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Option key on startup quit working with wireless keyboard

11988 Views 12 Replies Latest reply: Jan 23, 2013 3:11 PM by KevinD RSS
user1724 Level 3 Level 3 (530 points)
Currently Being Moderated
Sep 7, 2011 8:56 AM

2011 Mini, 10.7.1, wireless keyboard and trackpad.


The option key used to work fine for giving me the boot manager (choose OS X, recovery, Windows).  This week it quit working.  But if I plug in the usb keyboard it still works.  So it is a keyboard recognition thing?  But once OS X starts, it recognizes all the keys fine.


Even more odd . . . the option key on the wireless keyboard does give me the boot manager if I restart from Windows, but not from OS X.

  • Tom Yager Level 1 Level 1 (55 points)

    You don't mention whether this is an Apple wireless keyboard, but I'm assuming that's the case. I wonder whether your Mac has misidentified your keyboard's layout.


    Make sure your keyboard has fresh batteries.


    You might try re-pairing your keyboard to force it to detect the key layout.


    1. Hook up your USB keyboard

    2. Turn off your wireless keyboard

    3. Delete the wireless keyboard in Bluetooth Preferences

    4. Power up your wireless keyboard

    5. Go to System Preferences->Keyboard and click the Set Up Bluetooth Keyboard button in the corner

    6. On the Keyboard Preferences pane, make sure Modifier Keys settings are all defaults (not that this should affect boot behavior)


    After you pair your keyboard, reboot and see if Option works.


    Best of luck to you.

  • woodmeister50 Level 4 Level 4 (3,690 points)

    You may want to try zapping the PRAM using the wired

    keyboard and also try doing an SMC reset.  Both devices

    contain various start up data and from time to time get

    corrupted.  Might be your issue.

  • KevinD Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)

    I noticed the same thing too. New i5 Mini running OSX10.7.1 with an Apple wireless keyboard w/ Lion configured function keys. Unlike you, I was never able to get to boot management. Good to hear that the wired keyboard works.  How do we notify Apple about this?

  • AppleJason Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)

    This worked for me!  Thanks!

  • rollinforall Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)

    I have a new mac mini (lion 10.7.2) with a Mac wireless keyboard and magic mouse.  I've also noticed that the option key is not recognized when rebooting so I currently do not have an option to boot from a recovery disk (if there's is one there) or from another bootable device (e.g., a usb drive).  After booting, the kb and mouse work fine. I wonder if the wireless devices are not enabled until after boot (e.g., maybe the driver just isn't being loaded) ... which would mean that a wired keyboard would be required if you need to go into a boot option.



    Is this a bug or a feature? imho, it's a bug.

  • rollinforall Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)

    On my mac mini, lion 10.7.2 and the bluetooth wireless keyboard, I found the problem to be timing related.  I must press and hold the option key immediately before or just after the chimes sound f(and the display is black).  If I do this, the boot option mode is entered and the boot devices are shown.  If I press and hold the option key too early, I will not enter the boot option mode.


    If my mac is already started and I want to enter the boot option mode, I have two choices: (1) restart or (2) shutdown followed by manually turning on my mac.


    For "restart", if I press and hold the option key too early in the restart sequence (i.e., much before the chime), the boot option mode may not be entered.  I must wait until the chime sounds before pressing and holding the option key.


    On the other hand if I "shut down" my mac, I then have to manually press the power power button for my mini to start.  After pressing the start button, I then press and hold down the option key which happens just about the time the chime sounds (or a little +/-). My mac then enters the boot option mode.

  • ymharshe Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I fought for it for long time. I used command-r, option key, command-option-r, option-r, everything you can imagine but it did not work. I even  shut down the imac and then tried all these combinations but it still did not work. I EVEN TRIED APPLE's OFFICIAL ANSWER TO THIS ISSUE BUT BELIEVE ME IT DID NOT WORK AS WELL. Then I deeply thought for a while and shutdown the iMac. Then I took off the batteries from the wireless keyboard. Then Waited for 5 seconds or so. Then I just started the wireless keyboard with the button on the side. It started blinking. I immediately understood that my trick is going to work. I understood the problem. While the keyboard was blinking I started the imac. Now after startup chime from apple i just pressed the option key. And guess what- THE RECOVERY OPTION POPPED UP! See, the point is after you restart or shutdown the keyboard is still kind of paired with the imac so when you start it those keys are kind of overlooked. When you reaaly take out the batteries from the keyboard the pairing is lost. When you restart the imac the pairing is established during the startup chime tone. This is precisely the moment to press those keys like option or command-r. The command-r key works only if you have imac that was preinstalled with 10.8

    I hope this saves your hours of work! I really wished that APPLE knew it. I have so much believed in this company so far.

  • ymharshe Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Just for your information, apple's offiial answer to this issue

  • KevinD Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)

    You cracked the code, ymharshe! This works perfectly all the time with my 2011 Mini.

    Quick shortcut: You can also disconnect the keyboard on the bluetooth toolbar menu when running OSX. (I'm running 10.8.2). Do not use the on/off button on the side of the keyboard.Then hit restart. Hit the Option key when the chime sounds & the boot option menu comes up. That will save you from having to physically turn the keyboard off or removing the batteries. Seems OSX reconnects the bluetooth link if the keyboard is disconnected but left on during a restart & recognizes the option keys during that process.


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