How To Change The Keyboard Language In OS X

When you purchase a new Mac and start setting it up for the first time, you have the option to choose the layout for the keyboard that comes with it. Normally, everybody selects English as their default input language. However, after using your brand-new Mac for quite a while, you may want to change the input language for the keyboard. For example, if you bought a Mac with a QWERTY keyboard but set it up with the French input language, you may want to change the keyboard to the AZERTY layout.

In such instances, there are two things to consider. The first is the logical system input which is configured directly in OS X, and the second is the actual physical layout of the keys. We’ll first show you how to change the input source in OS X, and then options for changing your physical keyboard.


The “Language & Region option” in OS X lets you change the language used all around in your Mac, from input in Word to Google Chrome. It also lets you format substitute symbols for text; change date, time, number, currency and measurement units to those used in another country; and switch the keyboard language or layout to a language other than English.

Change The Keyboard Input Language In OS X

1. Open up System Preferences from the Apple Menu, or by searching for it in Spotlight.


2. Once opened, locate and open “Language & Region”, which should be present in the first row of settings.


3. Click on “Keyboard Preferences”.


4. In the left tab of the window, click on the little “+” sign in the bottom. Doing so will bring up a list of various input languages.  Select the language and keyboard layout you want, and click “Add.”



5. Now, in the left pane, you should see your added keyboard input source. Before exiting System Preferences, be sure to check “Show Input menu in menu bar”.

Now you can simply click on the country flag located in the top OS X taskbar, and select the language you want to use.


You can also use two keyboard shortcuts to switch through input sources by enabling them following the procedure below:

1. Open up System Preferences like you did before, and navigate to “Language & Region -> Keyboard Preferences”.

2. Switch to the tab “Shortcuts.”


3. From the left hand pane, select “Input Sources”.

4. Enable the two shortcuts that appear, and click on “Restore Defaults” if a warning box. (These key combos, if not being used for these language inputs, are used to access the Spotlight and search your Mac respectively. So it might not be worth enabling these keyboard shortcuts if you use “Command + Space” to access Spotlight all the time.)

5. You can now use “Command + Space” and “Command + Option + Space” to switch between the previous and next keyboard input source respectively.

Change Keyboard Input Language For OS X Lock Screen

If you also want to make a language other than the default one available for keyboard input in the login screen, follow the steps given below:

1. Open up System Preferences and click on “Users & Groups.”


2. Select “Login Options”, and click on the “Lock icon” in the lower-left corner.


3. Enter your password in the popup box when prompted, and then check “Show Input Menu in Login Window.”



4. Click the “Lock” again to save changes.

Now, when you will log out and log back in to Mac OS X, a drop-down menu with selected keyboard layouts will be present on the login screen above your account name and password entry box.

Options To Change Your Physical Key Input

If you own an iMac or any other desktop system, you’re in luck. Apple offers wireless keyboards available in different languages which you can easily order from Apple’s own site for $69.

You can buy a new wireless keyboard from Apple's website with your own keyboard language input source.

Solutions will be a little more harder for all of you out there who are looking to change the keyboard of your Mac notebook. You can either choose to take your Macbook to an Apple Authorized Technician and tell them to change the keyboard to a language and format you want, although at several hundred dollars, this is not the cheapest option. We’d recommend using an external keyboard with your Macbook if you can, as you can easily buy one with your own language input source online. You can also buy a keyboard cover or key caps with your language input, many of which are easily available.

Just keep in mind, the next time you buy a new Mac, be sure to choose the keyboard source input language and format you want it in, as changing this later can be quite of a hassle, especially if you’re a fan of Mac notebooks.

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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