OS X: never let someone else use your computer

– unplugging everything, rebooting, then plugging back in seems to have re-instated the other users’ settings. Yay! Although … this seems very fragile / lucky / random, so I fear it might break again next time I reboot…

Even if you create an entirely separate user-account for them, with their own settings … if they happen to setup their keyboard differently, then:

  1. It permanently alters the keyboard settings, and there is no “reset”, nor “choose a different setup” button
  2. It also overwrites the keyboard settings for all other users of the computer, whether they want it or not
  3. It doesn’t even require admin privs – the user is just allowed to overwrite everyone else’s profile without question (including admin profiles)

Sigh. Yet again, a classic example: Apple has no idea how to make software. Someone at Apple *deliberately* broke this (they chose to remove the setup button after it was first setup), so that not only is the software buggy, but there’s nothing the user can do to fix it :(.

EDIT: googling suggests that the two ways to fix this are 1) mess with a lot of low-level config that will probably lock you out of your keyboard entirely, or 2) format your Mac and re-install from scratch. Hilarious. I’ll try the local Apple store, but from previous experience their “Genius” staff don’t seem to know much beyond the obvious, so I’m not hopeful. Sigh.

3 replies on “OS X: never let someone else use your computer”

Wouldn’t the obvious solution be to set up a third user, and set that users keyboard settings to the ones you want?


That’s an excellent idea. Unfortunately, the way OS X works, you are “not allowed” to set these settings, unless you want to make them into custom ones. It’s supposed to make it “easier to use”. Ha!

What I want is:

“use the settings as they were before a user changed them”

There is nothing “active” that set the original settings – the defaults were simply correct. There is no “reset to defaults” button :(.

However, if I can find a way to uninstall the keyboard (not sure that’s possible – its plug n play), I’ll try that and then plug it in again and hope that Apple installs the default settings, instead of retaining the old ones it created.


Actually … you’ve given me an idea that Might Just Work…

The problem came when the other person pressed “the key to the right of shift, so that I [OS X] can work out what keyboard you’re using, automatically”.

Perhaps if I create N additional users, and in each case I press a different key, then by trial and error I can find which keyboard map OS X was using by default.

Then, if I’m really lucky, I can delete all the extra users, but the settings will remain :).


NB: I’ve looked all through the settings, the internationalization system, and the keyboard mapper, but not found any “extra” keyboard maps, so I don’t know where/how OS X has installed this custom map :(.

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