When the Escape key stops working on Mac running the latest macOS, you’ve trouble closing the dialogs and utilizing keyboard shortcut. A various reasons that can contribute to this problem, such as hardware problems, improper Mac settings, and more. If you aren’t familiar with what’s causing the issue, work way through the following troubleshooting tips to fix Esc kep not working on Mac.
Free Solutions to Fix Escape Key Not Working on Mac
Here are 12 ways to resolve the Escape key not working on Mac running the latest macOS. We suggest performing each of them without missing any.
Solution #1. Apply the Basic Fixes
Over time, dirt and dust can accumulate under the Escape Button on the Mac keyboard, eventually preventing it from working. Therefore, you must first try cleaning the Esc Button gently using a brush or compressed air to remove the persistent dust or dirt trapped beneath it. Here’s a full guide to Clean Apple Magic Keyboard & Clean MacBook Keyboard.
If you’re using the Magic Keyboard, try disconnecting and reconnecting and check for the issue. Another thing you can do is try connecting your magic keyboard to an alternate Mac and test the Esc button. Hopefully, this will help to rule out any potential hardware-related problems.
How can you reset your MacBook Keyboard to defaults?
A normal reset can often resolve your problem with the keyboard, likewise unresponsiveness. But if you want to reset your MacBook keyboard,
Step 1: Go to Apple Logo from the top menu > System Settings.
Step 2: Select the Keyboard from the left side panel > Keyboard Shortcuts.
Step 3: Select Modifier Keys > Restore Defaults.
How can you disable Sticky Keys on MacBook?
There are chances where sticky keys on a Mac computer can prevent the keyboard from responding. Thus, turning the sticky key off can work wonders.
Step 1: Go to Apple Menu > System Settings.
Step 2: Choose Accessibility Option.Tap on Keyboard.
Step 3: Toggle off the Sticky Key & Slow Keys.
How can you disable Slow Keys on MacBook?
The slow Key function will delay action on Mac, Disable the feature and Get a Normal response even if you press the Esc Key.
Step 1: Go to Apple Menu > System Settings.
Step 2: Accessibility > Keyboard.
Step 3: Toggle off the Slow Key toggle.
Solution #2. Restart your Mac Computer
Restarting your Mac computer is an age-old troubleshooting tip that can help you resolve various problems, including the Esc keyboard not working on your Mac. Performing this will give Mac and its service a fresh start, fixing the temporary bugs. For this, follow the steps below.
Step 1: Click on the Apple Logo from the left-top corner of Mac. Select Restart from the prompted menu.
Step 2: From the next pop-up, select Restart Button.
Solution #3. Close unwanted Apps
When running multiple apps simultaneously, the Mac computer may become unresponsive, and the keyboard may stop working. To resolve the problem, all you need to do is close unwanted apps.
- Click on the Apple Logo Menu at the left-top corner of the Mac screen. Choose Force Quit option from the prompted menu.
- Select the apps one by one, or press Command + A to select all apps. Finally, choose the Force Quit Button.
Solution #4. Install the latest macOS Update
Update often comes with many fixes to resolve the system software bugs. If the bug is within the outdated macOS version is the main reason for your faulty ESC button, then updating your macOS version is the best solution you need to perform. For this, follow the steps below.
Step 1: Click on the Apple Logo from the top left corner of the Mac screen and Choose System Settings from the prompted menu.
Step 2: Click on General from the left pane. Select Software Update from right side.
Step 3: let your Mac check for updates. If a newer version is available, click on Update Now.
Solution #5. Disable or Force Quit Siri
In rare cases, but sometimes the virtual assistant, Siri, can trap you in no-escape situations. When Siri is not responding or showing an error, your Esc key on Mac may stop working. To turn it off on your Mac, follow the steps below.
Step 1: Click on the Apple Menu located at the top left corner of Mac and Select System Settings.
Step 2: Choose Siri & Spotlight from the left pane. Click on the toggle next to the Ask Siri to turn it off.
