I don't know what made it stopped working. I use BetterTouchTools, but not command has that shortcut and even when I close it, Command + Space still doesn't work.

I checked System Preferences → Keyboard → Shortcuts, and there is no yellow triangle warning, and again Command + Space has no other conflicts. I've restarted my computer and still the problem persists.

I don't know what else to try. Is there any way to check what is being triggered when I press Command + Space key sequence?

I am using a 15" 2017 MacBook Pro running macOS High Sierra 10.13.6.

Edit: This was on a work computer I no longer have access to, so I can't try any solution to see if they work.


4 Answers 4


same thing happen to my 2 MacBooks, must have been an apple update. in sys pref, it seems the shortcut is still the same.

I pressed the "restore default" button, and it worked again on both laptops


I seemed to run into the same or similar issue—the keyboard shortcut showed up fine in System Preferences and there was no conflict in my BTT configuration—but this did the trick for me:

delete the file home directory/library/preferences/byhost/com.apple.HIToolbox... and log out/in.


~rm ~/Library/Preferences/ByHost/com.apple.HIToolbox*

EDIT: As @Tim-D pointed out below, this is a potentially destructive operation, so they recommend moving the file in question.

mv ~/Library/Preferences/ByHost/com.apple.HIToolbox.plist ~/Library/Preferences/ByHost/com.apple.HIToolbox.plist.backup

  • 1
    Wow. worked on first try! thanks. I just opened Terminal, then copied your command "rm ~/Library/Preferences/ByHost/com.apple.HIToolbox*" and tested it without logging out or restarting computer and it worked!! Commented Dec 14, 2018 at 0:52
  • 1
    FYI, when I tried this, I still couldn't use CMD-Space, and also, the Preferences app started telling me it couldn't load the Keyboard preference pane. I would recommend moving the file in question instead of deleting.
    – Tim D
    Commented Jun 1, 2021 at 16:56

Got the same problem on Catalina 10.15.7 on MBP 16.

What helped was killing the process called SystemUIServer - either from Activity Monitor or console.


As mentioned in another thread, the problem occurs for me when using an external monitor.

Once I've clicked within my MacBook screen, the shortcut starts working again, whichever screen has focus.

  • In case it helps someone: This was the problem for me as well, but changing resolutions didn't solve it. Instead I used a keyboard shortcut to maximize Spotlight while I knew it was active (even though I couldn't see it), then dragged it to the desired location. Commented Nov 15, 2022 at 17:56

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