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

Aug 4, 2011 - 16 Comments

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

If you hold down many keys in Mac OS X, particularly vowels but also letters like j and n, a little popup menu appears showing an accented character selection window. This is a fairly new change to OS X behavior, replacing the long existing default of a repeating key press instead, where if you hold down a key the letter will repeat endlessly until you let goooooooooooo with repeating letters of that which is held down.

If you want to turn off the character accent selector and re-enable key repetition with extended keypresses, you can easily do so through a defaults write command.


To get started, launch the Terminal app and enter the following command onto a single command line (it’s often easiest to just copy and paste the defaults string) and then hit the Return key:

defaults write -g ApplePressAndHoldEnabled -bool false

You shouldn’t need to do anything for the change to take effect, but relaunching apps may be beneficial if you don’t immediately notice a difference.

Try it out, and you can can now repeat keys as usual rather than have the iOS-style accented popup appear.

If you want to bring the accented character selector menu back with a long keypress, you’ll use the same defaults command string in the Terminal, but use true instead, like so:

defaults write -g ApplePressAndHoldEnabled -bool true

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

This works in all versions of OS X where the Press And Hold feature exists, including Macs with Mavericks, Mountain Lion, and Lion.

Enjoy this tip? Subscribe to the OSXDaily newsletter to get more of our great Apple tips, tricks, and important news delivered to your inbox! Enter your email address below:

Related articles:

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

16 Comments

» Comments RSS Feed

  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:

    THIS SHOULD BE AN OPTION IN SYSTEM PREFERENCES ANOTHER COUNTDOWN APPLE.

  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.

  12. mavericks??? says:

    Meanwhile, THIS is AN OPTION IN SYSTEM PREFERENCES what are you doing apple ……

Leave a Reply

 

Shop for Apple & Mac Deals on Amazon.com

Subscribe to OSXDaily

Subscribe to RSS Subscribe to Twitter Feed Follow on Facebook Subscribe to eMail Updates