I type using a keyboard layout other than the standard QWERTY. This question will apply to those who type using Dvorak, Colemak, QWERTZ, or any other international or non-standard keyboard layout.

My keyboard layout (Dvorak) is different than the standard keyboard layout for my country / locale. So this question isn't simply solved by setting a default locale; I also need to specify a default keyboard layout.

When I log in to my macOS user account, my personal keyboard layout is always used. It's also selected on the Lock Screen if I ever Lock the computer.

But when I first boot my Mac after a Restart or Shut Down, the QWERTY keyboard layout is always selected.

I'm forced to hunt-and-peck my password because my keyboard layout is not set. Or, I can manually change the keyboard layout via the Input menu (which is shown, but is not the focus of this question).

How can I change the default keyboard layout used on the macOS login window / startup screen?

  • 1
    Have you seen ctrl.blog/entry/how-to-macos-login-keyboard-layout.html Jun 11, 2020 at 20:57
  • @TomGewecke that allows me to apply a language to the Login Window, but I don't see a way to specify a keyboard layout within that language.
    – pkamb
    Jun 12, 2020 at 17:39
  • Did you try it going thru all the steps? Step one is where the desired layout is set, the rest is supposed to make it stick. Did it not work? Jun 12, 2020 at 19:13
  • 2
    The correct solution is in this blog. TL;DR run sudo cp ~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.HIToolbox.plist /Library/Preferences/ to copy your local keyboard settings over the default root settings.
    – jlyonsmith
    Jul 18, 2020 at 20:39
  • 1
    @jlyonsmith can you please add that as an Answer?
    – pkamb
    Jul 18, 2020 at 22:53

2 Answers 2


In Terminal, run this to copy your keyboard settings to the default settings:

sudo cp ~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.HIToolbox.plist /Library/Preferences/

via Change the default keyboard of OSX login screen permanently


The correct answer for Big Sur is here:

How to change the keyboard layout on the MacOS login screen



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