remap-esc-key-macos-sierra-10-12-1After seeing the leaks for the upcoming MacBook Pro, many people have wondered how their workflows might be hindered by the removal of the hardware Escape key. While it’s very likely that an Escape key will be able to be mapped to the OLED Magic Toolbar, macOS Sierra contains another handy provision for those of you who still prefer to use a dedicated hardware key.

In macOS 10.12.1, Apple has added the option to remap the Escape key to a physical hardware button. This remapping functionality isn’t new, in fact, back in March we walked you through how to remap modifier keys to make a Windows keyboard work better on a Mac.

In previous versions of macOS, you could remap the Caps Lock, Control, Option, or Command keys. Each of these keys could be remapped with a Caps Lock, Control, Option, or Command action. There’s been no Escape action, however, until the latest version of macOS, released yesterday. In macOS 10.12.1, you can now select an Escape action, and remap it to the Caps Lock, Control, Option, or Command keys.

How to remap Escape to a hardware key in macOS Sierra

To remap the Escape key to another hardware key, simply do the following:

Step 1: Open System PreferencesKeyboard.

Step 2: Click the Modifier Keys button in the bottom right-hand corner.

Step 3: Click the drop down box next to the hardware key that you’d like to remap, and select Escape.

Step 4: Click OK and close System Preferences.


A modifier key remapped with an Escape action

You should now be able to use the assigned hardware modifier key as a replacement for the Escape key, which as you know, will no longer appear on MacBook Pros going forward. Thankfully, it’s super easy to assign the Escape key to another hardware key.

Apple likely understood that not all of its customers will appreciate being relegated to a soft-Escape key, and hence instituted this change to appease power users. I mean, who uses Caps Lock anyway?

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About the Author

Jeff Benjamin

Jeff produces videos, walkthroughs, how-tos, written tutorials and reviews. He takes pride in being able to explain things in a simple, clear and concise manner.