Why Your Back-lit Keyboard Does Not Work And How To Fix

Updated on March 30, 2020
Why Your Back-Lit Keyboard Does Not Work And How To Fix

A backlit keyboard is a keyboard where the keys are illuminated for viewing in dim or completely dark conditions. Backlit keyboards are popular with gamers for their suitability in darkened gaming environments, and for computer users in general for both practical and aesthetic reasons. But for some cause backlit may not work, because of various reasons like a bad software update or hardware issues.

If the backlit of your keyboard suddenly stops working then you’re on the right page, we will guide you on how to fix an unresponsive backlit Mac keyboard with these four simple solutions anyone can follow.

Advantages of Backlit Keyboards

  1. The backlit keyboards are able to be used in darkness because it lights up from behind the keys.
  2. On regular boards, the characters attributed to each key are simply printed on and do not light up. This makes backlit keyboards the ultimate in versatility.
  3. Depending on the keyboard supplier and model, you can have one or more colors. For the gamer or for the person who wants a bit more flair in their computer hardware setup, a colorful backlit keyboard is a way to go. While these keyboards certainly tend to bring a more youthful feel to a desk, they are suitable for anyone young at heart.
Advantages Of Backlit Keyboards

With the amount of time you spend on your keyboards as editors or programmers and yes those lucky enough to have all that time gaming, you probably want to see the keys.

How to fix an unresponsive backlit keyboard

We wouldn’t recommend opening/unscrew anything right off the bat as it will affect and even void any Apple hardware warranty. Still, the best way is to restart the device and if after following this recommended solution it is still not working, get in touch with Apple’s customer service.

First Solution: Check light sensor’s location

The first thing to do, check if your light sensor is facing any direct source of light, if so then automatic backlit may not trigger. Adjust the location of your sensor and check if the Mac keyboard backlit issue is solved or not.

Second Solution: Disable automatic keyboard brightness

The problem may be the automatic light sensing is not working properly which could affect the backlit of your keyboard, you can disable the automatic brightness in low light and see if it resolves the backlit problem by pressing F5 or F6 for decreasing and increasing the backlit brightness respectively.

Third Solution: SMC Reset

Shutdown your MacBook then connect the power adapter, On MacBook’s keyboard, hold down and press the Shift+Control+Options keys and the power button at the same time. Release all the keys and the power button again at the same time while looking at the light on the MagSafe adapter, the light color may change briefly to indicate the SMC has reset successfully. Boot your Mac as usual and check if pressing F5 and F6 lightens or dims the light in your keyboard.

SMC Reset

Fourth Solution: Zap the PRAM

Shutdown your Mac, press and hold the Command+Option+P+R keys right as you turn on your Mac. Once you hear the startup chimes the second time the PRAM has been reset and release the keys, check if the backlit is working now.


The reasons as to why the backlit of your keyboard does not work may be caused by software or hardware problem, good thing there are workarounds that you can do by yourself but if the issue persists you better contact Apple customer support instead of doing something that can wreak havoc on your Mac.

Article by:
Kenny Trinh
While he’s not editing articles on the latest tech trends, he likes to discuss business and entrepreneur. His writing has been featured in national publications such as Forbes, RD, Yahoo Finance, HackerNoon among others.

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