Can I make a custom keyboard layout (one that wasn’t included with OS X by default) the system default — even for the login screen?
This works on OSX 10.9 Mavericks, with a keyboard layout that I created with Ukulele. Assuming that you have the layout already installed in your system, log into your account and make your custom keyboard layout active.
Open a terminal and run the following command:
If you intend to use a text editor (e.g., TextWrangler) to make this change instead of XCode (which has a specialized graphical plist editor), also run:
Throughout the file you will find several mentions of a
Also the value of the key
Once these changes are done, save the file and go back to the terminal. To play it safe, you can create a copy of the original
Then install your change with the following:
(It isn't necessary to convert your file back out of text form with
Exit the terminal, and restart the computer (logout is not sufficient: the file will not be reread). After restart, you should have your keyboard layout in the login screen.
NOTE: it's possible that it would have been enough to copy the file
I found this old MacWorld tip, that suggested running the Setup Assistant again:
At first I thought this wasn’t supported in Lion anymore as running this command didn’t seem to have any effect. Only after posting this question, I noticed there’s a typo in the command. The space characters need to be escaped properly, or the location of the binary needs to be quoted. For this reason, the tip I linked to doesn’t work.
Here’s the correct command:
Alternatively, this would work as well:
Another gotcha that wasn’t mentioned on the page I linked to: the custom keyboard layout needs to be installed in
This trick doesn’t work anymore in recent OS X 10.8 versions.
I’m using a custom keyboard layout created with Ukelele in OS X 10.8.5. I changed the login screen keyboard layout with the following steps:
I found this method far easier than editing some random
This method might require administrative access, as you possibly have to unlock the right pane in step 3. above by clicking the lock icon at the bottom.
Update: Sadly, this doesn’t seem to work on OS X 10.9.