The Escape key (Esc) is a small but magical key on the Mac keyboard that gives users the ability to interact with their devices in a variety of ways. It may seem insignificant. But it actually plays an important role. Why is it so important? What happens when you use it on your Mac? Below, we’ll take a look at how it works and understand the importance of the magic keyboard escape key. And if it suddenly fails, how to fix it. 

                                            Image Credit: Freepik

How the Escape Button Works

From a technical point of view, esc key on ipad keyboard generates the ASCII character “ESC” and sends it to the operating system or application. It is this character that is recognized as a command to exit or cancel current actions.

The Role and Usage of the Escape Key

  • In many applications and operating systems, it is used:

1. To cancel current actions,

2. To close dialog boxes and menus. 

In the first case, the Escape key is used to stop pages from loading in the browser. This is necessary if you want to pause data processing.

  • Escape is also important when interacting with text editors and development tools. Here it is used to exit editing modes. Or if you want to close windows without saving changes or text you’ve entered.
  • In some applications and games, the Escape key is used to exit full-screen playback. This allows users to return to the previous screen or menu. In many computer games, this button is also used to pause the game.

Escape Key Not Working Mac

                                  Image Credit: Freepik

It happens that the mentioned button may stop working. So, the question immediately arises – why isn’t my escape key working? If your escape button not working, you first need to figure out the cause. In turn, a malfunction can be the result of various reasons. Among them,

  • dust, dirt,
  • mechanical failure of the key,
  • program errors,
  • program conflicts that affect the operation of the button.

Having understood the question – why is my esc key not working mac – you can try to fix the breakdown or at least understand what actions a specialist will take to fix it. So, it all depends on the previous cause. And the result can be the steps we’ll discuss below.

Cleaning the button

If the button stops responding due to dust or dirt, try cleaning it gently. To do so, do the following, 

  • turn off the device,
  • use a compressed air canister to remove small particles.


Restarting can solve some software issues. Try rebooting your Mac and checking the Escape Key again.

Check for software conflicts

Make sure no app or settings conflict with the Escape key. Some apps can cause changes in how it works. So, you can try disabling the apps one by one gradually to find the cause. That is, to understand which one caused the conflict.

Check for updates

Make sure that your operating system and applications are updated to the latest version. Sometimes it’s the lack of updates that stops your Mac from working properly. 

Connecting an external keyboard

As a temporary workaround, you can connect an external keyboard to your Mac. This is done in order to use the Escape on it if you need to do something urgently and the fix cannot happen in a moment.

If none of the above methods helped to solve the problem and the Escape key continues to malfunction, you should not neglect outside help. In particular, contact the relevant specialists or an authorized service center for further work.

It goes without saying that the Escape key is an important component of the Mac keyboard. After all, it allows users to control and navigate their devices. It is used not only to exit different modes and close windows, but also to undo actions. If it stops working, it may seem like everything is going to waste at first. But there are ways to solve the problem. Among them are cleaning, rebooting, checking for program conflicts, and so on. However, if these steps fail to restore normal operation, or if you are hesitant to harm your Mac even more, then do not neglect to take the help of qualified professionals for the above issues.

By Grace