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