NOTE: This article shows how to setup a Bluetooth Keyboard, however it should also be possible to use these steps to enable the soft keyboard and avoid the need for a physical keyboard at all.
Recently I was tearing my hair out trying to figure out how to do this and every forum thread I came across claimed it was impossible. The problem is that when you intially boot the mini, it will detect a bluetooth mouse but for whatever reason *will not* detect a bluetooth keyboard. Once you get to the initial account creation screen, a keyboard is required to enter a name and password, otherwise you cant proceed.
I came across a method for setting up OSX Server headlessly with VNC, but since I wasnt running Server it didnt help. After reading through what I could find through Google searches, I decided to do some experimentation of my own.
My first first idea was to try and copy text from wherever I could find copy-able text and then past that into the name / password fields. I did find some copy-able text on the error dialog that appears after attempting to submit the empy account /password form, but to my dismay, I discovered that the paste option was disabled for input fields.
My next idea was to try and plug in a headset and use the text to speech options that come up when you right click the form input fields. Unfortunately, even with a headset plugged in these options never lit up. While I was idly clicking around, I noticed a Substitutions option:
Inside the resulting dialog was a Text Preferences button which took me to the Text Preferences section of System Preferences:
If you look closely, you’ll see a back arrow in the top left corner of the screen, which will take you to the main System Preferences screen. From there, its a simple matter of going to the keyboard section and adding a bluetooth keyboard. Success!
Very clever! I’ve run into the same problem in the past and I’ll definitely remember this for the future.
Just so you know, I just faced this problem and your post was extremely helpful.
THANK YOU SO MUCH! I have been tearing my hair out for an hour trying to get past this screen.
Extremely helpful. Still relevant in 2020. Apple – sort it out!
All these years later, I find this post and it really helped me out on the initial setup of my new-to-me 2012 mac-mini.
Excellent post! So much more helpful than the several forums I searched that came up with answers like, “suck it up and go buy a keyboard with a cable”! Crazy that Apple doesn’t make this clear in their initial instructions. Thank you!
Thank you so much!
Thank you so much mate you legitimately saved me here, five years later same old problems it seems.
I spent an hours with it till I read your article
Absolutely one of the most helpful posts ever!
Thank you so much for this post! I was really beginning to think I was going to have to buy a some kind of cable or different keyboard! You saved me!
Wow.. That was a hack.. thank you… made my day.
Thank you 1000x
Greetings from Germany
Yes, this is the way! Cross posting!
You saved my day!
Doesn’t work anymore.
Thanks a million, saved us what probably would’ve taken hours. Worked perfect on new mac mini.
I love you. Thank you for this. You saved me so much time. You have no idea how long I’ve searched for this.
At the accessibility step, you could simply have asked for the virtual keyboard…
This post is fantastic!!!! Just what I was looking, saved me from buying a wired keyboard just for the installation!
Amazing! Thanks, saved me searching around for a crappy usb keyboard