Force Quit Siri
You can start using Siri again once the problem is resolved or turn it on later. Besides this, you can try force-quitting the Siri. For this, follow the steps below.
Step 1: Press Command + Space to access the Spotlight Search.
Step 2: Enter Activity Monitor and click on it to open.
Step 3: Go to the CPU Tab in the Activity Monitor toolbar. Then, search for Siri in the search bar.
Step 4: Select Siri and then click on the X Icon to force quit the Siri.
Step 5: Confirm the process by selecting “Force Quit.”
Solution #6. Boot Mac to Safe Mode
Sometimes the applications you are using may interfere with Esc other than Siri. To cross-verify, you can boot your Mac to Safe Mode to see whether that’s the case. That’s because, in safe mode, your Mac computer runs only the necessary drivers and apps and turns off third-party software, which may be the reason for the keyboard malfunctioning. However, this procedure is different for Intel chip Mac & Apple Silicon Mac. We have covered both of them below.
For Apple Silicon Mac
- Shut Down your Mac. Then, Wait for 20 seconds.
- Now, hold the Power Button (Touch ID Button MacBook) until the Startup options appear on the Mac screen.
- From the options, choose your startup disk and then press the Shift Button.
- Choose Continue In Safe Mode.
- Log in and check whether the issue persists or not.
For Intel Chip Mac
- Select the Apple Icon at the left top corner of Mac screen.
- Choose Restart from the drop-down menu.
- Press and hold the Shift Button on your Mac keyboard until the login page appears.
Solution #7. Login into the new Account
This method is similar to booting a Mac to Safe mode. Yes, by creating and logging in to a fresh account, you’ll get the default Mac settings and configuration that caused the keyboard’s problem. It’s one of the efficient ways to rule out hardware problems. To create it, follow the steps below.
Step 1: Click on the Apple Icon located at the top left corner of the Mac menu bar. Click on System Settings…
Step 2: Select Users & Groups from the left pane. Click Add Account on the right side.
Step 3: Enter the Administrator Name & Password to confirm the process.
Step 4: Enter the required information and choose “Create User.”
Solution #8. Reset Your Mac’s SMC
On MacBook with Intel, SMC stores various information like hardware functions, along with the Esc Button. In case you Intel-based Mac, then resetting SMC will resolve the problem. For this, you can refer to our article on how to reset SMC on a Mac.
Solution #9. Switch from macOS Beta to the Public release version
macOS Beta versions aren’t fully developed and ready to use. Therefore, running a Mac on a beta version can cause software bugs, including a faulty keyboard.
- Click on the Apple Icon located at the top left corner of Mac.
- Select System Settings…
- Choose General from left pane.
- Click on Software Update from right side.
- On the next screen, if you see the phrase “The Mac is enrolled in the Apple Beta Software Program,”
- Click on Details next to it.
- Choose Restore Defaults. You can now update your Mac to the public macOS version.
Solution #10. Assign Escape Function to another key
Did you know other keys can also fill to Esc key? This isn’t the solution, but it’s a temporary solution until you get the actual solution for Escape key not working on Mac. To do so, follow the steps below.
Step 1: Click on the Apple Logo Icon located at the top left corner of Mac. Select System Settings.
Step 2: Choose Keyboard from the left pane. Click on Keyboard Shortcuts on the right side of screen.
Step 3: Navigate to the Modifier Keys on the left pane. Click on the name of one of the keys and then assign the Escape function. To save changes, click on the Done Button.
Solution #11. Check if your Mac is part of the Apple Service Program
The Apple Service Program is a program where Apple resolves manufacturing problems with some of its devices and offers replacement/service programs. So check the list and see if your device is part of it.
Solution #12. Contact Apple Support
Hopefully, any one of the solutions mentioned above in the article will fix the issue. But if not, it’s high time to Contact the Apple Support Team. That’s because they are a dedicated team of experts that can help you diagnose the issue and accordingly offer you a solution.
That’s how you can fix Escape key not working on Mac. Further, if you find any solution that isn’t mentioned in the guide, please drop it in the comment box below.