Fix for not working accent menu macOS

  1. How to fix
  2. Permanent fix
  3. How to undo

On both iOS and macOS you can hold a key on the keyboard to get the accent menu from which you can convert an e to the ê special character by pressing the indicated number. On my Mac this feature disabled itself after one of the recent updates. Pretty annoying and I tried a lot of things to get it back. Including reboots and changing the keyboard languages. Nothing helped untill I came across this bright comment. A simple tweak to re-enable the press-and-hold feature, without rebooting or messing up other settings!

How to fix

Part of the problem is that macOS overwrites the ApplePressAndHoldEnabled settings in the Library/Preferences/.GlobalPreferences.plist file. Basically you need to tell your Mac to reset the setting by running the command below and perform a logout/login sequence.

Open Terminal app from Spotlight search or Launchpad. Then copy paste the following line and hit [enter] key:

defaults write -g ApplePressAndHoldEnabled -bool true

Now logout from the  Apple menu, log back in and it’s resolved!

Permanent fix

After a while the preference may disable itself. Requiring you to rerun the command, logout and log back in to get it working again. To work around this problem I have created this so called ‘launch agent’ with the above command which runs each time you login. You place the code as a .plist file inside the Library/LaunchAgents/ folder, relative to your username home folder. Then macOS will automatically run it upon logging in.

Open Terminal app from Spotlight search or Launchpad. Then copy paste the following line and hit [enter] key:

curl -o ~/Library/LaunchAgents/com.fvdm.AccentMenu.plist

Now logout from the  Apple menu, log back in and it’s resolved!

How to undo

To undo this change run these commands in Terminal to remove the login script and disable the accent menu:

rm -vf ~/Library/LaunchAgents/com.fvdm.AccentMenu.plist

defaults write -g ApplePressAndHoldEnabled -bool false

Now logout from the  Apple menu, log back in and you’re back to the old situation.

2021-09-13 – Replaced wget with curl which comes standard with macOS.
2021-08-19 – Shorter te.
2021-06-25 – Small fix in plist file
2021-06-07 – Added login script
2021-01-02 – Added note about fix


22 responses to “Fix for not working accent menu macOS”

  1. Anonymous

    This doesn’t work for me (yes, I logged out and back in afterwards). Using Monterey v12.4. Any other clues? Hugely frustrating.

    1. Franklin

      Yeah I can imagine. Maybe the permissions on the file are wrong. You can fix that with the command below and then redo the steps from the article.

      sudo chown $(logname) ~/Library/Preferences/.GlobalPreferences.plist && chmod 0600 $_

  2. You’re a genius, thanks!

  3. Worked for me on BigSur 11.14 after trying all the other suggestions I found all over the internet.

  4. Evelyn

    Yup! Worked for me as well. Thank you for blessing me! It had just stopped working out of nowhere!

  5. Beatriz

    Thank you!! This worked! I’ve spent hours chatting with Apple support and they have not been able to fix this.

  6. is there a permanent fix. Your fix works but I have to do it daily to reset

    1. Franklin

      Not yet. I have one in mind by using a boot script, but haven’t had time to try it out.

  7. Thanks,
    worked for MacBook Air macOS Sig Sur (Version 11.1)
    Saved this content for future reference.
    All the best!

    1. I’m Kiki as well with a MacBook Air on Big Sur lol. this worked perfectly! thanks! hoping for a permanent fix.

  8. Bertoncini

    Thank you so much ! You’re a hero

  9. Trevor Lynn

    Yes this works! Thanks!

  10. I have Catalina and unfortunately this command didn’t work out for me. The menu still doesn’t show up…

    1. Franklin

      Did you logout after running the Terminal command? That is very important otherwise the setting won’t be activated.

  11. Thanks a lot! Works like a charm :)

  12. mlly097

    oh my gosh thank you! I have an online Spanish exam this week and was kind of freaking out at being unable to type accent marks quickly. This was the only solution that worked

  13. Thanks so much! I had really lost hope in finding a solution. I had tried a ton of different suggestions and it was your solution which worked. Thank you!!

  14. Many thanks for this. I just updated my MBA last night and was mad that the accented letters had gone!

  15. It worked out! Thanks!

  16. Thank you so much! I just updated my MacBook and I was so frustrated. I use accents SO MUCH.

  17. Thanks so much for this. Just happened to me today to also an High Sierra updgrade

  18. Fjshv9

    Thank you! I upgraded my 2015 Macbook Pro to High Sierra, and my long-press character menu quit working. I tried a few other things (I was nervous to try this solution) but this is the only thing that worked. I entered the text above, logged out, and logged back in, and now I can add character accents again. Thank you!

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