General Question

bhec10's avatar

Why doesn't my keyboard repeat a letter I press?

Asked by bhec10 (6458points) January 13th, 2012

The question might not be very explanatory… Sorry for that.

Whenever I press a letter and keep it down for a while it’s not repeated. I have to press the letter ‘a’ 10 times more if I want to write “aaaaaaaaaah” for example.

Any idea how I can turn this option on, on my Mac? I want to keep a letter pressed and let it appear for as long as I hold my finger over the key.

Thanks in advance!

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11 Answers

FutureMemory's avatar

Sounds like your keyboard is malfunctioning.

LuckyGuy's avatar

On my PC there is a setting called Character repeat where you can set Repeat delay, and Repeat rate.
Settings> Control panel > Keyboard> Speed > Repeat delay
I assume the Mac has a similar procedure.

bhec10's avatar

Yes, when I go onto System Preferences on the “Keyboard” section there is an option called Key Repeat which I can select between off, slow and fast.

I selected fast and “short delay” but still nothing happens.

dappled_leaves's avatar

It looks like this might be an operating system thing… do you have Lion?

jrpowell's avatar

It depends on the app. In some apps the keys repeat and in other apps it give you a accent pop-up like this. It your want to turn this off so it always repeats you can enter this in the Terminal. Open Applications-> Utilities-> Terminal and enter:

defaults write -g ApplePressAndHoldEnabled -bool false and then hit enter. You might have to restart all your apps for it them to see the change.

bhec10's avatar

@dappled_leaves Yes, I have the latest version of Lion.

@johnpowell Thanks! Now it seems to work as I wanted. Is there anything I should write in the Terminal if someday I wanted this to return to normal (i.e. undo this action) ?

jrpowell's avatar

Sure, just change false to true.

defaults write -g ApplePressAndHoldEnabled -bool true

bhec10's avatar

@johnpowell Much appreciated.

jerv's avatar

“Sure, just change false to true”
That is funny if taken out of context!

HungryGuy's avatar

Both Windoze and Linux have options to alter the keypress delay and repeat timings. I can’t say for OS X, but it sounds like something similar has been set or turned off on your system.

bhec10's avatar

Hey @johnpowell, does this interfer with the keyboard illumination?

Since I did this, the lights won’t turn on.


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