79: Keyboard clicks

Few things in the Apple universe provoke such strong reactions as clicky keyboards, both physical and virtual. Some people demand silence, while others want their clicks to be as loud and satisfying as possible. I vacillate: I've used an Apple Extended Keyboard II this decade, but I've turned off the keyboard clicks in iOS.

Or I had, until I installed the iOS 10 public beta, which restored the default setting, turning them back on. Those with an ear for detail also noticed that the click sound has changed. It's softer, more of a pop than a click, and this too has its supporters and detractors. I like it a little better — it's more subtle and refined — but that's not the reason I decided to leave the sounds on.

I have keyboard clicks enabled on my phone now as a sort of early warning system. There are vanishingly few times when my phone should not be set to silent, especially while I'm at work. The worst way to discover that the mute switch got flipped is by accidentally blasting some silly video from your Twitter feed in the middle of a quiet office. Leaving keyboard clicks on lowers that chance. The instant I hear keyboard feedback, I know to enter silent mode. But the soft pock pock pock sound of the keys, especially just for a few seconds, won't cause anyone around me offense.

 I have to draw the line somewhere.

I have to draw the line somewhere.

I employ a similar strategy on the Mac, although it allows me to be even quieter. By default, Mac OS plays sounds when changing the volume using the media keys. This can be temporarily disabled by holding the shift key, or the behavior can be reversed in System Preferences. This lets me quickly tap the mute button to check my current volume without creating any sound. And when I put on headphones and want to do a practical volume check — because three clicks on my Sennheiser headphones is several times louder than three clicks on EarPods — I simply hold shift to get the necessary feedback.

Perhaps my stance on keyboard clicks will just be temporary, and they'll begin to drive me insane. Or who knows, maybe with the new sound I'll come to actively like them. Even then, I would try to keep them confined to my headphones; the goal is still to keep my devices' sounds from bothering those around me.