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While I am typing, my macbook randomly (to me anyway) pops up a speech bubble with alternative characters. I can be flying on typing the rest of the sentence before I realise a number of characters have not typed. I do not understand what triggers this to appear. Does anyone know what this bubble is and how to turn it off?

It must be some accessibility feature? But I cannot see what the setting is and how to turn it off?! Its driving me crazy!!

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Update:

OK, so thanks to replies I know now it is the mac accent character picker. But I'm not holding down a key when it appears, I'm typing normally without pause. Before I turn it off completely as suggested, is there any sensitivity setting I can check to confirm how long it waits for a key to be held down?

If not, I guess it might indicate a hardware problem with my keyboard then and turning it off completely is the only option.

  • This accent menu/character picker has been default behavior for Press and Hold of various keys since os x 10.7 in 2011. – Tom Gewecke Feb 21 '18 at 0:03
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This is the character picker for entering accented characters. This appears when you hold down a key on the keyboard. This can be disabled globally using defaults:

defaults write -g ApplePressAndHoldEnabled -bool false
  • Thank you, at least I know now what it is. But I'm not holding down a key when it appears, I'm typing normally without pause that I am aware of. Is there any sensitivity setting I can check? If not, I guess it might indicate a hardware problem with my keyboard then. – Gary Barrett Feb 22 '18 at 11:45
  • @GaryBarrett Play with the settings for Repeat and Delay in system prefs/keyboard/keyboard – Tom Gewecke Feb 22 '18 at 13:12
  • @TomGewecke Thanks. I see the help for that screen also mentions the accent marks and characters and states "If you set the Key Repeat slider to Off, special characters won’t appear when you hold down a key." I guess that can be used as an alternative to grgarside 's above solution – Gary Barrett Feb 22 '18 at 13:25

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