Why have the Command and Option keys switched on my keyboard?

command computer keyboard key
Big switch: remap your Mac keyboard keys

If you’re using an external keyboard designed for Windows PCs with your Mac, you might notice something odd going on. When you press the Command key, you actually get the Option key and vice versa. That’s a nightmare when it comes to using keyboard shortcuts, but don’t fret: it’s easy to get those Command and Option keys switched back to their rightful places. Here’s how.

How to remap the Command key on a Mac keyboard

The Mac’s keyboard settings let you remap the modifier keys, such as Command and Option. Better still, it does this on an individual keyboard basis, so even if you remap the keys on your external keyboard, it won’t make any difference to the built-in keyboard on a MacBook.

To remap the keys, click the Apple symbol in the top-left of the screen and choose System Preferences.

From the System Preferences screen choose Keyboard.

Now, click the Modifier keys button in the bottom-right of the Keyboard preferences screen.

Here comes the crucial bit: make sure you select the correct keyboard from the drop-down menu at the top of the next screen. Now, all you have to do is switch Option Key to Command and Command Key to Option, as shown below:

Mac keyboard preferences - modifier keys

You should now find your Command and Option keys switched back to their rightful places and everything is hunky dory again!

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About the author

Barry Collins

Barry has scribbled about tech for almost 20 years for The Sunday Times, PC Pro, WebUser, Which? and many others. He was once Deputy Editor of Mail Online and remains in therapy to this day. Email Barry at

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