Computer keyboard designers must have a really cruel sense of humor. Why else would you be able to unknowingly disable your keyboard’s functionality through some accidental, though not entirely random gesture?
For My PC Friends Out There…
On a PC laptop… you’d better not tap the top left corner of your touchpad twice… where the tiny LED light is. That will turn the touchpad off.
Sure, you can tap it twice again to turn it back on, but you first need to know the secret!
(A BIG clue is the LED light turns on when the touchpad turns off!)
Last week, a colleague of mine who’s more Mac-centric didn’t know the trick and was forced to Google the solution on a different computer.
(No, I didn’t know the answer either!)
And for the Apple Universe…
Don’t accidentally hit the ‘Option’ key five times. That will turn your keyboard off.
It all has to do with an accessibility feature called ‘Mouse Keys’ which turns your keyboard off and morphs it into a pointer controller.
So guess what the fix is…
Tap your ‘Option’ key five times again.
Your keyboard will come back to life.
Every time you hit your Option key five times, it toggles this feature ‘on’ or ‘off.’
‘X’ Marks the Spot?
I often tap the ‘X’ key a few times as a placeholder for something I intend to write later.
If you look down at your keyboard, you’ll see that the Option key is rather close to the ‘X’… perfectly positioned to receive your slightly misaligned finger.
So chances are you’re eventually going to fall into the same trap…
Listen for It
A big clue you’ve made this infuriating mistake is an audio effect that announces Mouse Keys has just been enabled.
(It sounds like an amused robotic mouse scampering across your desk.)
Option to Resume
So the next time you hear the chuckle of a computerized rodent, you shouldn’t be confused why your Mac has suddenly stopped working.
No, it isn’t frozen with fear.
You just need to provide a gentle reminder five times with the ‘Option’ key to keep on going…