Function Keys On Mac Keyboard

Function Keys On Mac: If you’re sitting in front of your Mac and then take a look down at your keyboard. But it has all of the characters you expect from a keyboard. However, there are some keys along the top of the keyboard that are not familiar to you. These keys are called function keys and all have Fx has written on them. Where x x is replaced with a number, like F1, F2, F3, F4, F5, F6, F7, F8, F9, F10, F11, F12. So the question is what do the F keys on a Mac do?

Glancing at the F keys on a Mac keyboard, you’ll view an icon when you look above the function key number. That icon displays the key can do. While using 12 keys to select from, they can do quite a bit. Also, standard function keys can be used within various apps in different ways. So make sure to check the keyboard shortcut choice for your most favorite apps. Just to view if there are any that you should be making use of.

Here is a list of the functions available for all of the Mac function keys. They are all present and correct. However, if you’re using an Apple keyboard on almost any modern Mac, besides for Mac with a Touch Bar that uses a little screen instead of the F keys. Of course, some older Macs may have various functions assigned to the F keys too. So we’re supposing that you’re on modern hardware.

What the F Keys Do on Mac Keyboards

There are the primary defaults of what function keys do on an Apple keyboard when attached to a Mac:

  • F1: Low display brightness
  • F2: Increase display brightness
  • F3: Open Mission Control
  • F4: Open Launchpad
  • F5: Low keyboard brightness (On compatible notebooks only)
  • F6: Enhance keyboard brightness (On compatible notebooks only)
  • F7: Skip / Ignore back (Audio)
  • F8: Pause / Play (Audio)
  • F9: Skip forward (Audio)
  • F10: Mute
  • F11: Volume down
  • F12: Volume Up

All function keys will invoke its secondary function by default.

Using the Fx keys as standard function keys. Just press and hold the Fn button and then press the required function key.

While using a non-Apple keyboard that has no Fn key. Also, try pressing and holding the Control key instead.

Changing Function Key Behavior on Mac

You can also modify the default behavior of the function keys on Mac too, however. This can invert their function away from defaulting to things like brightness and also audio controls to standard F keys.

Step 1:

Firstly, open System Preferences from the Apple menu.

Step 2:

Tap “Keyboard” from system preferences.

Step 3:

Choose “Use F1, F2, etc. keys as standard function keys” to make the change.

If you make this change, just press down the “FN” key on the keyboard and then hit F1, F2, F3, etc keys to perform an action located on the keys icon. For example, changing brightness, or muting system volume. Some users on older Macs, in specific, prefer this, as we covered earlier some time ago.

Similarly, while using a MacBook Pro with a Touch Bar, just press and hold the Fn key to view the F1 through F12 keys. Also, click the screen to use them.

If the Mac has a Touch Bar but you would like to always view the function keys. However, you can disable the Touch Bar on MacBook Pro. So that the Touch Bar remains the same all of the time. Also, you can set it to either display an F key row or the actions row, whatever you want.

For new Mac users, you don’t know about some of the other amazing tricks you can do using the Fn key, like move “Home” and “End.”

If your keyboard can’t working properly you can then enable a software-based virtual keyboard, too. But sometimes cleaning the Mac keyboard can improve keypress problems.

Obviously, this is direct at Mac keyboards either from Apple or third parties. But if you’re using a third party PC keyboard and you have various sets of F keys. Then you can consult your keyboard’s manufacturer for more information about the function row.

There are lots of other keyboard shortcuts, like navigating text amongst many others that are well worth learning if you spend more time typing on a Mac as well. However, they’ll completely change your game whenever you master the ones that you use most.


Have you ever use the function keys often? Do you modify the behavior of any of the F keys for any other purpose? Let us know your experiences in the comment section below!

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