Keyboard shortcut for changing keyboard layout does not work on lock and login screen

Bug #1244548 reported by kolen on 2013-10-25
This bug affects 180 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
GNOME Keyring
GNOME Screensaver
gnome-screensaver (Ubuntu)

Bug Description

Shortcut for changing keyboard layout does not work on lock screen (to change keyboard layout for entering password).

- Switch to some non-english layout (otherwise lock screen will not have layout indicator at all)
- Lock the screen
- Press your shortcut for changing keyboard layout (i.e. ctrl+shift) -- it will not change layout
- Clicking layout indicator near password entry box works
For other layout switching problems introduced in Ubuntu 13.10 you can see bug 1218322.

ProblemType: Bug
DistroRelease: Ubuntu 13.10
Package: gnome-screensaver 3.6.1-0ubuntu6
ProcVersionSignature: Ubuntu 3.11.0-13.20-generic 3.11.6
Uname: Linux 3.11.0-13-generic x86_64
ApportVersion: 2.12.5-0ubuntu2.1
Architecture: amd64
Date: Fri Oct 25 11:01:10 2013
GnomeSessionIdleInhibited: No
GnomeSessionInhibitors: None
 org.gnome.desktop.session idle-delay uint32 300
 org.gnome.desktop.session session-name 'ubuntu'
InstallationDate: Installed on 2013-10-23 (1 days ago)
InstallationMedia: Ubuntu 13.10 "Saucy Salamander" - Release amd64 (20131016.1)
MarkForUpload: True
SourcePackage: gnome-screensaver
UpgradeStatus: No upgrade log present (probably fresh install)

kolen (incredible-angst) wrote :
Launchpad Janitor (janitor) wrote :

Status changed to 'Confirmed' because the bug affects multiple users.

Changed in gnome-screensaver (Ubuntu):
status: New → Confirmed

I can confirm this bug with latest proposed packages (not from ppa:attente/1218322).

tags: removed: amd64
Egmont Koblinger (egmont-gmail) wrote :

Confirmed. Moreover:
- I can't see any rationale behind not showing the switcher if it's at English. Definitely looks like buggy behavior rather than good design, leaving the user clueless why it's sometimes shown and sometimes not. For starter, I'd like to see confirmation that the layout is English. And maybe I prefer to type my password in the other layout.
- The indicator looks like a text label. Nothing indicates that it's clickable. It should look like a button, or dropdown, or such.
- Similarly, it can't be activated from the keyboard (Tab to move focus there, Enter/Space to toggle).

Norbert (nrbrtx) wrote :

I reported separate bug for Super+Space and Shift+Super+Space (default Saucy shortcuts) - "Super+Space and Shift+Super+Space hotkeys for keyboard layout switching do not work in gnome-screensaver in Saucy"

Andrey T (tandrey-office) wrote :

I confirm this bug, Saucy 13.10, latest PPA-proposed. Cannot switch layouts using Alt-Shift R shortcut in the screensaver unlock dialog.

Norbert (nrbrtx) on 2013-10-29
description: updated
Changed in gnome-screensaver (Ubuntu):
importance: Undecided → Medium
Cyberangel (tomas8769) wrote :

Confirmed, the same issure occurs on my Ubuntu 13.10.
Cannot toggle language with ctrl+shift on the login screen, when the system is locked. Have to change language with the mouse click. Switching languages is disabled(not visible) if English layout was set before locking the screen

Norbert (nrbrtx) on 2013-10-31
tags: added: keyboard-layout-switching-hotkeys

Confirmed. Same thing after an update from Ubuntu 13.04 to 13.10.

Layout indicator is always present for me on screensaver, but hotkeys (Alt+Shift) to change layout won't work. Have to click on the indicator next to password field in order to change layout.

Norbert (nrbrtx) wrote :

I have to machines with Ubuntu 12.04.3.
On PC in /etc/default/keyboard I have
And in Keyboard Layout Options of 'gnome-control-center keyboard' I have the same options - Alt+Shift and Scroll Lock LED as an indicator.
Keyboard layout switching works on this PC - I can change layout with Alt+Shift in gnome-screensaver.

