How to Change the Cmd+Q Shortcut Key in OS X (to Stop Accidentally Closing Apps)


If you’ve spent any time using Mac OS X, you’ve figured out that the Cmd+W shortcut key closes a window or tab, while the Cmd+Q key quits the entire app. The problem? The keys are right next to each other, and way too easy to accidentally hit! Here’s how to change it.

This problem is compounded even more when you’re using an application like Google Chrome, Safari, or Firefox, where you’re opening or closing tabs all the time, and probably using the Cmd+W key to close just the current tab. If you aren’t careful, you’ll accidentally hit Cmd+Q instead, and your entire browser gets closed.

Remapping the Cmd+Q (Or Any) Shortcut Key

Open up the System Preferences window, and then head down into Keyboard.

System Preferences

Now switch to the Keyboard Shortcuts tab, and then click the little plus symbol at the bottom of the window.


Select the application you’re going to remap the key for, type in the Exact title of the menu item into the Menu Title box, and then customize the keyboard shortcut to something that you’d like it to be.

System Preferences-1

Once you click the Add button, the change will be immediate—head back to the other application and look at the menu, where you’ll see the new key is in effect.


Unfortunately, you’ll need to customize this for each application separately, but at least it’s not that hard. In my case, there was really only one or two applications to bother with.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.