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Some apps (Safari, iTunes...) quits fullscreen mode on Esc keyboard shortcut. Is there a way to disable it? It interferes e. g. with web apps control resulting in unintentional quitting fullscreen when you just hit one more Escape than you should.

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Good question. Before browser makers figured out cmd-q was awfully dangerous without at least a prompt that the user really wants to close 60 tabs, I always changed the keyboard shortcut for the Quit command on my main browser. You can disable shortcuts via Keyboard Shortcuts.

  1. Open System Preferences: Keyboard.
  2. Click Keyboard Shortcuts in the top pill shaped tab.
  3. Click the Applications Shortcuts icon in the left hand column.
  4. Choose Safari from the drop down menu of offered applications (looks like the default list is applications which have been opened in the last three months). After pressing the plus button
  5. Enter the exact name of the menu item you wish to disable. In this case "Exit Full Screen".
  6. Add an alternative keyboard shortcut (in this illustration, I added Ctrl-Opt-Cmd-c) filling in the keyboard shortcut info This is what the finished result looks like. finished keyboard shortcut for Safari
  7. Test (alternative Application Shortcuts do now always work exactly as planned).

You can do the same thing with Keyboard Maestro (and much much more). Apple's feature is probably taken/adopted from Peter N. Lewis's implementation (which existed for many years before Apple came up with the feature in Snow Leopard). In Keyboard Maestro, you can also assign the same shortcut to multiple applications. In Keyboard Maestro, you can also take over keyboard commands which do not have menu items (complex applications like Photoshop come to mind: there are so many commands that many of the commands have no menu equivalent). It's also easier to move these preferences around from computer to computer if you are using Keyboard Maestro.

sample Keyboard Maestro alternative command key

On the other hand the Apple version exists on all Macs past 10.6.8, including your less technical girlfriend's MacBook Pro. I use both depending on whether I want a quick fix or if I'm building permanent tools/shortcuts for an application I use professionally on multiple computers. Keyboard Maestro does far more than just substitute keyboard shortcuts: you can write sequential macros with pauses to automate what would otherwise be five or ten keypress and click type actions, i.e. redirecting, address and send email to someone else in the company with a single keyboard command.

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    This is how to set an alternative shortcut, but how to disable a native one? Do I miss something? – myneur Apr 5 '16 at 20:22
  • Normally, the Keyboard Maestro manually set shortcut will take precedence over the native one. If you find that's not the case, let me know. Sorry for the slow answer. – Foliovision Apr 15 '16 at 20:22
  • Overriding a native command as built-in as deeply as command-Q is the most reliable way to disable it. – Foliovision Jul 8 '17 at 15:47
  • The problem here is that the native shortcut by default is Ctrl-Cmd-F. Overriding the "Exit Full Screen" menu will only override the Ctrl-Cmd-F but ESC seems to have been implemented separately without a menu item ... :/ – Theuni Feb 1 at 11:25
  • Escape is easy. People get stuck. Then the try the escape key and are back where they feel comfortable. You want a "pro feature". Apple is not about pro features. They know that they must remove features and functionality because features and functionality look complicated. Complicated things are scary. Why do you want a scary computer? – yeoman May 16 at 11:39
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To avoid the situation when the whole app quits fullscreen mode when you accidentally hit ESC twice you can learn to use a different key.

Cmd-. will quit web apps that are in fullscreen (e.g. YouTube) but will not perform any undesirable actions when used twice.

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