Things that suck #1 – Backspace / Delete

So after saying that I am not going to concentrate on things that suck, here I go with one. It's not an OS/X thing though, its a MacBook thing.

There is only one delete key on the keyboard and it is usefully labelled "delete", what it is from a PC perspective though is a backspace key and to get a delete like I would know it you have to press fn+delete.

That sucks.

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27 responses to “Things that suck #1 – Backspace / Delete

  1. Just got my MacBook Pro today… and it’s my first Mac.

    WTF. I’m in Terminal, and can’t do a “delete” (aka… a real delete, not a backspace) !?
    The fn+delete trick doesn’t work in Terminal.

    I’ve found soooo many posts saying “Teaching you Terminal”, “Learn how to use Terminal”… only to find the articles are about how to do an “ls” or a “cat”. I didn’t want a basic tutorial about bash.

    *Sigh… I dig this site… and will keep checking it often. Keep finding these things !

  2. Thanks for the comment, does suck doesnt it :)

  3. Mark Kalderon

    Try ctrl-D. Should work.

  4. Look at this post, this might get you started:

    Nice blog. I am planning on switching by the end of the year. I am waiting for the universal Binairy of Photoshop, but I cannot wait to switch.

  5. Oddly, iBooks have a ‘delete’ key which does backspace as with the MacBook Pros and PowerBooks, except that instead of saying ‘delete’, it has the normal left-pointing arrow of a backspace key as you’d normally see on a PC keyboard. The same (Fn+Backspace) combination applies for getting a normal ‘delete’ function from it.

    Apple don’t ever seem to be particularly consistent with their keyboards, as far as I can tell.

  6. Don’t use Terminal, by the way. Get something like iTerm instead. Regular Terminal is kinda uncool.

    (I did this same journey two years ago and have never looked back but I still seem to learn stuff all the time.)

  7. I’m a recent switcher and was also annoyed at the lack of a true Delete key on my PowerBook. I use a nice little program called DoubleCommand that, among other things, allows me to remap the backslash key to function as forward delete.

    Also, check out MacMentor -“Helping PC users switch since 2003”. Lots of good info and very helpful folks at that forum.

    Cheers, Jeff

  8. Also a switcher and former xp power user.

    Speaking of keyboard issues:

    #1 keyboard thing that sucks in OS X:
    no easy way to get to dropdown menus without using the mouse. In windows, you can Alt-letter to get to a menu, and then Alt-Space would let you minimize or close a window conveniently.

    #1 solution to this thing that sucked:
    go into keyboard preferences pane / shortcuts, and remap Command-Space to “Move focus to menu bar”. This will clobber the old setting for spotlight, which you can reassign to Command-Option-Space (clobbering a useless second spotlight shortcut).

    This, plus quicksilver, plus using Command-`, saves a world of time.

  9. OK, but there are good delete things like holding option while backspacing/delteing will remove a word at a time!

  10. I also found the lack of Delete key to be annoying. I figured out the fn+backspace combination, but I tend to use Ctrl+Delete or Ctrl+Backspace in Windows to delete whole words very frequently, and the prospect of having to press fn+(Option or Control, can’t remember)+Backspace isn’t too appealing.

  11. Mark Kalderon

    algal, you can access the menus with control function F2. you might have to adjust the system preferences to get this to work (not sure) by clicking on the “enable acccess for assistive devices” in the universal access pane.

    There is also a nice little freeware prgram called Deja Menu that will allow you to navigate the menu items quickly and easily.

    Hope this helps.

    best, Mark

  12. Quit using OS/X. It’s OS X. Not OSX. Not OS/X. Not OS 10. OS X.

    Win Dows. See how dumb that is?

  13. Terminal -> Window Settings -> Keyboard

    [x] Delete Key Sends Backspace

  14. it’s a learning curve for sure. within a couple/few weeks, it will be second nature.

    i made the switch back in september with a powerbook, and though it’s been a bumpy ride, i found my groove a few months ago. now there is really no looking back.

  15. Actually, Leif – It is “OS TEN”, according to Apple’s own support techs.

  16. Oh duh – my point for reading this topic…

    Something I hate about my swtich..

    Is it just me, or does the “Home” key NOT work normally?
    There are so many time that I need to move the cursor to the start of a line, and I’m so used to just hitting “Home” and “End” to move it.

    Am I missing something?

  17. Transeau: But doesn’t Steve Jobs call it O S X ?

  18. You know, I think I’ve heard him say both.

    Is the next version going to be “OS X I” or “OS Eleven”?

  19. OS Y :))))))

  20. Have anyone managed to login using win XP on a Mac Book Pro – since there is no “del” key on the MAC-running XP I can not press “crtl + alt + del” to prompt the login screen on my office network, just got the mac a week ago – I just dont want to use the external keyboard to login. I though if I reassing the “del” function to another key then I should be able to instruct the commnad so I can login.

  21. two days with a macbook pro, annoying the delete thing but it is such a great machine

  22. With mac laptops, you get used to the lack of delete key. I use shift-right arrow to select forward and then delete or start typing. It’s a minor annoyance. fn-delete works, too.

    As far as the crappy arrow keys, I found this discussion (and look for my post with a possible fix):

  23. I’d like to switch the eject key to delete key. Anyone know how to remap the macbook pro keyboard??? If so, it would be great for me. Thanks

  24. Pingback: Delete VS Backspace Macbook « Living Critic

  25. foto gwaii

    if you have a 4 button mouse you can program one of the buttons to do a forward delete by pressing fn+delete

    its that simple

  26. firt day macbook user


    PLEASE HELP!! I just got a MACbook today (along with advil; not kidding!) I’ve been trying the mac for about a week, but I have NOT YET figured out how to select one whole word (or several) forward or backward, like I used to ALL THE TIME in PCs with shift + ctrl + left/right arrow. Has anyone figured that out?


    Enjoy the ride!

  27. Sigh.
    Doublecommand. 20 seconds to dedicated forward delete (use the second enter button) on your MBP.