Disable the Character Accent Menu and Enable Key Repeat in Mac OS X Lion

Aug 4, 2011 - 15 Comments

Enable Key Repeat in Mac OS X Lion and Disable the Accented Character Pop Up

If you hold down many keys in Mac OS X Lion, a little popup menu appears showing an accented character selection window. This replaces the long existing default of a repeating key, where if you hold down a key the letter will repeat endlessly until you let goooooooooooo.

If you want to turn off the character accent selector and re-enable key repetition, launch the Terminal and enter the following command:

defaults write -g ApplePressAndHoldEnabled -bool false

You can now repeat keys as usual rather than have the iOS-style accented popup appear. If you want to bring the accented character selector back, use true instead:

defaults write -g ApplePressAndHoldEnabled -bool true

Most apps need to be relaunched for the change to take place.

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Posted by: William Pearson in Mac OS X, Tips & Tricks


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  1. Casey4147 says:

    That’s cool, but then is there a corresponding keyboard shortcut for bringing up the Character Accent Menu when one needs it…?

    • Shumache says:

      Unfortunately no, not unless you bind it yourself in Keyboards Services. That is why this tip is not the best, but you can always use the Option key press for åççéñts

  2. Anna says:

    How do I relaunch it?

  3. [...] osxdailly] __spr_config = { pid: '4e398ab8c2b219497d000043', title: 'How To: Disable Accent Character Menu [...]

  4. issacar says:

    Cool!!!!! It works perfectly!!!!!! Great job William… Thanks!

  5. brian says:


  6. mh says:

    Works perfectly – thanks much for the tip. I agree this should be an option in System Preferences somewhere.

  7. Julien says:

    Thanks very much, you have been a great help.

  8. Dom says:

    You can install OnyX, too.

    It has a simple option where you can activate/deactivate the key repeat/vowel accents

  9. brittany says:

    where do i type this in at? :(

  10. [...] 2: You may also want to turn off the character accent menu when you press and hold a [...]

  11. MacBook (Air) User ^_^ says:

    Hi! Is this supposed to work for MacBook Air too? I tried doing it in the Terminal, like you said, but it still doesn’t work :’( Is there any other way to fix this? The accent pop-up thing is okay, but what’s more important for me is the repetitive letters so please help :)

    • MiT says:

      It didn’t work for me in Maveriks from the first try. I changed false to NO and it seems to stick now. Also, don’t forget to restart any app after setting this in terminal.

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