Increase the Key repeat rate in OS X Sierra

Settings on my Macbook Pro:

~ $ defaults read -g InitialKeyRepeat
68
~ $ defaults read -g KeyRepeat
60

The InitialKeyRepeat value represents the ‘Delay Until Repeat option’ in the ‘Keyboard Preferences’ (System Preferences => Keyboard). The KeyRepeat value signifies the value set by the ‘Key Repeat’ option in the ‘Keyboard Preferences’. Below is a screenshot that portrays these options for clarity.

Default key repeat settings in Macbook Pro

‘Key Repeat’ value signifies how quickly the characters repeat when a key is held down.

‘Delay Until Repeat’ option indicates how long to wait before the character is repeated when a key is held down.

To increase the key repeat rate, drag the sliders under ‘Key Repeat’ and ‘Delay Until Repeat’ options all the way to the Right.

Updated key repeat settings

This updates the values as:

~ $ defaults read -g InitialKeyRepeat
15
~ $ defaults read -g KeyRepeat
2

The value of 15 for ‘InitialKeyRepeat’ option indicates that the system waits for 225 milliseconds before repeating a character initially. The value of 2 for ‘KeyRepeat’ tells the system to wait for 30 milliseconds before repeating the character after the initial repetition.

You can also consider using a third party tool like Karabiner (https://pqrs.org/osx/karabiner/), that provides a more flexible way to set these options. Please note, as of Jun 2017, the tool does not support MacOS Sierra, yet.

If you would like to further increase the key repeat speed, you can do it through the command line:

~ $ defaults write -g InitialKeyRepeat -int 10
~ $ defaults write -g KeyRepeat -int 1

The value of 10 for InitialKeyRepeat implies a wait of 112.5 milliseconds before repeating the character for the first time and the value of 1 for KeyRepeat indicates a wait of 10 milliseconds for subsequent repetitions.


References:

  1. How to increase keyboard key repeat rate on OS X?
  2. Karabiner-Elements
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