Getting Karabiner keyboard settings back after upgrading to macOS Sierra

Jonathan Boiser
Oct 2, 2016 · 2 min read

UPDATE: The latest version of Karabiner-Elements

Just a short note if people like me who use Karabiner and Seil are panicking after their upgrade to macOS Sierra and wondering how to get their vim-friendly keyboard back.

I only used these Karabiner and Seil to do two things:

  1. Map Caps Lock to ESC
  2. Increase the key repeat speed beyond what can be done in System Preferences

So this might not be super useful if you are a power user.

Be sure to checkout these projects, and even donate some money to the hardworking developer of Karabiner.

Install Karabiner-Elements

It seems like development has halted on Karabiner, but a different project, Karabiner-Elements has popped, which supports Sierra, but doesn’t have the GUI and all of the features (yet) as Karabiner.

There is a link to download a .dmg package on its Github page.

Map Caps Lock to ESC

You can do this mapping in Karabiner-Elements (and not Seil). Here is a link on how to do this.

Increase the key repeat speed

In Karabiner, this was done in a GUI. Unfortunately, the GUI isn’t ready in Karabiner-Elements. Fortunately, you can still access it in the terminal. Hat tip to NiggyWizzyWoz on Github for figuring this out.

From the issue:

defaults write -g InitialKeyRepeat -int 10 # normal minimum is 15 (225 ms)
defaults write -g KeyRepeat -int 1 # normal minimum is 2 (30 ms)

Disable alternate characters on key hold


defaults write -g ApplePressAndHoldEnabled -bool false

More From Medium

More from Jonathan Boiser

More from Jonathan Boiser

Bad Actors In Decentralized Apps

Also tagged Vim

Also tagged Vim

Editor Almighty

Angad Sharma
Feb 17 · 7 min read


Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade