How to change the keyboard language on a Mac

Asya Karapetyan
Content marketer, who specializes in Mac how-to guides
May 17, 2023
minutes to read

One of the first questions new Mac users ask is how to switch the language on a Mac keyboard. This article explains how to change system language, keyboard language, and how to create a language shortcut on your Mac.

change language keyborad mac


  1. How to change the language on a Mac
  2. How to add a language to a keyboard
  3. How to switch the keyboard language on a Mac
  4. How to change an app’s language on a Mac

Tip 1 – Get rid of unneeded language files

Mac computers support over a hundred different languages. You can change the language of your system and add languages to your keyboard. Most third-party applications have localizations to different languages, and you can change the language of various separate apps.

Having a huge number of possible interface languages is great; however, these files take up space on your Mac. Most likely, you will need only one or two languages – there’s no need for twenty. You can safely remove all unneeded language files with MacCleaner Pro. Thanks to its free trial, you can try it right now.


MacCleaner Pro

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First, we would like to clarify that users can mean completely different types of tasks when asking how to switch a language on a Mac. You have two options:

  • Change the language directly in the interface of macOS.
  • Change the keyboard layout without changing the macOS interface language.

We will provide the guides for both cases.

Read also:What are language resources?”

How to change the language on a Mac

When you set up your Mac for the first time, you choose the region and language for your system. However, you may need to change the interface language. To do so, follow these steps:

  1. Open System Preferences.
  2. Go to the Language & Region section.
  3. Click the Plus (+) icon under Preferred Languages.
  4. Choose the language and click Add. System Preferences showing Language and region settings
  5. Choose the language and click Add. Adding preferred languages on a Mac
  6. Confirm if you would like the selected language to be your primary language. Note that you can add as many languages as you wish. However, the primary language for your system will be the one that goes first in the list of Preferred languages. You can drag and change the order of the languages here. System Preferences showing the list of preferred languages

  7. You will need to restart your Mac to implement the language switch. Click to close System Preferences and, in the window that appears, choose Restart Now. popup showing a restart mac button to change the language

Once your Mac restarts, you will see that the interface is in a new language.

Note, that on macOS Ventura, Language & Region settings are located in the General section of System Settings. chnaging language on macos

Despite language preferences, you can control region preferences like the formats of dates, time, calendar, and currencies. If you want to change this, select another region in the same window and restart your Mac.

How to add a language to a keyboard on a Mac

Adding and changing a language to your Mac keyboard doesn’t change the language used on your interface or applications. It allows you to type in any language you want. You can add as many languages as you wish.

Steps to add a language to a keyboard on a Mac:

  1. Open System Preferences.
  2. Go to the Keyboard section.
  3. Choose the Input Sources tab.
  4. Click the Plus (+) icon. System Preferences showing how to add a language to a Mac keyboard
  5. Select a language and click Add. selecting languages for a Mac keyboard
  6. Close System Preferences.

Now you can change the keyboard language on your Mac with a shortcut or from the menu bar.

How to switch keyboard language on a Mac

Another question that new Mac users have is how to change the keyboard language. On a Windows-based computer, you need to press the Alt+Shift or Ctrl+Shift shortcuts. But none of these options work for a Mac.

How to switch the keyboard language with a shortcut

The default shortcut to change the language on a Mac keyboard is Control+Space. Depending on the version of your computer, on some Macs, you may need to press Cmd+Space. However, you can change this shortcut. Follow these steps to find out how:

  1. Open System Preferences and go to the Keyboard section.
  2. Click on the Shortcuts tab.
  3. In the sidebar, click Input Sources.
  4. Click the shortcut you want to change and press those new keys.
changing the shortcut to change keyboard language If you want to restore the default shortcut, press the appropriate button in this window.

Another way to change the keyboard language is from the menu bar.

  1. Click the language icon in the toolbar.
  2. Select the language you need.
languages in the Mac menu bar

If you don’t see the language icon in the menu bar, enable the visual image. To do this, open System Preferences → Go to the Keyboard section → Input Sources → tick the box “Show input menu in menu bar.”

switch on showing input menu in menu bar

How to change the language of a Mac application

Besides changing the interface language and keyboard language, you can change the language for specific apps on your Mac. Follow the steps below to check and change the language for third-party apps on macOS Monterey or earlier versions:

  1. Open System Preferences and go to the Language & Region section.
  2. Open the Apps tab.
  3. Click the Plus (+) icon and add an application.
  4. Select the language for the app and close System Preferences.
changing a language for Mac applications If your application is open, you will need to restart it to implement the changes.

If you have macOS Ventura, follow these steps to change the language of applications:

  1. Open System Settings.
  2. Click General in the sidebar.
  3. Select Language & Region.
  4. Scroll down and find the Applications section.
  5. Click the plus (+) button and add the application.
  6. Change the language for the selected application.
Changing language fror an app

How to remove language resources on a Mac

Language Resources are special localization files of applications that allow you to change the program’s interface language. Popular and world-known applications are usually available in many languages. However, if your native language is, for example, English, you don’t need all the additional localizations, especially considering that the language files take up space on your disk. Fortunately, with MacCleaner Pro you can safely remove unnecessary localizations.

Steps to remove unnecessary language files on a Mac.

  1. Download and launch MacCleaner Pro.
  2. Go to the Clean up Mac section and switch to the Expert mode.
  3. Click Language Resources.
  4. Select all unnecessary language files.
  5. Click Remove and confirm the action.
MacCleaner Pro showing how to remove language resources

Note that with MacCleaner Pro, you can delete other junk files like caches, installation files, mail attachments, downloads, and more. It is an all-in-one software solution to clean up and speed up your Mac. It also allows the removal of applications with their service files, finding and removing duplicate files and folders, clearing RAM, analyzing disk space usage, detecting memory-consuming applications, and more. MacCleaner Pro provides a free trial with unlimited features. Click the button below to clean out all the junk on your Mac.

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