Skip to content

Esc key not working on Mac: Quick Fix

  • by
  • 4 min read

Macs are known for their high-quality hardware and smooth-running software and are some of the most powerful consumer-grade computers on the planet. However, as good as they are, they do run into bugs and glitches from time to time. 

In this article, we’re talking about the Esc key not working on Macs, its reasons and what you can do to fix the problem.

Why isn’t your Esc key working?

There are a number of reasons why your Esc key or any other key might stop working out of the blue. Some common causes include:

  • Hardware issues in the keyboard.
  • A process is holding up the Esc key. 
  • Outdated macOS version. 

Also read: Apple iPad touch screen not working: Quick Fix

How to fix this?

Here are six fixes you can try out.

Restart your mac

Restarting might be a cliche at this point in time but it can still fix seemingly random issues across hardware and operating systems. If a key isn’t working as expected, try restarting your Mac to see if that fixes the error. 

Use the accessibility keyboard

If you absolutely need the Esc key, you can use the accessibility keyboard for the time being. It can be launched by heading over to System Preferences followed by Accessibility and you’ll see the keyboard option under the Motor section. 

This opens up a virtual keyboard on your screen. Also keep in mind that if the Esc key is working in the accessibility keyboard, it means there’s a good chance that there’s something wrong with the physical Esc key on your keyboard. 

Disable Siri

Sometimes Siri can hold up system keys on your keyboard. Try disabling it to see if that releases your Esc key. 

Step 1: Open System Preferences and select Siri. 

Step 2: Uncheck the Enable Ask Siri option. 

Now check if the Esc key is working or not. If it is, try enabling Siri again to see if the key works. 

Also read: iPhone dictation not working: Quick Fix

Update macOS

Sometimes, the error can pop up because of a faulty macOS update. Check to see if you’re on the latest version available and if you’re not, update to see if that fixes your problem. 

Step 1: Click the Apple logo on the top left corner of your system, followed by About This Mac.

Why is my Macbook Air fan so loud? 5 quick fixes

Step 2: Click Software Update.

Why is my Macbook Air fan so loud? 5 quick fixes

Step 3: Click Update Now.

Why is my Macbook Air fan so loud? 5 quick fixes

If any updates are available, macOS will install and apply them automatically. Now try restarting your Mac to see if the error persists. 

Reboot in safe mode

Try restarting your Mac in safe mode to see if that gets the key working. This can rule out any software issues that you might be experiencing in your OS that keep the Esc key from working. 

You can do this by pressing and holding the Shift key as soon as your Mac restarts and keep pressing it till the login screen appears. After logging in, you should see Safe Boot in the menu bar at the top of your screen.

Get your Mac repaired

If nothing else works, chances are your Esc key is busted and you need to take your Mac in for repairs. You can find Apple’s authorised service providers on their support website

Also read: Phone charging but CarPlay not working: Quick Fix


Yadullah Abidi

Yadullah is a Computer Science graduate who writes/edits/shoots/codes all things cybersecurity, gaming, and tech hardware. When he's not, he streams himself racing virtual cars. He's been writing and reporting on tech and cybersecurity with websites like Candid.Technology and MakeUseOf since 2018. You can contact him here: [email protected]