Mac Help Desk
Quick fixes for common Mac problems

How to backspace on Mac

Editing text is one of the most common and fundamental uses for a Mac. And one of the most common operations in editing text is deleting characters. Yet, ask most Mac users where the key that is used for that operation is on a Mac — the backspace key — and you’ll get a blank look. In this article, we’ll show you how to backspace on Mac.

What is the backspace key?

The backspace key is commonly known on the Mac as the delete key. That can create some confusion because on Windows, delete does something different. Also, some third-party Mac keyboards that have a number pad have a separate delete key, which is the same as the delete key on Windows. 

The backspace key gets its name from typewriters, where it pushes the carriage one position to the left. On computers, it does the same thing with the cursor, pushing it one character to the left, deleting whatever was in that position, and pulling all the text in front of it back one character.

How to backspace on Mac

To backspace on Mac, just press the key to the right of the ‘+’ symbol. The one you know as delete. 

What’s the difference between backspace and delete?

Delete, in its true sense, does the opposite of backspace. It keeps the cursor in the same position and pulls the text to the right of it back towards it, deleting the character to the right of it each time you press it. You can delete in this way on a Mac either by using the ‘Delete’ key on a keyboard that has a number pad or by pressing ‘fn’ at the bottom left of the keyboard when you press backspace.

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