[OS X 10.9.3 (Mavericks)] I've disabled smart quotes in the keyboard settings, but whenever I type ' or " in Messages (old name: iChat), they get converted to and . How do I disable this default conversion?


6 Answers 6


In addition to System Preferences, this feature can be turned on and off in each app via Edit > Substitutions. Make sure you check that setting as well.

  • In addition to System Preferences I have no idea what this controls, TextEdit? :P
    – Cilan
    Jun 28, 2014 at 21:32
  • Sorry, I can't understand your question. Jun 29, 2014 at 15:46
  • 1
    Don't worry, it was rhetoricle. Anyway, you cannot disable it on messages using system preferences.
    – Cilan
    Jun 29, 2014 at 15:59
  • 1
    Right, but you CAN using the Substitutions menu, and it worked for me. Fantastic! It's suboptimal that I will have to toggle that for whenever I am texting my one friend with a dumb phone, but at least I can!
    – krs013
    Jan 19, 2015 at 7:18
  • No idea why the enable this by default... Thanks
    – Chad Scira
    Sep 18, 2019 at 10:24

In El Capitan (i.e. 10.11.1), I solved it by changing the Smart Quote settings:

  1. Open Keyboard in System Preferences
  2. Go to Text tab
  3. Change values for "for Double Quotes" and "for Single Quotes" from drop-down selection to use the simple quotes "" rather than ““

That's it. No need to disable or do any other workaround. Hope this helps, as I had this problem with Message app when posting code.

  • 1
    Thanks, but this question has been long solved (1 year 4 months). However, this seems like a good alt for el capitan users
    – Cilan
    Oct 29, 2015 at 12:11

Unfortunately none of the posted solutions worked for me. I've solved by changing my keyboard layout from:

  • U.S. International - PC


  • U.S.
  • 2
    Worked for me as well. Thanks!
    – bullgare
    Sep 27, 2019 at 8:20
  • The same for me! Thank you! Mar 1, 2021 at 2:30
  • Works! This is correct answer!
    – staskrak
    May 14, 2021 at 10:37
  • Sweet this works for me as well. So annoying when programming. Jun 24, 2021 at 14:23

This shell script disables smart quotes in all applications that currently have preferences files:

for d in $(defaults domains|tr -d ,);do
  osascript -e "app id \"$d\""&>/dev/null||continue
  defaults write $d SmartQuotes -bool false
  # defaults write $d SmartDashes -bool false
  # defaults write $d SmartLinks -bool false
  # defaults write $d SmartCopyPaste -bool false
  # defaults write $d TextReplacement -bool false
  # defaults write $d CheckSpellingWhileTyping -bool false

Uncomment the commented out lines to also disable other substitutions or spell checking.

  • "all applications that currently have preferences files" - meaning only those where one already made substitution changes?
    – Bondt
    Mar 25, 2015 at 14:19
  • 2
    i'm guessing this is a bash script? would be helpful if you mention how and where this code should be executed. it's potentially very useful but less so without context Mar 9, 2016 at 22:45
  • yes what @billynoah said 10x. This looks useful. How do I use it?!
    – Eric
    Nov 8, 2019 at 16:00
  • Edit a plain text file called "diablesq.sh", and paste the text into it. Open a terminal window. Type "sh disablesq.sh"
    – Resuna
    Jan 3, 2020 at 20:27

Disable smart quotes:

defaults write NSGlobalDomain NSAutomaticQuoteSubstitutionEnabled -bool false

Disable smart dashes:

defaults write NSGlobalDomain NSAutomaticDashSubstitutionEnabled -bool false

Disable smart quotes for TextEdit:

defaults write com.apple.TextEdit SmartQuotes -bool false

Disable smart dashes for TextEdit:

defaults write com.apple.TextEdit SmartDashes -bool false


You will find this option in the Keyboard Preferences pane:

  • Open System Preferences.
  • Click on the Keyboard icon.
  • Select the Text tab.
  • Uncheck the Use smart quotes and dashes checkbox.

Note that this is almost a homework question. This is a keyboard/text related setting so it's fairly logical to find it under the Keyboard Preferences.

  • 1
    In my question I noted that I've tried this and it didn't work. What I had to do was go under Edit -> Substitutions and disable it there through the app itself.
    – Cilan
    Jun 28, 2014 at 20:39

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