The touch bar on Apple’s new MacBook Pro makes sense. The top row of keys have served specific functions on Macs for over a decade; why not let those specific functions change depending on which application you’re using?

But there’s one key that old-school UNIX users—particularly Emacs fans—are going to miss: Escape. The touch bar completely replaces this key, which is going to make a lot of Terminal-based applications nearly impossible to use. And while the touch bar can add an Esc key when necessary, programmers and others might prefer a physical key while typing.

Good news: the latest Sierra update lets you re-maps Caps Lock, a key most people never use, to Esc. We’ve shown you how to disable the caps lock key on a Mac, and the process is similar.

First, head to System Preferences, then to Keyboard.

At the bottom-right, you’ll see a button called “Modifier Keys.” Click it.

From here you can replace what four keys do: Caps Lock, Control, Option, and Command.


Click the Caps Lock drop-down. As you can see, Escape is an option.

Select it and your Caps Lock key will serve as an improvised Esc key. This will take a little getting used to, but it’s better than not having an alternative.

There’s one other downside: if you want to YELL AT PEOPLE, you’ll have to hold down the Shift key. Our official recommendation: only yell at people when it’s worth the effort of holding down the Shift key.

Justin Pot Justin Pot
Justin Pot has been writing about technology for over a decade, with work appearing in Digital Trends, The Next Web, Lifehacker, MakeUseOf, and the Zapier Blog. He also runs the Hillsboro Signal, a volunteer-driven local news outlet he founded.
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