OS X 10.9 Mavericks TextExpander

As a huge TextExpander fan, and a person that relies on the app on a day to day basis, I freaked out a bit when I couldn’t get TextExpander working on my MacBook. Yes, I’m one of the very foolish ones who decided to put a beta OS on their main work computer, but that’s just how I roll.

At any rate, I needed to get this fixed ASAP, because it was hindering my ability to be productive. The problems stems from the fact that OSX 10.9 places the access to assistive devices option — an option absolutely necessary to run TextExpander — in a brand new location, under the guise of a new security setting.

So every time I received this error: “Please go to the “Universal Access” preference pane and enable access for assistive devices before using TextExpander!” TextExpander would point me to a section of the System Preferences that no longer exists.

How to fix? It’s actually quite easy to do, follow me inside…

Video walkthrough

To fix this error, all you need to do is the following:

Step 1: Open System Preferences

Step 2: Click Security & Privacy

Step 3: Click the Privacy Tab

Step 4: Click the Accessibility section

Step 5: Click the Lock button in the bottom left-hand corner and enter your administrator password if required

Step 6: Check the box next to TextExpander.app under the “Allow the apps below to control your computer.”

Step 7: Kill TextExpander, and relaunch — you should be able to use it like normal now

OS X 10.9 Mavericks TextExpander Security and Privacy

Yes, this issue will most certainly be fixed sometime soon, but for right now, TextExpander doesn’t have the links built in to support the new Accessibility location under Privacy.

Now you’ll be back to expanding text in no time. Hope this helps if you’ve faced this problem. Let me know in the comments if it does.

  • Marnix Robyns

    not owning a mac but enjoying your articles i don’t know what text expander is, i would have like a bit more information about its function

    • Bob

      Which makes you a total noob. How could you enjoy an article on something that has no relevance to you at all? You don’t even know what it’s about. You’re a potato.

      • Marnix Robyns

        that’s not how you make new friends, still i help allot of people with mac because i understand mac’s better than they do thanks to such articles, my interest had peeked (because i’m also going to buy a mac once maverick is out in fall); but the lack of information of one software (that’s not originally on mac) had me wondering and even tho i searched it on Google like a big boy i still think it would have been nice would it have been mentioned above.

      • iosPixel

        I’m with you. I use a mac maybe two or three times a month. I feel as clued up as the 365 mac users In my enterprise due to articles like this.

      • allan kluttz

        You still gain a lot more experience through using the devices. In other words, I used windows 8 recently and it felt very foreign. This was despite reading a couple of articles to briefly see if I would be interested. I still used windows 7 some when the PCs were only free at school. If you read so many macs articles, why don’t you get one? First, I used one at work, it was a mac mini. It was running a version of OSX that was outdated at the time.

        Later I got was a really old, cheap used one- on ebay. It costs me about 200 for that laptop. I wanted to be sure that I could take the plunge on the OS. When I later spent 2000 on one, I haven’t gone back. I’ve gotten a couple since. This was about 8 years ago.

      • Madlof Chev

        Calm down, you gigantic sperglord.

      • Homer

        Wow, what do you have stuck in your vagina? A cactus? You arrogant piece of smelly tard!

    • Homer

      Sorry about the rude dickmango. TextExpander is a program that lets you create so called ‘snippets’ of text, which, when you type, expand to some text you define. It’s easier to explain this with an example.

      Let’s say you have a long email address: marnixrobyns@somethingsomething.com and you find yourself typing this all the time by hand, in websites or other places. With TextExpander, you can create a snippet of your choice, say “myemail”, and define it to be your email address. So at any place if you type “myemail”, it will replace this with your email address. You can create any snippet you want for any length of pre-defined text. This is the basic working principle. You get much more fine tuning capability in the application.

      Hope this helps.

  • Rupinder S

    Love your articles, Jeff.

  • Looking to automate more than just text typing on your PC? Check out AutoHotkey, this here is a subpart of all the possibilities it opens…

  • Eric Mason

    Same works with getting PopClip to work again.

    • Wassim Omais

      Same with uTorrent.

  • Jamie Tilden

    Jeff, can you maybe do a video on how to downgrade back to OS X Mountain Lion? (if that’s even possible)

    • Damian W

      make a USB floppy with Mountain Lion and you are good to go to install a fresh OSX. Or create two partitions and install mountain lion on the new one. Then go to your newly intalled OSX on second partition and just erase the other partition with Mavericks.