On my laptop (Ubuntu 12.04 clean install) I have Ctrl+Shift set in only Keyboard Layout Options of 'gnome-control-center keyboard' . And keyboard layout switching works on this laptop I can change layout with Ctrl+Shift in gnome-screensaver.

So gnome-screensaver in Ubuntu 13.10 must respect layout switching settings of current user (which were set in gnome-control-center keyboard).

Alexey Taraskin (aataraskin) wrote :

Confirmed. Same thing after an update from Ubuntu 13.04 to 13.10.

Layout indicator is always present for me on screensaver, but hotkeys (Alt+Crtl) to change layout won't work. Have to click on the indicator next to password field in order to change layout.

In Unity (regular work) switching layouts works fine.

James Hewitt (jammy) wrote :

I just tried this on my 13.10 install, the hotkey to switch didn't work, but more than that, the lock screen listed 3 different layouts and none of them seemed to be the layout I wanted. In my account, I only have 2 layouts.

Confirmed. After upgrading to 13.10, keyboard layout hot keys doesn't work.
So, I have to kill gnome-screensaverin order to bypass the lock.

Confirmed - using gnome-control-center (1:3.6.3-0ubuntu45.2), gnome-settings-daemon (3.8.5-0ubuntu11.2), Alt + Shift L not working on the Lock Screen.

Norbert (nrbrtx) wrote :

@itsadok (itsadok)
Yes, bug 1226969 is already marked as duplicate of this bug (see in the right, or use search in your borwser - Ctrl+F). Thank you!

Stan (sergienko-stanislav) wrote :

Confirmed. After clean install 13.10.

kirschjoghurt (daniel-bavrin) wrote :

confirmed on 13.10


bug exists on 14.04 too

Confirmed for 14.04.

gnome-screensaver (3.6.1-0ubuntu11) - now couldn't change the keyboard layout even by clicking on the language indicator when the PC is locked

Why importance only medium?

Simos Xenitellis  (simosx) wrote :

@minniegaliev-r: It comes out as obnoxious to post a comment like "Why importance only medium?".
It should have been a complete statement as in:

"I think the importance for this report should be raised to High. The reason is that if you get locked out in the screensaver while your current keyboard layout is not English, then you are stuck badly. If you do not have a mouse to click-switch to English, you have no other option than to hard-reboot your computer ;-'( This is a big issue."

Vitaliy (tsvitaliy) on 2014-03-29
Changed in gnome-screensaver (Ubuntu):
assignee: nobody → Vitaliy (tsvitaliy)
Norbert (nrbrtx) wrote :

I made a clean install of Ubuntu 14.04 beta2 ( 4cf9e5ef2c1c362317c90312c76cfda0 *ubuntu-14.04-beta2-desktop-i386.iso).
The bus is still here.

Please fix it before final Ubuntu 14.04 release.

Aboozar Ghafari (a6oozar) wrote :

Confirmed for 14.04.

mdyn (tamerlaha-gmail) wrote :

ctrl+space doesn't work in 13.10 too.

Shahar Or (mightyiam) wrote :

Seems to be fixed. Please confirm.

Shahar Or (mightyiam) wrote :

In 14.04, that is.

I confirm, bug fixed in package indicator-keyboard

yotaqa (kolyayakovlev27) wrote :

14.04 confirmed. After update from 12.04

Yes, fixed in gnome-screensaver (3.6.1-0ubuntu13) and indicator-keyboard (0.0.0+14.04.20140410.1-0ubuntu1).

Ohad Lutzky (lutzky) wrote :

Still occurs here on fresh ubuntu 14.04, gnome-screensaver (3.6.1-0ubuntu13) and indicator-keyboard (0.0.0+14.04.20140410.1-0ubuntu1. FWIW, this occurs in lightdm as well.

Masoud Abkenar (mabkenar) wrote :

Fixed on the lock screen (yay!), but not fixed on the login screen.

Norbert (nrbrtx) wrote :

Ubuntu 14.04 with all updates - bug is fixed on lock screen.

