The Touch Bar in the new Macbook Pro line has been getting mixed reviews. Users think it is frivolous and not really a new, innovative feature. The Touch Bar’s true usefulness hasn’t be realized just yet but one thing is clear; the Esc key is gone. In order to accommodate the Touch Bar, Apple removed the Escape key from the physical keyboard. The Touch Bar now has a virtual Esc key but if you aren’t warming up to it, you can simply map the Caps lock to the Esc key. Here’s how.
The ability to natively map the Caps lock key to the Esc key was added in macOS 10.12.1. It’s only available on the most recent version of the OS. It’s highly likely Apple added it to pacify Macbook Pro users who weren’t happy with the physical Esc key being removed.
To map the Caps lock to the Ssc key, make sure you are running macOS 10.12.1. Open System Preferences and click the ‘Keyboard’ preference. On the ‘General’ tab, click the ‘Modifier Keys’ button at the bottom. You will see a list of all modifier keys listed next to a drop-down.
Open the drop-down menu next to the Caps lock key and select ‘Escape’ from the list of keys. Click Ok and your Caps lock key will now function as the Escape key.
If you do not see the ‘Escape’ option, it means you aren’t running the correct version of macOS. If you’re running the correct version of the OS, you will see this option regardless if your Macbook Pro has the Touch Bar or not.
You can map other modifier keys to function as the Esc key but the option to map the Caps lock key to the Esc key makes more sense since you need the other modifier keys to execute important keyboard shortcuts. Most users, by habit, hold down Shift when they need to enter an uppercase letter so the Caps key’s functionality won’t be missed too much. Lastly, it’s also located roughly where the Esc key was so you will grow used to it sooner.