How to Adjust the Speed of Your Mac’s Arrow Keys

MacOS logo

Windows users migrating to macOS will notice differences in how the Apple Mac keyboard reacts to typing. If you find that the arrow keys are moving too slowly in the text, you can adjust the speed. Here’s how.

Access to the keyboard settings menu on Mac

There are two options that can affect the speed of your arrow keys on macOS: key repeat speed and repeat delay. To change the repetition speed, you will need to access the System Preferences menu.

RELATED: Six alternative ways to access system preferences on your Mac

The easiest way to do this is to click on the Apple menu icon in the upper left corner of your Mac screen. From there, select “System Preferences” to open the menu.

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In the System Preferences window, click on the “Keyboard” icon.

Click on the Keyboard option in System Preferences to customize the macOS keyboard settings

By default, entering the Keyboard settings menu will allow you to customize your macOS keyboard.

RELATED: How to customize your OS X keyboard and add shortcuts

To change the speed of your keys, you must enter the first tab “Keyboard”. Click on it if this section did not load automatically.

The Keyboard tab in the keyboard options in macOS System Preferences

Changing the keyboard repeat speed on Mac

At the top of the “Keyboard” section are two sliders. The setting of the “Key Repeat” slider (shown at left) will affect how quickly your key entry is repeated when a key is pressed.

For example, if you want to move from the beginning to the end of a block of text in a document, by holding down one of the arrow keys, you will only move the text cursor at the speed defined using the cursor here.

To change this, you will need to click on the Apple menu icon at the top left, then click on the “System Preferences” option. Tap the “Keyboard” icon – you’ll find the “Key Repeat” cursor at the top of the “Keyboard” section of this menu.

Using your mouse or trackpad, move the slider to the left or right to increase the keyboard repeat speed on your macOS device.

Move the Key Repeat slider up and down to affect the repeat speed of your Mac keyboard

Any changes you make will be applied immediately – you can cancel the setting if the keyboard repeat rate becomes too fast or too slow.

Changing the key repeat delay on Mac

The second parameter that affects your macOS arrow keys is the key repeat delay. This is the speed required by macOS to recognize that a key has been held down and that the entry can be repeated.

To change this setting, enter the System Preferences menu by clicking on the Apple icon in the upper left corner and pressing the “System Preferences” option. From here, click on the “Keyboard” icon to access the keyboard settings menu.

The “Delay before repetition” cursor is displayed at the top of the window in the “Keyboard” section, next to the “Key repetition” cursor.

If you increase the value of this parameter, macOS will record key repetitions faster. Using your mouse or touchpad, move the cursor to the left or right, as needed.

Move the Delay before repeat slider up and down to affect the repeat delay of the Mac keyboard

As with the “Key Repeat” slider, any changes you make will be applied immediately and can be reversed, if necessary.

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