Norbert (nrbrtx) wrote :

Upgraded my 12.04 to 14.04. I have gnome-screensaver installed, so if I lock my laptop with Ctrl+Alt+L I unable to switch keyboard layout on the lockscreen. So the bug is not fixed.

Standard new install of 14.04, bug on lockscreen is still there. Clicking on the language button works, but the keyboard shortcut doesn't.

vi@tor (z-box) wrote :

Just performed an upgrade from 13.10 to 14.04. Bug on lockscreen is still there. Mouse switch works as expected, keyboard shortcut not.

Eyal Itskovits (itskov) wrote :

Confirmed for 14.04.

Persia-ali (parseh-ali88) wrote :

I have the same problem for 14.04.

kolen (incredible-angst) wrote :

Keyboard switching in Ubuntu desktop is handled by media-keys plugin of unity-settings-daemon. Maybe this plugin does not work on lock screen at all (maybe it is bound to user session, not lock/login screen)?

Michael Soluyanov (crantisz) wrote :

Confirmed for Ubuntu Gnome 14.04.

Zero (zeugentor) wrote :

I confirm this very annoying bug in Ubuntu Unity 14.04 LTS. It is becoming a key feature the last 2 releases.

Zero (zeugentor) wrote :

It's true for lock and login screens for fresh setup Ubuntu Unity 14.04 LTS

summary: - Keyboard shortcut for changing keyboard layout does not work on lock
- screen
+ Keyboard shortcut for changing keyboard layout does not work on lock and
+ login screen

I think this came up especially because the old language-agnostic ways of changing layouts is no longer available. I used to use Shift+CapsLock, which would be recognized in any layout. Unfortunately that is no longer possible. Now I use Ctrl-` (which is something different in the main other layout I am using!). But the lock-screen for a particular user should use that user's keyboard shortcuts for things like changing keyboard layout.
I would love to be able to use Alt+Alt or Shift+CapsLock or even just CapsLock to change layouts..!

Berenyi Peter (berenyi-peter) wrote :

I think it is a variation of this bug, what I'm experiencing, that the keyboard layout changes on the lockscreen. I'm using Hungarian keyboard layout (qwertz) and on the lockscreen it sometimes changes to qwerty layout. First I thought it changes to US English thus I have removed the secondary US layout, but it is still happening.

Vadim Andryuschenko (gvaduha) wrote :

Confirm for 14.04, BUT I've tried to press Ctrl-Shift (my switch key sequence) several times and it works. It's unpredictable how many times you should press key sequence to switch; seems like it depends on some internal state of lock manager.

@50 That is very strange, because Ctrl-Shift is no longer possible as a key sequence since 13.10 onwards...

vak (khamenya) wrote :

i have different shortcuts on my desktop and laptop and for both it is like Vadim says in #50
That is, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

Yonatan Amir (yonatan-amir) wrote :

Using CapsLock as the shortcut on 14.04, pressing in while in the lock screen behaves as if it is not defined (classic behaviour).

Norbert (nrbrtx) wrote :

Ubuntu Utopic 14.10 final - unable to use keyboard switching hotkey (Ctrl+Shift) on lock screen (gnome-screensaver) in GNOME Fallback session.

Norbert (nrbrtx) wrote :

In comment 56 I mean both GNOME Fallback sessions - Compiz and Metacity.

Mathew Hodson (mhodson) on 2015-01-14
tags: added: amd64
Norbert (nrbrtx) on 2015-01-17
tags: removed: amd64
Norbert (nrbrtx) wrote :

Bug exists in Ubuntu 15.04 alpha2, GNOME Fallback sessions - Compiz and Metacity.

tags: added: vivid

After more than a year, may I suggest the right way of handling this?
The lockscreen password dialogue should default to the keyboard that the current user uses for normal login, ie, the standard layout. Because that is what that user normally would get for login, and it will work as always, as expected. This should be an easy fix, and the only correct way of handling it

Norbert (nrbrtx) wrote :

Bug exists in Ubuntu 15.04 alpha2 with all updates, GNOME Fallback sessions - Compiz and Metacity.

Norbert (nrbrtx) wrote :

Bug exists in Ubuntu 15.04 beta2 with all updates, GNOME Fallback sessions - Compiz and Metacity.

