Number Keypad Not Working on a Mac Keyboard? It’s a Simple Fix!

 

Many Mac users go with the full sized Apple wired keyboard rather than a wireless keyboard so that they can have a dedicated number keypad on their keyboard. Sometimes that numeric pad seems to randomly stop working though, and suddenly numbers don’t type at all, which can be frustrating to say the least. To further complicate the matter, the Apple Wired Keyboard does not include a traditional “Num Lock” key like you’d find on most PC keyboards, so it can be difficult for switchers to easily identify if that’s related to the issue or not. Fortunately, for almost every occurrence where the number keypad has stopped working with a Mac keyboard, the resolution is easy.

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You’ll likely want to open a text editor app or be somewhere that you can enter numbers and text freely while you troubleshoot this issue, chances are that you’ll have it resolved momentarily but you’ll still want to double-check by typing on the number keyboard to insure things function as intended. It can also be helpful to summon theonscreen virtual keyboard on the Mac to make sure the key presses are registering as intended, though this is mostly for visual affirmation and not necessary for troubleshooting.

Where is the “Num Lock” Key on a Mac Keyboard?

There isn’t a dedicated Num Lock key on the Apple Wired Keyboards, and that applies to many of the third party USB keyboards built for Macs too. However, you can achieve the same function by hitting the CLEAR button on the numeric keyboard. You may need to hit Shift+CLEAR instead, depending on your individual keyboard and settings.

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Try both of those separately, and then try to type numbers using the numeric keypad again, this should resolve the issue in most cases.

Numbers Still Not Typing? Check for Mouse Keys

If you tried Clear and Shift+Clear to no avail, you probably have a setting enabled in the accessibility options of OS X that is preventing the numeric keypad from acting exclusively as a means of typing numbers. This setting is called Mouse Keys, which allows a user to control the onscreen cursor using the number pad on an extended keyboard.

  1. Open  Apple menu and choose “System Preferences”, then go to “Accessibility”
  2. Select “Mouse & Trackpad” and look for an option called “Enable Mouse Keys” – uncheck this if it is checked to regain usage of the number pad

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The most obvious indicator that Mouse Keys is the reason the numeric keypad is not working is that when you type a number, the mouse cursor moves very slightly, thus if you try to type a bunch of numbers the mouse cursor on screen may seem to jiggle around a bit in a small area. This is not always very obvious though because the Mouse Keys feature is intended to be precise and allow for fine manipulation of onscreen elements, thus you should always check for the setting when troubleshooting the matter.