I change the setting ‘Full Keyboard Access’ (the Keyboard settings in the ‘Keyboard Shortcuts’ tab) from ‘Text Boxes and Lists Only’ to ‘All controls’. Now, I am able to press Tab to moving focus, as illustrated below.

When I hit Enter, pop up a window, instead close the window.

My desired action: hit Enter → move to ‘Don't Save’ → Enter → Close the window.

2 Answers 2


Hitting Return will activate the default command (the blue button). Pressing the space bar will activate the selected command (blue ring around it).

  • Weird behaviour, Apple is overthinking I would say. May 13, 2022 at 10:51
  • 1
    This has been the behavior for as long as the Mac has existed, and I believe it is the same behavior demonstrated on Windows (or at least it used to be). ENTER/RETURN always engages the default button. Spacebar "clicks" the highlighted button.
    – samh
    May 17, 2022 at 18:28
  • It is, indeed, very long-standing behavior, although it falls in with those other long-standing Mac OS features (like the "proxy icon" in the title bar of application windows, or holding the Option key with a menu open), in that they often go unnoticed. ;) Apr 25 at 13:28

Fewer key presses would be just Cmd ⌘ Backspace ⌫ which is always "Don't Save"

Some older apps may still use Cmd ⌘ D but all modern apps should now use Cmd ⌘ Backspace ⌫

  • Depends on what keyboard you have. Full-sized keyboards have separate Backspace & Delete buttons, with Delete acting as Forward Delete. If you only have a short keyboard, then I guess you'd have to do whatever you normally do to trash a file from Finder. Cmd/Del doesn't delete on a full keyboard, Cmd/Backspace does.
    – Tetsujin
    Sep 23, 2016 at 12:13
  • No, it has the standard international symbol for Backspace on it. US English is not the only English in the world... US keyboards have had conventions contra to the rest of the world since typewriters were invented & I doubt they'll join the rest of us any time soon. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Backspace
    – Tetsujin
    Sep 23, 2016 at 12:36
  • I guess I've been using US Mac's for to long. I just dug out an old Windows PC keyboard and it has "Backspace ←" on it. So this is really more an Apple difference with US keyboards vs a UK keyboard, not US English vs. the Queen's English. :) Sep 23, 2016 at 12:56

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