Norbert (nrbrtx) wrote :

Bug exists in Ubuntu 15.04 final with all updates, GNOME Fallback sessions - Compiz and Metacity.

Norbert (nrbrtx) wrote :

Bug exists in Ubuntu 15.10 alpha with all updates, GNOME Fallback sessions - Compiz and Metacity.

tags: added: wily


The current popup shows:
   Information: Username, Current keyboard layout (also a button)
   Buttons: Switch user, Unlock

When you click on Switch user, you end up at the correct behaviour: the keyboard is switched back to the default layout, the same layout that the user used to login, and it does offer the option to switch user (the standard login screen).

Proposed fix: go straight to the login screen (it fixes the layout, and it doesn't require extra clicking when a alternate keyboard layout happened to be active, and in case it is desirable to switch the user, it is immediately possible)

As a bonus, you're using a well tested and beautifully designed screen, and you're skipping an unnecessary widget.

ihoru (ihor-polyakov) wrote :

I have the same problem.
Ubuntu 14.10
gnome-screensaver 3.6.1

Mathew Hodson (mhodson) on 2015-09-16
Changed in gnome-screensaver (Ubuntu):
assignee: Vitaliy (tsvitaliy) → nobody
Norbert (nrbrtx) wrote :

Bug exists in Ubuntu 15.10 beta2.

Norbert (nrbrtx) wrote :

Bug exists in Ubuntu 15.10 final.

Alex_ander (ks-alexandr) wrote :

the problem is confirmed for Ubuntu 16.04 test version with the latest updates

Norbert (nrbrtx) on 2016-02-19
tags: added: xenial

Again, the fix is easy: always change the layout back to default when locking the screen, or before presenting the login applet. The initial login also has the default layout, the changed layout is not relevant for logging back in. As a additional service to the user, you could switch the layout back to what it was before locking the screen.

mori (mortezasamadi1371) wrote :

still happens in ubuntu 16.04 LTS 32 bit

uwe (maabdulhaq) wrote :

Issue is persistent in 16.04, this is very annoying, and #69; that is not a fix, the language button in the login dialogue is misleading and broken, and the screen is usually locked due to inactivity which happens most of the time not for intentional screen lock.

I thought its bug 1286910 , but I'm using gnome shell and getting issues unlocking the screen, i can (supposedly) switch language from the unlock screen dialogue, but it actually does not change the language, I'm using arabic as the second input language, and even when I set the language to english in that dialogue, It seems to input arabic characters (try to use b or B or T; corresponding to two characters ﻻ, ﻵ and ﻹ . and will show two dots(that is, two characters); I use it as indicator for what language is being input.

ozma (ozma) wrote :

same in ubuntu 16.04 LTS 64 bit (agree with #71 it is a real problem)

Eugene (chobit) wrote :

+1 16.04.1 LTS 64 bit
Alt+Shift on ubuntu locked login screen make it blinking when trying to switch language!
And show for a second !desktop! which should be LOCKED!!!

Semenov Pasha (sempasha) wrote :

+1 16.04.1 LTS 64 bit

Same as @chobit said.

lendis (zakirovr90) wrote :

Confirm! In 16.04 it gets more annoying. Anybody can a see user's desktop for second if just try to switch language!

Marcho Markov (marcho) wrote :

Another Confirm! This is annoying. Ubuntu 16.04. No language switch. User desktop blinks into full view for a fraction of a second with anything running on it.

Roman Shiryaev (shiryaev) wrote :

I connfirm this too on 16.04.1 and this is LTS! Damn it...

Valentas (vk-registrator) wrote :

I did not have this problem 14.04 LTS, but I do have it after upgrade to 16.04 LTS.

starky (mstarky) wrote :

+1 16.04.1 LTS 64 bit
same as #78

Stefan Pavlov (pavlov80) wrote :

I'm glad I'm not the only one with this problem.
I have same results as #76
And when I click and change the language with the mouse and log in, then I can't click on windows where I want to. All is messed up.

atimonin (atimonin) wrote :


Stefan Pavlov (pavlov80) wrote :

This is fixed for me on Ubuntu 16.04.
I do not have this bug anymore.

