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How to Revive a Dead Apple Bluetooth Keyboard with Tin Foil

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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!

18 Responses to “How to Revive a Dead Apple Bluetooth Keyboard with Tin Foil”

    • Peer inside with a flashlight, the metal part in the center is getting recessed too far back and the shoulder of the battery is being held by the white plastic part. Your very small pea of aluminum foil should be centered on the metal part before dropping in the batteries. The aluminum foil should not short to the side of the battery compartment. The keyboard is about the best design I’ve seen, except the one weak spring (unseen) that apparently isn’t quite springy enough.

  1. Giri Gagan Khorana

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I am typing from my now repaired keyboard. My keyboard was lying unused for the last year!! I thought it was a lemon. It conked off within 6 months of buying it. Well, your aluminum pea ball trick worked like a charm! Muah!
    I am in India which is one of the places where Apple does not have such a strong presence. As an Apple user I recommend Apple products to a lot of people, but recently I have seen there is a marked decline in the quality of the products from Cupertino. Please Apple don’t do this, you are a premium brand which was synonymous with quality design. Don’t become a dumb bimbette. All show no go.

  2. Craig39

    Wow! Is all I can say! As I type happily on my now-functional Apple Wireless Keyboard. What a bonehead move from a normally competent company. Of course, the Apple knowledge base has no entry for this problem.

  3. dyxlesic

    I too had the mysterious “No more Power On” syndrome I had a feeling it was something to do with the internal connection, but didn’t think to try the magic al foil bullet.
    Gotta love Apple users- perhaps even more than Apple itself – for their dedication to their chosen products, cos like I tell all my Windaze using friends, I don’t need an IT expert to sort out ANY problems that I have with my Apple products.
    I just have to google it. The solution is out there on the Net.
    Thanx for confirming that. Another great story to tell the Winfidels!

  4. 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!

  5. 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…)?