Catalina on late-2013 iMac, newly net installed OS. If I use keyboard viewer then if I press either right or left- (command key) then the keys in the Keyboard panel both show outlined in Red. SO, something works with the left- (command key)...

If I use the standard Spotlight shortcut (command key)+space bar it ONLY works if I use the right- (command key), nothing with the left one.

If I go to Preferences > Keyboard & Shortcuts tab I can highlight the key sequence and creat a new one: left- (command key)+J say, it sees and records that. If I try to change that back to left- (command key)+space nothing happens, like no space key was pressed (Keyboard shows the cmd keys outlined but no flash for the space bar). I CAN re-define it fine with the right- (command key). This behaviour of no apparent Spotlight was there right from the first login after install [my habit is left- (command key), took ages to notice right- (command key) worked!]

Does this make any sense? Can I fix it? Can the command key be masking out the space bar press somehow? (this seems to be the evidence of the Keyboard viewer test)

  • small footnote: the keyboard viewer app does not seem to know there is a right-control key OR a number pad and nav/right-delete section! Also it shows bright/dim icons etc whilst my keys are engraved F1 to F13. Could be an age/firmware thing?? Someone's old coffee or other physical issue?
    – colin
    Mar 7, 2021 at 13:25
  • Something is capturing that shortcut. Mar 7, 2021 at 17:42
  • @marc: don't think it can be. A) this was a clean install when first noted so nothing no-standard Apple. B) if I watch keyboard and hold right-cmd and press space I see both keys highly at the right time BUT although I see left-cmd highlit it seems I can't trigger the space: I hit the space bar but the image of the space bar never highlights in red. Seems the left-cmd masks the space bar press! Maybe it is a hardware error on this not-new keyboard that I am using for the first time. AHH - I should swap this keyboard with some other machine - that could prove it is a hardware thing.
    – colin
    Mar 7, 2021 at 18:48
  • If the keyboard viewer doesn't correctly recognise the keyboard type, try to regenerate it. Prefs/Keyboard/Keyboard/Change keyboard type… You may need to discard the old prefs first, which I'm not so sure about - maybe see apple.stackexchange.com/questions/309036/…
    – Tetsujin
    Mar 8, 2021 at 16:24
  • Did you ever figure this out? I have the same issue, left-cmd key works in all cases except with cmd-space. Jul 4, 2022 at 18:26


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