After using the wireless keyboard that comes with the iMac, I have switched to a MS Ergo Natural 4000 one. Surprisingly I had to install extra software as OS X could not work out which keyboard I had.

After which I went into sys prefs and set the main input method to be "British - Microsoft" first and "Swiss German" second (what the wireless keyboard is), on the "input sources" tab:

enter image description here

However... OS X keeps resetting my input method back to Swiss German which is driving me bananas.

I have the flag thingy top right so I can see when this changes.

N.B. I have "input source options" set to "use the same one in all documents" which I am assuming means keep the language the same for anything running.

It also flips back on the login page.

Does anyone know how to fix this?

  • Have also just noticed that for some applications, it is not even possible to select "British - Microsoft" e.g. Preview, QuickTimeplayer. Other applications like firefox and itunes work fine (although they do still keep switching back to swiss german) – adolf garlic Jan 22 '10 at 9:31

If the system is switching language without you asking to do so, it means that the current input source somehow becomes unavailable. This can happen if you are using a custom input source (put under ~/Library/Keyboard Layouts) and then lock your screen. The lock screen is owned by the system and thus does not have access to your custom layouts, only the system-wide ones. The current source being unavailable, it will automatically revert to another one.

To resolve this issue, ensure that your custom keyboard layout is put under /Library and not /Users/You/Libary. After moving the file, remove the input source from the list, reboot and then put it back again.

  • Thanks for this! I had my layouts in ~/Library and my app-store-installed apps couldn't see them and I had no idea why. – Daniel J. Pritchett Nov 12 '13 at 17:46
  • Thanks this worked great. This has been such a huge annoyance! It always happened when a Authorize prompt opened up and after log out. – jmagnusson Dec 31 '14 at 11:03
  • This works, thank you very much for this! Put the .layout file to "/Library/Keyboard Layouts" and then do a full OS reboot. – György Balássy Feb 21 '19 at 9:20
  • Thank you so much! This should be the accepted answer for sure. – ruohola Mar 4 '19 at 17:22
  • This doesn’t work as of 10.15, as soon as I open the AppStore, it switches back to default. – a.s.t.r.o Jul 21 '20 at 19:21

One possibility that I had in a similar case is that you are hitting the keyboard shortcut to switch input sources.

In Snow Leopard preferences, the default to select the previous input source is Command-Space. In your screen capture of the Language & Text preferences you can see that this shortcut is active (the other shortcut, to select the next input source, is inactive in that screen capture):

Input source shortcut

It's a bit odd that Command-Space is used, as that is also used for Spotlight. But if a shortcut is assigned multiple times, then Snow Leopard would show a warning, which your screen capture does not show. So, Command-Space won't activate Spotlight on your Mac:

Input source shortcut with warning

From Apple support: Command-Space: Show or hide the Spotlight search field (if multiple languages are installed, may rotate through enabled script systems)

  • My 10.6 has a disabled (default) of Command-Space (rather than Option-Space) for "Select the previous input source". I don't know why it's that, because Command-Space has been Spotlight for ages. I also don't know what disabled it. But: maybe some installations still have that Command-Space shortcut assigned twice? That would show a warning in the keyboard preferences though. – Arjan Jan 24 '10 at 13:07
  • When I switch to an app that does not support the "British - Microsoft" setting i.e. automatically assumes "Swiss German", it appears to switch it for ALL applications. I don't understand why not all applications support 'another' language and I also don't understand why this forces the other applications to pick up the change. – adolf garlic Jan 29 '10 at 9:09
  • It is a global setting for the keyboard and thus for all apps. – mmmmmm Feb 2 '10 at 1:24
  • Sorry it is not - each app remembers what was used last - see mac.finerthingsin.com/2010/01/18/… – mmmmmm Feb 9 '10 at 1:41
  • Actually it appears to have both. Single global setting and setting per app. The problem lies in the fact that once you set it to a language which is not supported by all apps, then it will switch to the other one. It sucks, seriously. – adolf garlic Feb 14 '10 at 19:26

The MS layout for the keyboard on OSX sucks

Use this layout instead http://liyang.hu/osx-british.xhtml

Seems to work

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