If you look at the keyboard on a MacBook or another Apple device, you might be stumped. The backspace key is up there in the top right corner, but there’s no delete key. Where is the delete key on a Mac?
The difference between delete and backspace
If you think this article is just being pedantic and that the backspace key is really the delete key, you’re wrong. Backspace does indeed delete the character before the cursor, but a delete key deletes the character in front of the cursor. Both can be very useful. Many of the external keyboards for Macs will have both backspace and delete keys (see our advice on buying Mac keyboards with a dedicated delete button below).
How to delete on a Mac
Luckily, there is a very simple way around this problem. To make the backspace key act like a delete key, you simply have to hold down the fn (function) key in the bottom-left corner of the keyboard at the same time. Sorted!
Can you buy Mac keyboards with a delete button?
Yes, you can. if you’re using an iMac or you’re happy to use an external keyboard with a MacBook or MacBook Pro, you will lots of keyboards that have a dedicated Delete button in addition to the backspace key.
My current favourite external keyboard for Mac is the Vissles V84 mechanical keyboard. It’s a compact wireless keyboard with a lovely typing action, and as you will see from the photos if you click the link above, it has a delete button in the top-right corner of the keyboard.
If you’d prefer a more well-known brand, the Logitech MX Mechanical or the Logitech MX Keys both have dedicated delete keys, too.
That’s not really “sorted.” This means it takes two hands to delete a character, which is an annoying pain in the ass (that’s not even depicted on the keyboard, so it may as well not exist). Apple’s refusal to fix this defect reached a new level of infantile pettiness when the Eject key became defunct and Apple replaced it with a baffling “lock” key instead of Delete.
Not to mention that when the Eject key existed, Apple put a non-defeatable hardware-based DELAY on it, so you couldn’t even remap it to be Delete. WTF? Were there fatal accidental disc ejections? Not to mention it’s a typically stupid and overcomplicated Apple workaround to this “problem:” They could’ve made Eject a secondary function (requiring Fn) of a Delete key. No more accidental ejections, and then they’d have had a Delete key.
Don’t use an Apple keyboard. Its supplied, but certainly nowhere close to the best keyboard you can get for yourself.
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This is just pure meanness on the part of Apple.
Whiner! Every platform or OS has its pro’s and con’s. Having to simultaneously press fn & backspace is a minuscule compromise to gain the advantages of a superior and coherently smooth and responsive OSystem, nay – eco-system. IMO the only thing that MS got right was Excel, VSCode and OneNote, and also capturing the back office for most organisations. The techies tell me that the back office is also the most cobbled tome of software ever written. However, they support it because it provide jobs. The rest of MS’s software, its relationship to its cut-throat hardware partners and by default the 3rd party software is slow, bloated and archaic. I spend maybe at a push, one hour per week on a MS machine, only because I have to. The other 79 hours are a glorious Apple experience, where things just work first time.
On my MacBook Air, the top right button is labeled delete, but acts as a backspace. I have to press the fn button plus the delete to actually make it act as a delete button.
Your criticism of MS is justified but a red herring. All operating systems other then petty and pedantic Apple acknowledge the usefulness of a delete key in addition to the backspace. Worse, the days that things worked first time with Apple are long gone. They also got too clever by half pressing ever more “handy” functionality in their OS. All the while MS are slowly getting their act together. Dealing extensively with both environments there is objectively ever less difference between the two. If Apple would just admit their screw up and quietly add a delete key we can call it a draw.
To add a commonly used, very functional and very usefull key such as DELETE shoudn’t be even discussed! This is a plain no brainer, period.
Agreed. I’d change e.g. the right Command key for Delete on the spot if I could.
If Fn+Backspace doesn’t work, try ⌘+Backspace instead – It’s the Delete key on many Mac keyboards.
Why some uses Fn+Delete whilst others use ⌘+Delete though (Even ones WITH Fn keys) though – I have no idea…
I am a new apple user and not having the delete key to me is just ridiculous. It’s one of the things I never thought I would have to get used to. It makes me question the priorities of the company, which seems to be form over function. Please give me the basic keys as I don’t need all the fn, control, option, command buttons. I have to cycle through all of them whenever I need to find a useful shortcut, and in the case of the delete function sometimes I need to get up and take a break after being so annoyed with this basic issue. I don’t think it’s ok to get used to this, it should be FIXED by them not by us as it’s just lazy design.
This is some poor ui and usage mentality…. If you own a mac book you need to be able to delete w. 1 hand, theres no good reason to need two hands to delete, its like screen shots and so many goofy apple command decisions…