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My first Apple computer that I bought in 2011 had a "Ctrl" key, an "Alt" key, a "Cmd" key and a Shift key. My second Apple computer too.

I haven't seen a single Apple computer or a single Apple keyboard with an "Option" key though. I know "Alt" and "Option" is the same from any practical point of view. I've been working as an iOS developer for years. I learned about the "Option" key only a few years ago. I heard it in a Youtube video, I think. It is often used in contexts like this:

If you are a Windows user, press Alt P, if you are a Mac user press Option P

Obviously, I'm a Windows user then..

This is probably a history question..

When was the last time Apple did produce keyboards with a key that is labelled "Option"? Do they still produce these keyboards? (Notebooks count as well.)

Were they sold everywhere, or just in particular countries? For example, I'm from Europe, so maybe the "Option" key is a US thing and it was never sold in Europe, which would explain why I never saw it, and which would also explain why we still hear about "Option" keys from time to time.

Interestingly, the "Alt"-key is sometimes called "Wahl-Taste" in German. It sounds really strange, and I didn't ever hear a Mac user call that key "Wahl-Taste" in real life. It seems like if Windows users are trying to be nice to Mac users without realizing that they just messed up.

  • Where exactly did you look for Apple computers and keyboards? – nohillside Oct 21 '18 at 14:07
  • @nohillside: Just go to any European country except Great Britain and look at Macbooks there. – Michael Oct 21 '18 at 14:20
  • I bought one a few months ago, in Switzerland, with local layout, and option key :-) – nohillside Oct 21 '18 at 17:47
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Images from Apple KB - How to identify keyboard localizations

US Keyboards say alt
Option

enter image description here

Other keyboards say alt

enter image description here

Basically, it's one & the same key.

Best guess is there are so many people who know Alt is but don't know Option that the terms have just merged over the years.

I haven't had a keyboard in at least a decade that actually said Option, though I remember they all did back in the 90s.

I found this 'keyboard history' article from 2007 - though it's not the main topic, it is mentioned - How Apple Keyboards Lost a Logo and Windows PCs Gained One

Mac Integration with Windows. As it became increasingly useful for Mac users to emulate Windows or work in shared environments, the Option key on Macs became equated with the Alt key on PCs, and the Command key was associated with the ineffectual Windows Start button.

** After comments & other answers
It appears that the Apple have changed the keyboards over the years since they made the keyboard layout page, but not updated the page to cover every current keyboard.
The answer is still really it depends - some do, some don't, in every conceivable combination ;)

  • I always thought I had a British English keyboard? i.stack.imgur.com/Yt8y7.jpg – grg Oct 21 '18 at 12:21
  • How old is it? Oldest one I have here is from an 08 & it's as the pic above. I no longer have anything earlier I can look at. – Tetsujin Oct 21 '18 at 12:24
  • Oops probably should have mentioned that: 2017 MacBook Pro! – grg Oct 21 '18 at 12:45
  • @grg - I guess they've changed the keyboards again, but not the page :/ – Tetsujin Oct 21 '18 at 12:53
  • My new iMac (bought March in Australia) has a Magic Keyboard with option and ⌥ when shifted. – Milliways Oct 22 '18 at 8:33

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