Apple keyboard: where is the Mac Option key?

Where is the Option key on the Apple Mac, how do you find it on the MacBook and on the Windows keyboard? These questions are likely to concern you when in a manual or advisory from the Mac Option key, Apple Option key or from a key combination with Shift-Control-Option the speech is. Here you can find out what the ominous key is.

The Mac option key is on the Apple keyboard between the ctrl and cmd keys. It is the alt or option key. Option key MacBook
The Mac option key is on the Apple keyboard between the ctrl and cmd keys. It is the alt or option key.

Option key on Mac: Alt, Option, or ⌥

If you are looking for the Apple Option key on the Mac keyboard or the MacBook Option key, you will find it between the CTRL key and the CMD key, which can also have the character ⌘. If you use a keyboard that is designed for Windows PCs, you will usually find the Alt key between the Windows symbol and the space.

The MacBook Pro Option Key (2012 model)
The MacBook Pro Option Key (2012 model)

Here is an overview of the features of the Mac Option key:

  • It's the Alt key (old)
  • Older keyboards or MacBook models have the symbol Zeichen underneath, newer ones have “option” underneath
  • The position: to the left of the cmd or command key

What is this button good for?

The Alt, Option, or Option key is used in various keyboard shortcuts of Mac OS X, macOS, im Finder as well as in individual other programs. Here is a small selection of possible uses of the key:

  • When editing text (Pages, Word, in Photoshop's text field) to use the left and right arrow keys to skip words
  • In the Finder, press and hold and click Go to find the Library folder
  • Selecting and moving files while holding down the Alt key ensures copying instead of moving
  • Various combinations with Shift-Control-Option in third-party programs (e.g. in Affinity Photo)
  • In Apple Photos, the Option key doubles the maximum value of the slider: Instructions here!
  • Boot into the recovery or recovery partition: To do this, hold down “Command – Option and R” (label: cmd – alt – R) when restarting.
Example of a Shift-Control-Option key combination in Affinity Photo
Example of a Shift-Control-Option key combination in Affinity Photo

Image source Mac keyboard: Apple

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4 Responses to “Apple Keyboard: Where is the Mac Option key?”

  1. With me it's the other way around than with you Jens. I have connected an Apple keyboard to my Win10 PC via USB. It works great with the MS driver of the previously connected MS keyboard. I have a little program on the Internet ( found, which is still loaded when booting and does a few key reassignments. In the meantime I've got used to the somewhat different key labeling. The old MS keyboard served as a template. Overall, this step only brought me advantages than:
    Excellent design, much less space required, everything works like the MS keyboard (function keys, number pad, etc.) etc.

    1. Hello Horst! An interesting solution. It has not occurred to me yet that Mac keyboards might also fit Windows sockets. : D Nice that it works and thanks for the link to the program! VG! Jens

  2. was really helpful, thanks. I'm not that familiar with my Mac yet that I would know where special characters and faster entries are hidden.

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In the Sir Apfelot Blog you will find advice, instructions and reviews on Apple products such as the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, AirPods, iMac, Mac Pro, Mac Mini and Mac Studio.