8 Replies Latest reply: Mar 24, 2013 9:54 PM by Linc Davis
Auburn11 Level 1 (0 points)

My keyboard has started to randomly switch to typing strange character (I assume another language). It does so when I open safari after it has been closed, and it also does it if I shut down and try to type my passcode in. After about a minute, it switches back to normal; I find this very strange. I have checked the language & text setting and they still show as US even when it switches and redoing it doesn't switch it back (must wait until it switches back on its own). Any help is very much appreciated.

MacBook Pro, Mac OS X (10.7.5)
  • pennbank Level 4 (1,680 points)

    try smc reset



    and Pram reset



    (Try pram a few times to get correct sequence)

    Check what you have selected in
    system preferences/system/accessibility/keyboard

    and system preferences/hardware/keyboard  (keyboard and keyboard short cuts tabs)
  • Tom Gewecke Level 9 (76,425 points)

    Try using an external keyboard.  If it works ok, your internal one needs repair.

  • Auburn11 Level 1 (0 points)

    I've done the resets, and still after restarting it takes about a minute for me to type in my password, because the text is entering as symbols as if I am holding down the option/alt key (ex. åß∂˚¬∆ƒ∂¬ß¬å˚∆∂ƒº). All settings in keyboard look to be the default.

  • Auburn11 Level 1 (0 points)

    Tom, although I suppose I could be wrong, it seems unlikely that the issue is hardware related in that it only happens during specific times (at startup, when opening a safari initially, etc.).

  • Auburn11 Level 1 (0 points)

    Is there a way to disable the option/alt key completely or reassign a different function to it?

  • Tom Gewecke Level 9 (76,425 points)

    You can try system prefs/keyboard/keyboard/modifier keys

  • Auburn11 Level 1 (0 points)

    I tried, but the problem still persists; also the problem has occured randomly throughout the morning today a couple more times, and still always when I restart. During the problem, I entered keys through the keyboard viewer and symbols are still entered even though it doesn't show that the option/alt key is activated (so doesn't seem to be related to the "physical" functioning of the keyboard). The symbols switch back to regular lettering after around a minute every time still, without any knowing input from me changing them back.

  • Linc Davis Level 10 (184,970 points)

    Please read this whole message before doing anything.


    This procedure is a test, not a solution. Don’t be disappointed when you find that nothing has changed after you complete it.


    Step 1


    The purpose of this step is to determine whether the problem is localized to your user account.


    Enable guest logins* and log in as Guest. For instructions, launch the System Preferences application, select Help from the menu bar, and enter “Set up guest users” (without the quotes) in the search box. Don't use the Safari-only “Guest User” login created by “Find My Mac.”


    While logged in as Guest, you won’t have access to any of your personal files or settings. Applications will behave as if you were running them for the first time. Don’t be alarmed by this; it’s normal. If you need any passwords or other personal data in order to complete the test, memorize, print, or write them down before you begin.


    Test while logged in as Guest. Same problem?


    After testing, log out of the guest account and, in your own account, disable it if you wish. Any files you created in the guest account will be deleted automatically when you log out of it.


    *Note: If you’ve activated “Find My Mac” or FileVault, then you can’t enable the Guest account. The “Guest User” login created by “Find My Mac” is not the same. Create a new account in which to test, and delete it, including its home folder, after testing.


    Step 2


    The purpose of this step is to determine whether the problem is caused by third-party system modifications that load automatically at startup or login.


    Disconnect all wired peripherals except those needed for the test, and remove all aftermarket expansion cards. Boot in safe mode* and log in to the account with the problem. The instructions provided by Apple are as follows:


    • Shut down your computer, wait 30 seconds, and then hold down the shift key while pressing the power button.
    • When you see the gray Apple logo, release the shift key.
    • If you are prompted to log in, type your password, and then hold down the shift key again as you click Log in.


    Safe mode is much slower to boot and run than normal, and some things won’t work at all, including wireless networking on certain Macs.  The next normal boot may also be somewhat slow.


    The login screen appears even if you usually log in automatically. You must know your login password in order to log in. If you’ve forgotten the password, you will need to reset it before you begin.


    *Note: If FileVault is enabled, or if a firmware password is set, or if the boot volume is a software RAID, you can’t boot in safe mode.


    Test while in safe mode. Same problem?


    After testing, reboot as usual (i.e., not in safe mode) and verify that you still have the problem. Post the results of steps 1 and 2.