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How to test a Mac or Apple keyboard

Apple keyboards or the built-in keyboard on a MacBook are generally good quality keyboards but they aren’t immune to problems. They can stop working entirely, or in part i.e., just a few keys. This can be a software problem and Apple has had trouble with its keyboard in the past though, it was to do with keys repeating when they shouldn’t. If you think the keyboard on your Mac or MacBook is broken, you can test it.

Test an Apple keyboard

You can test an Apple or a MacBook keyboard with a web app or with a desktop app for the Mac. The choice is yours. If you’d like to test the keyboard with a web app, we recommend using Keyboard Checker. We’ve recommended this app before for checking a Windows keyboard. It has a test for Apple’s keyboards too. Visit the keyboard checker and tap each key on the keyboard. The key that is pressed is highlighted in green.

If you prefer to use a desktop app to test the keys, you can use Inspect. It’s a free, open-source app that can test a keyboard and also test your screen for dead pixels. Download and run the app. Select the ‘Keyboard Test’ on the app’s launch screen and you will get an on-screen keyboard.

Go ahead and tap different keys to see if they’re working or not, and which key is recognized in response to a keypress. The green highlight indicates a key that is being held down while the blue highlight indicates a key that was pressed and released.

For the function keys, you need to hold down the Fn key on your keyboard in order to execute them.

If some of the keys on the keyboard are not responding, and you’re using an external Apple keyboard, you can try using it on a different system and see if the unresponsive keys work on it. If not, the keyboard is broken. You’re either going to have to replace it or have it repaired. If you don’t want to splurge on an Apple keyboard which is generally more expensive than a non-Apple keyboard, you can use one with it pretty easily. The keys on a Windows keyboard can be remapped so that they are more intuitive to use on macOS. The remapping feature is available out-of-the-box if all you’re looking to do is change how the modifier keys work. If you want to remap other keys, you can use an app called Karabiner.

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