Macbook Pro keyboard backlight not working

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by AmandaWahoo, Jan 8, 2012.

  1. macrumors newbie

    Jan 8, 2012
    Yesterday evening, I turned my MBP on and I noticed that the keys weren't lighting up. I tried covering the sensor, and adjusting the settings, nothing happened. I had some additional RAM installed and I thought something may have come loose but we opened it up again and couldn't find anything.
    Also, this is odd: Yesterday when I first noticed the problem, I was under keyboard in the preferences and there is an option that you can check that says "Automatically..." Now that's not there... I don't know, perhaps a setting somewhere was changed.

    Any help will be wonderful :)

    EDIT: also the buttons themselves are not working anymore since I noticed this change in the preferences screen. The icons are not appearing on the screen at all.

    Attached Files:

  2. macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
  3. macrumors 6502


    Dec 26, 2011
    I'm having trouble too. I'm typing right now and the keyboard is off. If I lift the Macbook off my lap and tilt it towards me, it comes on for a second. Then when I put it down it goes out again. Also, F5&F6 (keyboard brightness) won't respond. It worked before but isn't responding now. Because the keyboard backlight is off? If I lift the keyboard, then the brightness adj. works. I just moved the laptop to my tray table, closer to the outside light and the keyboard is now on. I haven't had this issue before. It's something new. It is darker where I had it on my lap so I'm a little perplexed. The sensor is front right? It wasn't covered. And if it was, wouldn't that make the keyboard stay on?
  4. Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    Did you try hitting the fn+F6 key combination to increase the brightness? That usually works for me. Conversely use the fn+F5 key to cycle down the keyboard backlight.
  5. macrumors 68040

    Nov 6, 2008
    The most populated city in the planet
    FN assuming his settings are F# by default. I, on the other hand, need to press FN + key to use the F#. In other words, if his settings are the same as mine, he doesn't need to hit FN to increase brightness.
  6. macrumors 6502


    Dec 26, 2011
    The F5 and F6 keys do work, but the keyboard wasn't lighting up at all unless I tilted the laptop up or moved it off my lap. And at that time, when the keyboard was dark, the F5 and F6 keys were not responding. I would see the brightness level indicator on the screen, but there was a O with a line through it and all the lines indicating the brightness level were greyed out. It's dark outside and I'm sitting in a fairly dimly lit room now and the keyboard is lit and staying lit, so I don't know what was going on. I'll see if it happens again tomorrow morning.
  7. macrumors 65816


    Jun 3, 2011
    The part that was bolded occurred because you were in a brightly lit area. because of this, the keyboard backlight didn't need to be on, so it was not on and would not let you turn it on.
  8. macrumors 6502


    Dec 26, 2011
    Ok, I thought the sensor was in the front right, which is the IR sensor. I didn't realize it was by the webcam. That makes more sense.
  9. macrumors newbie

    Aug 5, 2007
    I am having the exact same problem as amanda after replacing my ram. I reset the pram and did the smc rest and to no avail. the F5 and F6 buttons work but not as the function for the backlit keyboard. All other F keys work properly and I also no longer have the option in the keyboard section of disk utility for the backlit keyboard. What else can I do????
  10. macrumors 68040

    Nov 6, 2008
    The most populated city in the planet
    Thanks for the knowledge, had no idea!
  11. ahliman, Jun 8, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2012

    macrumors newbie

    Jun 8, 2012
    I've had the same issue. Here's the story with solution:
    After adding some new RAM I've noticed, that the keys weren't lighting up. Also under keyboard in the preferences the "Automatically..." wasn't there anymore. Exactly as Amanda described. SMC and PRAM resets didn't help.
    Long surfing sessions and countless forums later I found a hint guiding my attention to a tiny cable which is easily disconnected working on the RAM. If you're sitting infront of your open MacBook in order to change the RAM, the corresponding cables are on the left hand side. They are really small, bifilar and covered with a small piece of cellotape. This cable was disconnected, so I fiddled it into the right place and covered it again.
    I closed the backside and started the Mac Daddy. The keyboard was still not working. This changed after a last SMC reset.

    Backlight is back and I am happy. Hope this is going to help you.

    Regards from Germany...
  12. macrumors newbie

    Jun 23, 2012
    I had the same problem. I upgraded the Ram and somehow a small tab dislodged without me knowing. the illumination keys (F5 and F6) was unresponsive. I tried setting the SMC which then meant that the illuminate keyboard entry under system preferences/keyboard disappeared.

