Tuesday, October 3, 2023

How to activate key repetition through the macOS Terminal

In macOS, if you press and hold down certain keys on your keyboard, a palette appears, showing you accented or alternate characters that you can choose. For example, if you press and hold down the letter O, a palette with ô, ö, ò, ó, œ, ø, ō, and õ appears, each with a number underneath. Press the number that corresponds to the character you want.

Because of that feature, though, you can no longer press and hold keys to make them repeat, making it a bit tougher to type woooooooohooooooooo, for example.

With some keys in macOS, you can press and hold down the key and a character palette appears instead of the charatcer repeating itself.


You can use the Terminal to disable macOS’s character palette and restore key repeating. It’s pretty simple. In Terminal (/Applications/Utilites), paste the command below and press Return.

defaults write -g ApplePressAndHoldEnabled -bool false

Now log out of your account and log back in. You’ll find that you can press and hold repeating letters with nary a care in the world. Woooooooohooooooooo!

To stop the key-repeating behavior and reinstate the character palette, copy that command about and paste it into Terminal, but then replace false with true. Log out of your Mac and log back in to implement the change.

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