iPad Magic Keyboard Backlight Not Working? Here’s How to Fix It

May 1, 2022 - 4 Comments

iPad Magic Keyboard backlighting

The backlit keyboard on iPad Magic Keyboard typically lights up the moment you attach the Magic Keyboard to the iPad Pro or iPad Air. But sometimes that doesn’t happen, and sometimes the iPad Magic Keyboard backlighting does not work.

Usually this is an easy fix however, so don’t freak out if you find the backlit key illumination is not working as expected with your iPad Magic Keyboard.

Troubleshooting iPad Magic Keyboard Backlight Not Working

Let’s cover some basic steps on how to troubleshoot and fix the backlit Magic Keyboard with iPad Pro and iPad Air when it’s not lighting up as expected.

iPad Pro / Air Must Be Charged, and Turned On for Keyboard Backlighting to Work

A quick note: the iPad Pro or iPad Air must be charged and turned on in order for the Magic Keyboard backlighting to work. Thus if the device is turned off or the battery is dead, the backlit keys will not illuminate. Keep this in mind, because of the iPad battery has run out, you’ll want to charge it up before bothering with troubleshooting.

Disconnect & Reattach Magic Keyboard to iPad

Sometimes the connection between the iPad and Magic Keyboard isn’t secure or registered.

Thus the simplest initial troubleshooting trick is to simply detach the Magic Keyboard from the iPad and then reconnect it again.

Make sure the contact points are not obstructed by any material or grime, and that the Magic Keyboard is securely connected via the magnetic connector.

Make Sure Keyboard Backlighting is Turned On and Brightness is Up

You may find that Keyboard Backlighting was turned down all the way, or the brightness is so dim that you don’t notice it when it’s on. If this is the case, simply turning the brightness up will resolve the issue. Adjusting the iPad Magic Keyboard backlighting is easy:

Go to Settings > General > Keyboards > Hardware Keyboard > adjust the keyboard backlighting slider to a brighter position.

Reboot the iPad Pro / Air with Magic Keyboard

Turn the iPad Air or iPad Pro off, then back on again.

Do this by pressing and holding the Power button and a Volume button until the ‘slide to power off’ screen shows, then slide to turn the iPad off.

In a moment, hold the Power button to turn the iPad back on again.

This simple yet common troubleshooting technique often resolves all sorts of quirks and issues, including the Magic Keyboard not lighting up as it’s supposed to.

You can also force restart the iPad Pro or iPad Air if you’d like to instead by pressing Volume Up, Volume Down, then pressing and holding the Power button until you see the  Apple logo on the iPad screen.

Take the Magic Keyboard into a Dark Room

The iPad Magic Keyboard enables itself and adjusts automatically depending on ambient room lighting as detected by the iPad. Thus if you’re outdoors in the bright sun or in a brightly lit space, the Magic Keyboard backlight will not turn on.

If the iPad Magic Keyboard is in use in a bright room, the keyboard backlighting will not work, or not be visible anyway if it’s on. Go into a dim or dark room (for example, a room with the light off or a closet) and start using the iPad Magic Keyboard.

Often this will trigger the iPad Magic Keyboard to turn on when it was otherwise off.

In Dim/Dark Room, Manually Adjust Magic Keyboard Brightness

In a dim or dark room, try manually adjusting keyboard backlight brightness by going to Settings > General > Keyboard > Hardware Keyboards > and adjusting the ‘Keyboard Backlighting’ slider toggle to the brightest position.

Make Sure No Case / Sticker / etc Obstructing Light Sensor

The light sensor is located near the front-facing camera on the iPad Pro and iPad Air. Make sure this is not obstructed by anything, whether it’s a case, sticker, gunk, or whatever else, since an obstructed ambient light sensor will prevent the iPad from turning on the Magic Keyboard backlight.

iPad Magic Keyboard Backlighting Still not working? Contact Apple

If you tried all of the above steps and your iPad Magic Keyboard is still not activating the backlit keys, you may have a defective unit or some other hardware issue. This is rare, but it does happen. The best thing to do in this situation is simply contact Apple or visit an Apple Store and get support. If it’s a defective unit, they will swap it out for you, assuming the device is within warranty anyway (or the person you encounter is feeling generous).

Did you get your iPad Magic Keyboard backlighting working? Let us know what worked for you.


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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in iPad, Tips & Tricks, Troubleshooting


» Comments RSS Feed

  1. Jon says:

    – Remove the keyboard
    – Restart with the power cable attached to the iPad, not keyboard port
    – Attach keyboard

  2. Connie says:

    There was a key on the top of my keyboard that had a sun-ray. I pushed that and voila!

  3. Darren says:

    After trying all of those things and restarting the ipad (Pro 11, 3rd Gen) on and off of the keyboard, it would still only light up in a dark room and the moment it got dim room light it would zoom to full brightness and cut off. What worked was leaving it disconnected for two plus hours while trying another nearly identical keyboard and others. Reconnect and it’s back to normal. Some parameter for scaling light feedback from ipad got snafued. It still gets too dim in a dim room and the white keys white out the white letters in brighter conditions.

  4. G. Leveque says:

    it’s a mess!
    hardware keyboard may have been deleted from

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