    Having just opened up the back I noticed a minute cable had been dislodged near to where the RAM is. it is really fiddley to replace and you need something like a toothpick to guide it back in. once in you need to reset the SMC to recognise the backlight function and thereafter the backlight function should reappear and the backlight should work again.

    However, I must admit I am a novice when it comes to computers and will never try to install RAM again for fear of something else going wrong.
  13. macrumors newbie

    Jun 23, 2012
    MafLynn is right . . .

    The "fn" & "f6" keys together 100% worked for me . . . Thank you : )
  14. macrumors newbie

    Jul 31, 2012
    Thank you all for the hint about that tiny cable, I just upgraded the RAM on my Macbook Pro and had exactly the problem as the OP.

    I've attached a picture of the cable for the next unlucky guy who pulls it out, it's the small ribbon cable with the number 1&2 in the image below.

    I guess there's usually a small piece of tape holding it in place, in my case it must have fallen off.

    IMG_1608 cropped.jpeg
  15. macrumors newbie

    Jan 9, 2012
    Simila but different

    i have also had a problem were my F5-6 would stop working with no change.
    but the difference is i have not done any upgrades and the lights still work.
    i just dont have control over them from my account. as soon as i go to the login window i can change the backlighting with the F5-6 but once i am back in my account i lose controll over the lights again.
    so basicaly if i whant to use my backlight keyboard i have to go to the login window change it to what i want then log back in.
  16. hagfish, Oct 21, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2012

    macrumors newbie

    Oct 21, 2012
    Try putting your thumb over the webcam. If "Illuminate keyboard in low light conditions' is checked in 'System Preferences > Keyboard', it may be overriding your F5/F6 settings. That's what was going on for me, at any rate.

    Just a guess, but changing the RAM may reset the keyboard preferences to some factory setting, even if little ribbon cables aren't knocked around.
  17. macrumors newbie

    Oct 27, 2012
    MacBook Pro keyboard lit not working

    Thank you for the photo.
    It worked perfect. I was frustrated surfing the net for a solution till I found you people.

    Thank you all and wish you best of luck.
  18. macrumors newbie

    Oct 30, 2012
    hello there! hi guys it's my first message here i really need your help.

    i changed ram on my macbook pro late 2011 for the third time, i always did it without any trouble. This time, ive noticed that the backlight keyboard is not working anymore. i tried to take a look on the cable (21 cable in the picture) but i didnt understand one thing: do i have to insert in, sliding it or it's just a "touch" connector and i have to push it on the connector and cover it with the little black plastic piece? because i tried to fix it but is not working anyway

    thank you
  19. macrumors newbie

    Jul 31, 2012
    You just slide it into a very narrow, almost invisible slot, I found it by chance. It doesn't snap fast in any way, that's why I suspect there's usually a piece of tape holding it in place.

    The copper you see in the photo is the ribbon cable, I couldn't push the cable any farther.

    I think it has already been recommended in this thread, but I suggest using a wooden tooth pick to push the cable in place.
  20. macrumors 65816

    Nov 6, 2012
    I bought a 2008 MBP that has a keyboard with no back light. I found this thread and checked the ribbon cable pictured here but I dont have a ribbon cable anywhere in sight. Do you think it might be pushed under the board? What all do I have to remove to check?
  21. macrumors newbie

    Oct 30, 2012
    worked great, thanks! your help was precious.

    pushing the cable inside was really messy but i got it at the end :)

    thank u
  22. macrumors newbie

    Dec 28, 2012
    This did the trick. I had to try twice, as the first time I had not pushed it in enough (there is a small amount of resistance at the end before it is fully in place). Thanks!
  23. macrumors newbie

    Jun 5, 2010
  24. macrumors newbie

    Mar 8, 2013
    Thank you! Works Perfect Now.

    I just covered the webcam and pressed the F6 key to illuminate the keyboard. Then the F1 and F2 keys to lighten darken screen all this time keeping my finger on the webcam. Saved me a trip to the store. Thanks Heaps!
  25. macrumors newbie

    Jul 16, 2013
    I just upgraded my ram and dislodged the connector for the Backlight, the tape lost its stickiness thanks to my dirty fingers. does anyone know if i can use regular tape to fix this?

Share This Page