Nikolay (lobsterr) wrote :

I still experience this issue on the Ubuntu 16.04.

Eugene (kevg) wrote :

I have this bug on Ubuntu 16.10. Please, fix.

seeavosh (seeavosh) wrote :

Shortcut for changing keyboard layout does not work on lock screen
if it does not work i have to install other Linux and I do not want it
please fix this issue faster. Thank you

Tumbler (zimbler) wrote :

Still a bug (16.04)

alan (alankazbekov) wrote :

There is a strange thing (worked as workaround for me):
My key combination is Shift + Alt. I'm going to System Settings->Keyboard->Shortcuts, then going to "Typing" section. Click on "Switch to next source". And then, if I push and hold Shift first, then Alt - my combination is <Shift + Mod2 + Meta L>. But if I push and hold Alt, then Shift - combination is <Alt + Mod2 + Shift L>.
And finally: <Alt + Mod2 + Shift L> works perfectly while <Shift + Mod2 + Meta L> doesn't work.

mori (mortezasamadi1371) wrote :

This worked for me (I'm going to type exactly what i did and this is easiest method i could explain -don't ask why :| ):
1. Click on "Text Entry Settings..." under EN language icon (or whatever else if it's not your chosen language)
2. in 'Switch to next source using' >> PRESS "Shift R" then PRESS "Alt + Shift R" >> text inside this section should be "Shift+Level3 Shift" !
3. in 'Switch to previous source using' >> PRESS "Alt + Shift R" >> text inside this section should be "Alt + Shift R".
This is weird but worked for me. I tried it on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS.

Ira Abramov (seefood) wrote :

I don't see it needed for the login screen and it's not working for the gnome-screensaver unlock screen.

Using Ubuntu 17.04 here, but I have seen the same on LTS 16.04 and 14.04.
I know it's specific to gnome-screensaver since this is not happening in a Unity session, only Gnome.

Whether the indicator on the right of the password box says en or he (in my case, Hebrew) the language is always the last language that was selected at the time the screen locked. no alt-shift keyboard combos nor clicking on the indicator helps (the indicator changes, but the keyboard doesn't. in Hebrew it's clear to see, I have the cursor aligned to the right). the only solution if my screen accidentally locks on Hebrew is to ctrl-alt-F1, login and kill gnome-screensaver, switch back to X (only now the screen blanks after 10 seconds of inactivity until I run the gnome-screensaver again).

In short, as much as I love gnome, I'm forced to tweak Unity to be more usable because of this little annoyance, and Unity will soon be taken out of Ubuntu. isn't this about time it got fixed?

Artem V L (artvl) wrote :

Keyboard layout changing shortcuts does not work for me on Ubuntu 16.04.2 LTS x64 with the latest updates when the screen is locked from the Unity session (anyway it is done by the gnome-screensav).
I have installed Caffeine app, but it seems it has not changed any screensaver parameters. And after Caffeine killing the issue is not fixed.

Ivan Omelchenko (furioness) wrote :

For me it's affecting with first run of keyring after system loading - I'm starting chrome browser and it's asking for keyring pass and in this moment I can't switch layout by my bind Alt + Shift L.
After first run, layout switching for keyring works normal.
Ubuntu 16.04

Andrey Sidorov (andrey-desman) wrote :

Ubuntu 18.04. Clicking layout indicator doesn't help any more...

Sergey Elizov (elizov) wrote :

In my case changing doesn't work when both combinations use same keys, like [Ctrl+Shift L] and [Shift+Ctrl L]

This works for me:
Switch to next source = Ctrl+Shift L
Switch to previous source = Ctrl+Shift R

Ubuntu 16.04.5 LTS

VahidD (vdaneshmand) wrote :

Same problem on Ubuntu 18.04. Clicking on the layout indicator doesn't work either.

Kir Kolyshkin (kolyshkin) wrote :

Same problem with Ubuntu 19.10 (gnome-screensaver 3.6.1). Clicking on layout indicator visually changes the layout, but the password is still not being accepted so I suspect it does nothing.

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