Repetitive Key Strokes Can Be Dangerous to Your Mental Health

by Barrett

If you hear your Mac laughing at you, it’s probably a clue you’re doing something wrong.  For example, the ‘Option’ key on your keyboard can really ruin your day if used accidentally...

If you hear your Mac laughing at you, it’s probably a clue you’re doing something wrong. For example, the ‘Option’ key on your keyboard can really ruin your day if used accidentally…

How many times have you tried to erase a word or two while typing away on your Mac and repetitively hit your ‘Delete’ key? All the time, right? It’s almost like an autonomic gesture… where you barely think about it.

But have you ever tapped the wrong key and somehow disabled your keyboard?

I have.

In fact, it happens to me every six months or so.
That’s just long enough to forget the fix.

And it’s impossible to Google the ‘problem,’ because you’re keyboard is frozen!
D’OH!
(And then it’s time for your iPhone or iPad to come to the rescue…)

Disable Mouse Keys
So for quick reference, here’s the solution:

  • Tap your ‘Option’ key five times

That’s it.
Your keyboard should come back to life.

It all has to do with an accessibility feature called ‘Mouse Keys’ which turns your keyboard off and morphs it into a pointer controller.

Every time you hit your Option key five times, it toggles this feature ‘on’ or ‘off.’

‘X’ Marks the Spot?
I often tap the ‘X’ key a few times as a placeholder for something I intend to write later.

If you look down at your keyboard, you’ll see that the Option key is rather close to the ‘X’… perfectly positioned to receive your slightly misaligned finger.

So chances are you’re eventually going to fall into the same trap…

If you want a permanent fix, and you’re interested in turning off the Mouse Keys functionality altogether,
Apple has posted these instructions.

Listen for It
A big clue you’ve made this infuriating mistake is an audio effect that announces Mouse Keys has just been enabled.
(It sounds like an amused robotic mouse scampering across your desk.)

Option to Resume
So the next time you hear the chuckle of a computerized rodent, you shouldn’t be confused why your Mac has suddenly stopped working.

No, it isn’t frozen with fear.
You just need to provide a gentle reminder five times with the ‘Option’ key to keep on going…

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