
I forgot I had Chrome desktop remote connected to my Chromebook.
I used my Chromebook to get my iMac screen and re-paired the keyboard.
For some reason, Bluetooth had failed.
Mission accomplished.
Thanks for all the generous responses.
posted by holdenjordahl at 2:10 PM on June 5, 2019 [1 favorite]

Good idea, pdb - I'll do that. Thanks.
posted by holdenjordahl at 2:28 PM on June 5, 2019

Said it before and I'll say it again: wires rule, wireless drools.

So many annoying failure modes, all for the sake of not having to look at one little bit of cable on a desktop.
posted by flabdablet at 1:10 AM on June 6, 2019 [1 favorite]

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