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How to change the Caps key function on macOS

Every keyboard, regardless if it’s for a Mac or a PC, has a Caps lock key. This key, when tapped or turned on, will enter letters in the upper case. You won’t have to hold down the shift key to enter upper case letters when the Caps lock is on.

The Caps key has been a staple on keyboards for a long time, but lately, people have been debating whether it’s needed or not. It’s a relic from when typewriters were used, and computers didn’t exist. Now, the Shift key is more than enough for when upper case letters have to be entered.

Change Caps key function

If you don’t find the Caps key on your Mac keyboard useful, you can change what it does. The staple way to do it is by using a keyboard remapping tool. On macOS Karabiner Elements is popular.

Karabiner Elements is a great app, but it’s complex and takes time to figure out. For a much simpler solution, you can use Shifted.

Change Caps key function with Shifted

Follow these steps to change what the Caps key does on macOS.

  1. Download and install Shifted (it’s free).
  2. Run the app.
  3. Click the app’s menu bar icon.
  4. Select what you want the caps key to do.
  5. Tap the caps key, and it will execute its new function.

Turning on Caps

Shifted won’t disable your Mac’s ability to turn on Caps. The method for turning it on is just different, and you can choose between two different ways to turn Caps on.

  1. Click the Shifted app icon in the menu bar.
  2. Select either or both the two options at the top to turn Caps on.

Double Shift for Caps lock: Caps lock will turn on when you tap the Shift key twice in quick succession.

Both Shifts for Caps lock: There are two Shift keys on a standard Mac/Apple keyboard. Tapping them both at the same time will turn Caps lock on.

Limitations of Shifted

Shifted has an obvious limitation; it only supports a few select functions, and they may not be what you’re looking for. The app is free, so if it’s not what you were looking for, there’s nothing lost.


In the event Shifted isn’t doing the job for you, check out Karabiner Elements. Take the time to set the Caps key to do what you want. You’ll find you can use it to open apps or execute complex keyboard shortcuts with a single keystroke.

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