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Troubleshooting Mac Backlight Issues: Why Isn’t My Mac Backlight Coming On? – Updated 2023


There can be two technical reasons for the absence of a backlight on your Mac:

  1. Mac Keyboard Backlight Not Functioning
  2. Mac Screen Backlight Not Activating

The approach to implementing backlighting in Mac keyboards may vary, but Apple laptops generally employ an individual LED for each key, ensuring uniform brightness across the entire keyboard.

Several factors, including different applications, software updates, or hardware problems, could potentially lead to the backlight not activating as expected.

What Are the Common Indications of Backlight Malfunction?


For Mac Keyboard Backlight Issues:

  • Your Mac incorporates a light sensor, which may be influenced by direct sunlight hitting it, resulting in the controls becoming unresponsive.
  • In cases where the keyboard backlight fails to function or cannot be adjusted, there may be an underlying hardware problem.


For Mac Screen Backlight Problems:

What Steps Should You Take If Your Mac Backlight Isn’t Working?

  1. Reset the SMC (System Management Controller), responsible for managing various hardware functions.

  2. Adjust the brightness level, as it might be set too low.

  3. Consider updating or reinstalling drivers, as outdated or corrupted drivers may affect the sensor-activated keyboard backlight.

As you can see there are a lot of factors that can cause the backlight not to work.  If you have tried everything you should consider bringing the Mac in for a diagnostic. If you need to book your Mac in for an Apple diagnostic click here.


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