Mac OSX Keyboard Repeat 8

Skill Required: Minimal

Time Required: Two Minutes

Thought I’d start easy! This is confirmed to be working on OSX El Capitan and previous versions such as OSX Yosemite, Mountain Lion – If the method changes I shall keep you informed with the latest information and updates.

A simple yet very handy trick that you can do with Mac desktops and laptop’s is the ability that any windows machine has, where you are able to hold the key down and it will continue to repeat rather than displaying language and symbol options. It may be referred to as many different methods such as OSX Keyboard repeat however the method below shall help you to convert your operating system to it’s new method.

Start by opening ‘Terminal’ which is available by search (looking-glass on the top right of your screen) or you may wish to open Launchpad and navigate to the ‘Other’ folder, within here Terminal is available.

Once Terminal is open, you can paste the following command, press enter for it to submit, once this has been done you’re free to close Terminal and restart the machine.

defaults write -g ApplePressAndHoldEnabled -bool false

To revert back to the original setting then you just enter the following instead, this will enable the Mac to use symbols when the key is held down.

defaults write -g ApplePressAndHoldEnabled -bool true

A restart is required for either of these to take effect.

You’re now free to test this and the language options shall not appear once this moderation is active, you shall have to revert it back to the original setting to get those options to re-appear.


If you’re stuck feel free to comment below and I will aim to do my best to assist you in helping you achieve this however I wish you all the best with your now key repeating keyboard.

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8 thoughts on “Mac OSX Keyboard Repeat

  • Dave Davis

    Matthew, I spoke too soon. Last night I started typing in the YouTube search field, and nothing happened. Then a flood of repeated characters. Nothing I could do but reboot, which fixed the problem, but it will appear again later in the day. I may try to call Apple again, or I may go to the Apple store next week to see if they have heard of similar problems. In the meanwhile, if you hear of anything, please let me know.


  • Matthew Post author

    Hi Dave,
    That’s great! I did have a look and unfortunately had little time to reply during the week but I’m glad you’ve found a solution – hopefully if anyone else has the same problem they can check the comments! Great to know and may include in the body of my text. Unfortunately to my knowledge the Symbols menu disappears and is non functional when key repeating is enabled but glad you’ve got it working!

    If you have any further problems feel free to comment again

    Many thanks,

  • Dave Davis

    Matthew, I have installed 10.11.5, and it seems to have fixed the problem. I have been able to turn back on the key repeat and delay with no problem so far. I am not interested in turning back on the symbol popup, but I may try it to see what it does. Thank you for your time and your interest.

  • Dave Davis

    Matthew, thank you for the quick response. I have an iMac that’s a little over a year old. I never had a problem with Yosemite, and I had no idea that the El Capitan that I installed was a beta version. I am now running 10.11.4. I have a Bluetooth keyboard. This issue is the same with the command disabled. I am not technically savvy enough to re-install the operating system. How would I book this in with the Apple’s Genius Bar? Do I go to the Apple store?

    When the command was enabled, it also was very slow to show the box with the accents.

    Thanks for your help.

  • Matthew Post author

    Hi Dave,

    I’m sorry to hear you’re experiencing issues with your Apple device. May I confirm whether you’re using an external keyboard such as a USB or Bluetooth keyboard as this may cause issues with this. Can I also confirm whether you still have the same issue with this command disabled? Unfortunately I haven’t heard of this specifically before but I shall investigate further to see if I can replicate and resolve this issue.

    However, a fix I presume that would work would be to re-install your operating system should you feel you have no other fix for this, I’d leave this to be a last resort in this situation as you may be able able to book this in with Apple’s Genius Bar if you haven’t already.

    Thanks for your time,

  • Dave Davis

    I talked to Apple several times trying to fix this. They gave me the same command that you did. It does turn off the symbol options. However, after some time (maybe after sleep) it starts repeating letters I input. I changed the repeat options not to repeat, but now it echoes the keyboard input very slowly (approximately one character per second or two. It’s extremely frustrating, and it is only solved by rebooting, which I am now doing several times a day. Any ideas for me? Thank you.

  • Matthew Post author

    Hello there,

    I’m unsure too but I’ll try my best to sort this out for you!

    This should now be resolved.

    Kind regards,