How To Change the Text Cursor Blink Rate in OS X

Some of you might want to change the rate at which your OS X text cursor blinks. The default is it blinking once per second, and its main aim is to inform you that the cursor is active so you can view the characters that you are typing. However, if the blink rate is too fast or slow for you, there is a way to change this rate.

To do this you’ll need to use the “defaults” command in Terminal in OS X. As always, we advise you take extreme caution while entering commands into Terminal, as a lot of things can go wrong if you enter in the wrong command. Make sure you enter the exact command we’ve detailed below, and don’t change anything except the cursor blink values. We’ve detailed the exact commands below, so check them out:

OS X 10.8 or Earlier

If your Mac is running OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion or earlier, perform the following steps to reduce/increase the rate at which OS X’s text cursor blinks on your Mac:

1. Open up Terminal on your Mac either with Spotlight or by navigating to “Applications -> Utilities”.

2. Enter in the following command into your Mac. Change the value of the blink period and press Enter:

defaults write -g NSTextInsertionPointBlinkPeriod -float 1000


In the command above, the value at which the cursor blinks is in milliseconds. 1000 means 1 second. Depending on whether you want a faster or slower blink rate, either reduce this value to get your cursor to blink faster or increase this value to get your cursor to blink slower.

OS X 10.9 or Later

If you’re running OS X 10.9 or later, the command you’ll need to enter into Terminal will be a bit different. Instead of one single command that tells OS X how much of an interval there should be between each cursor blink, Apple now has separate settings for the off and on times. This allows you to set the cursor to have uneven off and on times which allows for better customizability.

Enter the following two commands (separately) into Terminal to adjust how long the cursor stays on and off respectively:

defaults write -g NSTextInsertionPointBlinkPeriodOn -float 200
defaults write -g NSTextInsertionPointBlinkPeriodOff -float 200



You can test these changes by opening up an application like TextEdit and seeing whether the rate at which the text cursor blinks has changed to the value you entered into Terminal. Also note that this will only work for applications and text fields that are coded with Apple’s text view coding objects, so programs that use alternative text handling routines may not show a difference in blink rate.

The values in the commands above are also in milliseconds, so you can change them as you prefer.

To revert back to what it was before these changes you can simply enter in the following commands into Terminal for OS X 10.8 or earlier and for OS X 10.9 or later respectively:

defaults delete -g NSTextInsertionPointBlinkPeriod


defaults delete -g NSTextInsertionPointBlinkPeriodOn
defaults delete -g NSTextInsertionPointBlinkPeriodOff

Entering these commands will reset the rate at which the text cursor blinks back to their default values which you can then edit again as you see fit.

Let us know in the Comments section below whether this tutorial worked for you or not.

Shujaa Imran
Shujaa Imran

Shujaa Imran is MakeTechEasier's resident Mac tutorial writer. He's currently training to follow his other passion become a commercial pilot. You can check his content out on Youtube

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