Pixel C Keyboard Pairing Problem – Solved.

I own a Google Pixel C Tablet, which I did order with its recommended, accompanying Bluetooth Keyboard. I’ve been using it with a lot of fun for months now. But yesterday evening, the problem finally happened to me, which I had been contemplating, which was, that I had spent such a long series of hours using them, into the night, that the keyboard actually went dead. I mean, the batteries of the KB could not live as long as my session would have, and pressing keyboard keys eventually had no more effect on the tablet, as the pressed keystrokes were no longer being received. So what I did was to close the tablet over the keyboard in the recommended way, to plug the two in to have them charge, and to leave them that way overnight.

Next morning, I wanted to find that not only the tablet charge was back at 100%, but that I could just step in and start using the keyboard again. But what I found, was that the tablet – with its battery at 100% – was still unresponsive to the keyboard. So my first conclusion was, that the state of the Bluetooth Pairing, was somehow corrupted on the software-level, between the tablet and the keyboard. So I followed ‘The usual, basic steps, to re-pair the two':

  1. Separate the tablet from the keyboard. The on-screen keyboard will become available.
  2. On the tablet, go into Settings -> Bluetooth, tell it to Forget all Bluetooth Pairings, and turn Bluetooth Off.
  3. Re-Attach the tablet to the keyboard, and watch the tablet ask me to turn Bluetooth On. Do so.
  4. Wait for the Tablet to show me the PIN-number, which I am to type into the keyboard, to make them pair.

The next problem was, that Step (4) above wouldn’t happen. So my next thought was, that one of two things could finally be wrong with my keyboard:

  • The charging system / KB battery could genuinely be defective (Unlikely, as they are virtually still new, and were working before).
  • The logical corruption in the Bluetooth Pairing State, between the tablet and keyboard, could be more-deeply corrupted than I thought, from the broken-off session the previous night, maybe even at the Firmware Level.

So now I proceeded with ‘A more-robust procedure, which amounts to resetting the keyboard, as there does not exist a more-proper, explicit way to reset that keyboard':

  1. Separate the tablet from the keyboard.
  2. On the tablet, go into Settings -> Bluetooth, and tell it to Forget all Pairings / and turn Bluetooth Off.
  3. Soft Boot the tablet.
  4. After the orderly reboot has finished, Go To Step (3) in the more-basic procedure above.

And what I found next, was that after I had allowed the tablet to turn Bluetooth back On, it did in fact greet me with the 6-digit PIN-number, and after I typed that into the keyboard, and after I had hit Enter on the KB, the keyboard worked fine again.


Now, there exist people who claim, that they tried all the steps above, numerous times without success, but that “Suddenly, the keyboard started working again.” To the best of my understanding, what must really have been happening to those people, is that they did try all the above steps, but ‘Maybe not in the correct sequence?’


(Edit : )

Even when there is no malfunction taking place, I never try to reboot my tablet, with the BT Keyboard connected.

My best guess for what goes wrong with this KB, would be that it keeps its local store of information, with its encryption key, as a volatile (RAM) chip, with no backup power-supply. It lacks a non-volatile chip to store that. Hence, when the battery goes fully flat, its encryption key is corrupted, and depending on the extent to which encryption is hardware-based these days, it can also leave a trace in the firmware of the tablet itself, that the tablet was paired with it. Hence the reboot needed.


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17 thoughts on “Pixel C Keyboard Pairing Problem – Solved.”

  1. I’ve carried out all of the above and still no joy. When I re-attach the keyboard it does recognise that the kB has been attached but still won’t work! I’ve unpaired but it won’t pair again.
    Does this mean the kB battery is faulty?

    1. I can’t be sure. But, if you’re willing to go through the trouble, there is still something you might try. You can unpair All Bluetooth devices first, and turn Bluetooth off. In other words, try to reset your Bluetooth stack. Even reboot the tablet after turning Bluetooth off. After that, turn Bluetooth back on, and try to pair the KB again.

      Or, it could be a dead battery in the KB.


  2. I had another experience.
    My keyboard stays a year and discharged. Then I tried charged and success – it starts working again.

    1. If you leave the keyboard discharged for a year, what I am assuming is, that this is its first opportunity to power down completely. Even when only partially charged, some circuits in the keyboard stay active.

      You can use this method, to power down a device, which was designed to stay powered continuously, except that there are two obvious drawbacks:

      1) According to what you wrote, it takes a year of time to go into effect, And

      2) Lithium-Ion batteries generally don’t take well, to being completely depleted, for up to a year. This is the worst thing to do to a Lithium-Ion battery.


  3. Have tried these steps twice, no joy. Every time the keyboard moves away from the tablet, it disconnects.
    So the keys for bluetooth pair do appear to exchange, but feels like the keyboard battery is faulty – it’s an old unit. So for now its near-field useable only.

  4. Thanks for you post I’ve used the info twice before. However, it wouldn’t work this time. I found this on Reddit and my keyboard connected.

    Once the keyboard has been attached press and hold the Left Shift + A+ R+ I + P keys for 2 seconds. After you have done that your bluetooth keyboard should pair as normal.

      1. Dear Neil,

        No. What you’re describing, corresponds to a hard boot. A soft boot means, holding the power-button for 2 seconds, so that the menu appears, and then using the software – i.e., that menu – to tell the Pixel C to reboot. Then, completing a soft boot successfully, requires that the software perform the full task.

        Contrarily to what some people claim, performing hard boots often, will increase the risk of corruption, and will not clean up a computer.


  5. So, got a new keyboard today from Google. It paired right away. Google said my battery was dead and they were sure right. I suspect this is the problem alot of people like myself are/were having. Moral of the story…..If your keyboard is over one year old, it is likely your problem, especially if Dirk’s fixes don’t work.

  6. Did not work for me, unfortunately……Still have a useless keyboard only one year old. Mine quit after the Oreo update.

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