Jul 15, 2014

What is the “Apple key” on a Mac keyboard?

I’m sure this is sounds silly to Mac users, but I grew up with C64s and DOS before moving onto Windows and I don’t have a lot of experience with Macs. Sometime when I’m reading something about Macs they refer to the “Apple key.” Well, I’ve looked at the keyboard and I don’t see a key with an Apple on it anywhere. Does this mean the key with the squarish curly-que on it?

Command key

"The Command key (⌘), also historically known as the Apple key, open-Apple key, pretzel key, squiggly button, or meta key, is a modifier key present on Apple Keyboards. The Command key's purpose is to allow the user to enter keyboard shortcut commands to GUI applications. An "extended" Macintosh keyboard—the most common type—has two command keys, one on each side of the space bar; some compact keyboards have one only on the left.

The “⌘” symbol (the “Looped square”) was chosen after Steve Jobs decided that the use of the Apple logo in the menu system (where the keyboard shortcuts are displayed) would be an over-use of the logo. Apple's adaptation of the symbol—encoded in Unicode (and HTML) at U+2318 ⌘ (HTML: ⌘)—was derived in part from its use in Scandinavian countries to denote places of interest. The symbol is known by various other names, including “Saint John's Arms” and “Bowen knot”."

On newer Macs, the Apple silhouette has been replaced by a different symbol that looks like a cloverleaf intersection. The correct term for it either way is the “command key.” Be careful not to say “Apple key” around some people, or you will get a lecture on correct terminology. 

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