      • allan kluttz

        I don’t think you have to go through all of that work with the two partitions…
        In the future when you try the beta OS, install it on another partition. If you do not have the space, then move some files to an external drive. Only install on another partition. You can set the OS to boot in start up. Or always hold the option during boot to choose it for that boot. Since this is a developer, non-disclosure agreement- in mavericks, it may have been updated to open GL 4.1 and CL to 1.2. This is much needed, as it would provide better security, performance and etc…, especially with gaming. Still, it could potentially cause problems until they are worked out. Additionally, other power saving features may cause instability while in beta. Still, most of the issues that you notice should be related to third party compatibility. Good luck!

  • cmmb

    How to make TextExpander work with OS X 10.9 Mavericks

  • Alf Nielsen

    awesome, saved my butt 😉

  • Danny Lam

    I got other apps that have the same issue as well. But even after i check the box and re launch the app, it still doesn’t work. And I have another app which is not even showed in the list. Any ideas?

    • allan kluttz

      You must manually add them to the list. Drag the application to it. Also, as stated this is a beta release. Expect portions of the changes to be the most buggy. If you are a registered developer, then report the error. It is very simple. Still, it can also be a third party issue.

      • Peter Trist

        just the act of trying to open an app that requires the ‘Universal Access’ pref setting(s) will add it to the prospective list (if it is well written / works on mLion).

        Found this a quicker way to add it than manually – however, you still need to manually enable it via the checkbox in Security & Privacy | Privacy | Accessibility.

      • This is actually a big deal—some apps I’ve encountered fail to register themselves into this list, like Steam. I didn’t realize I could manipulate the list by dragging the Steam.app into the window.


      • Sparker

        Hi! I’m struggling with this same issue. The Mac MAIL app doesn’t appear in the Security & Privacy “Privacy” list. I tried “dragging” the Mail icon from my Dock to the list but it won’t take. Any suggestions?

      • The same… It doesn’t appear… What did you do to fix it?

  • Benjie Moss

    Saved me so much time. Thanks

  • Narmal

    just perfect help. short, clear, simple. and textexpander works again on my mac

  • Thanks for the tutorial. I wouldn’t have thought to look in Security and Privacy but that makes sense. Mavericks is running great on my computer. It even makes my 2009 MBP feel zippier than before.

  • sparkstudio

    Thanks a lot Jeff. Being dependent on TE was just wondering where that setting went. You saved the day!

  • Annamarie Pluhar

    Thanks… answered the question for me!

  • Cícero Rolim

    Thanks a lot for your help! Now Text Expander is working fine! 😀

  • hfvd

    Fantastic, thanks!

  • Josephine Mbire

    this was very helpful. thanks a lot 🙂

  • Rossouw van Aarde

    Thanks a lot, this was very helpful indeed. I’ve been so frustrated without TextExpander for the last couple of days.

  • Aris_B

    thank you it worked

  • Michael Green

    Whew! Thanks. Easy.

  • Julia van der Wyk

    Oh boy, thank you! I was about to turn inside out but now that I have my textexpander all is well. 🙂

  • Oh my gosh thank you so much! I upgraded to Mavericks yesterday and have been freaking out today without my TextExpander!

  • Gregor Hakkenberg

    Thanks man, you’re a life saver!

  • st

    Thank you!!!

  • Rich Pinoy Online

    Man, thanks a gazillion!

  • Lifesaver!

  • zoe_whip

    OMG! Thank you!

  • FreeWilly


  • Peter Whitley

    Thank you! Crisis averted.

  • German Hernandez

    works! 😀 thks

  • Karmark

    Thank you – this was something that I was really happy to see!

  • Florian Schaulin

    Perfect solution, tnx a lot! I already got mad without my beloved Textexpander 🙂

  • billwilkinson

    thank you! I was going nuts trying to figure this out; never would have on my own

  • Sparker

    HI Jeff. Just found your post. I’m struggling with this same issue. The Mac MAIL app doesn’t appear in the Security & Privacy “Privacy” list. I tried “dragging” the Mail icon from my Dock to the list but it won’t take. Any suggestions?

  • Sparker

    Another issue. I can’t get formatted text and hyperlinks to appear when I use a properly-formatted TextExpander snippet in a Mail message. I’ve tested it in Word and it works fine. What am I missing? Thanks much for your help!

  • Thanks! This was driving me Krazy with a K! Love finding a direct answer online 🙂

  • Taavi


  • Awesome…you solved it for me in 3 seconds..thanks!

  • Danilo Salguero

    thanks bro.