18 Comments

Summary:

I was so mesmerized with my new Apple Magic Mouse yesterday that I neglected to share an interesting, yet wacky, problem. I bought the new mouse to get away from typing and navigating on my MacBook. I already had an Apple Bluetooth keyboard, although I hadn’t […]

apple-wireless-keyboardI was so mesmerized with my new Apple Magic Mouse yesterday that I neglected to share an interesting, yet wacky, problem. I bought the new mouse to get away from typing and navigating on my MacBook. I already had an Apple Bluetooth keyboard, although I hadn’t used it in nearly a year. So I just bought the mouse. As I was setting up my more traditional setup, I realized that my keyboard wouldn’t power up. That’s to be expected, I thought. After all, the batteries have been sitting in there for a year. So I swapped the batteries and… nothing. No little green light to tell me the power was on. No keyboards found in the Bluetooth settings on my Mac. I really thought that the keyboard was shot and was quite annoyed, since I had just come from the Apple store. Then I did a little online research and found dozens of people with the same problem

Near as I can tell, there’s some sort of clip in the battery slot of the Apple keyboard. And apparently, I lost it. Or it was never there. I can’t be sure. I do know that several folks had the exact same symptoms, and not just with keyboards that sat around for year. Some folks got a low battery warning, replaced their batteries and the keyboard never turned on again. It’s as if the keyboard went into a coma.

tinfoilAs I continued to read through the support discussion, someone suggested a small wad of tin foil be placed in the battery housing. I snickered and continued down the thread. And then I saw someone say that the tin foil worked. Then more people chimed in with similar success. I stopped laughing after the first few reports.

So of course, I shuffled down to the kitchen for some tin foil. I created a small ball about the size of a pea using the aluminum foil and then dropped it into the empty battery slot of the keyboard. I followed the metallic spit ball with three batteries and sealed the housing — the green power light immediately lit up. O.M.G.!!!

Perhaps the metal contact spring was “de-sprung” by having immobile batteries for a year. Or maybe it slowly bends over time. I have no idea. All I know is that a pea-sized ball of aluminum foil saved me from making another trip to buy a new keyboard. Go figure!

You’re subscribed! If you like, you can update your settings

  1. Wow, that’s an example of some serious cheap engineering, both on your part and that of Apple’s. I’d be embarrassed if my company put out a keyboard with a spring too weak to hold the batteries in securely. Great trick though. Should we add tin foil to the list of stuff that can fix anything (WD-40, duct tape…)?

  2. Is this the “Apple quality” I hear about all the time?

  3. Better geeking through Alcoa.

  4. I fixed the audio interference on my treo 600 years ago by shielding the battery cable with some tin foil. Aluminum foil is handy stuff.

  5. If you think the keyboard is badly engineered, take a look inside the old Apple Mighty Mouse nipple ball unit. I am on my third MM after a warranty replacement and one that Apple Japan refused to replace because it was a warranty replacement. The nipple ball unit is the cheapest piece of Chinese rubbish engineering for a severe operation environment (finger grease and dirt) you can imagine. It has a small detent spring plate under the ball that relaxes over time with scrolling and ball pressing so that it cuts the think silicone sheet covering a contact switch underneath the plate. Complete garbage and almost engineered to wear out a few months after the warranty coverage. I understand now why the Magic Mouse appeared!

  6. Filed for future reference!

  7. Thanks for the tip, but it didn’t work for me. My keyboard, less than three years old, is dead dead dead.

  8. Worked liked a charm. Thanks for the tip.

  9. Am now the proud owner of a working bluetooth keyboard. Cheers for sharing this!

  10. Fixed here also. I assumed I just had crappy batteries laying around. Seriously apple admit when you make crap, offer a public recall, and just fix the product.

Comments have been disabled for this post