When I hold a key in Lion, I get this iOS-style character picker instead of a repeated character, as in previous versions of the OS:


I really dislike this (I rarely use those symbols as I only speak Dutch and English). I want to hooooooooooold a key. :)

Where can I turn this off? I can't find an option in the system preferences.


You can do it with Terminal:



A new Lion feature taken over from iOS is the "Character Picker", which generates a popup menu of accented characters when you hold down the base letter on the keyboard. Some users detest this, as it stops the key repeat function which normally results when you hold down a key. To get rid of Character Picker, open Terminal and type

defaults write -g ApplePressAndHoldEnabled -bool false

and then restart.

  • 1
    Logging off and on was enough (no complete reboot necessary). Apple should really add an option for this in the keyboard preferences.
    – user235
    Aug 7 '11 at 11:00
  • 1
    Agreed. Let Apple know via apple.com/feedback/macosx.html Aug 7 '11 at 13:10
  • For this kind of really short answers it is better to place the code snippet right here in answer along with the link. That way if the linked site goes down the snippet is still useful. Jan 10 '14 at 23:33

You have to open a Terminal window and type in the following:

defaults write -g ApplePressAndHoldEnabled -bool false

(from this article)


If you’re interested in more of these "secret preferences" check out the awesome Secrets website. Better yet, consider installing Secrets’ accompanying prefpane which will allow you to update any of these through a GUI and auto-populates from Secrets‘ authoritative database of these little nuggets.

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