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Cover image for Enabling keyboard navigation on your Mac
Nick Taylor (he/him)
Nick Taylor (he/him)

Posted on • Originally published at iamdeveloper.com

Enabling keyboard navigation on your Mac

I'm starting a new role soon, and they shipped me a brand new Macbook Pro.

I got everything set up on my Mac over the past few weeks, but today I got a prompt about wanting to confirm the deletion of a file. I used the keyboard like I did on my previous Mac and realized it didn't work. I clearly had forgotten to adjust some settings on my new MacBook. Sure, I can use the mouse, but I had been so used to the keyboard for this.

All right, we need to head on over to our Keyboard settings.

System preferences main panel in macOS

See that checkbox labelled Use keyboard navigation to move focus between controls? You're going to want to check that.

Keyboard settings in macOS preferences

And you're done! Now you can use the keyboard for things like confirmation dialogs.

A deletion prompt in VS Code

Photo by hannah joshua on Unsplash

Discussion (6)

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ashleyjsheridan profile image
Ashley Sheridan

This is one of the most annoying changes they've made that really has an impact on accessibility. In my opinion, this is a bad feature, and I really don't see what purpose it's meant to serve.

People using computers sometimes don't really know, or care, what they're using, especially if all they're doing is using a browser to access things online. By changing how the keyboard navigation works, especially when it's so different from about 84% the other operating systems, Apple have introduced a nice big area for confusion. People obviously tend to point the finger at individual websites, and from a developer POV, it's too easy to fall into a trap of adding some crazy code to work around what is really an Apple problem.

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yougotwill profile image
Will G

I use github.com/dexterleng/vimac/ occasionally. The scroll mode in particular is very useful

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waylonwalker profile image
Waylon Walker

I don't use a mac but I support all things keyboard navigation.

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nickytonline profile image
Nick Taylor (he/him) Author

I definitely agree. Like, why is this an option? Just make the keyboard navigation complete by enabling this.

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atulcodex profile image
Atul Prajapati

Okay,