What Do F1, F2, F3, Through F12 Keys Do on Mac Keyboards?

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If you’re in front of your Mac now, look at your keyboard. Sure, it has all the characters you’d expect from a keyboard, but there are some keys at the top of the keyboard that may not be familiar to you. These are called function keys and all have Fx written on them, with xx replaced by a number, such as F1, F2, F3, F4, F5, F6, F7, F8, F9, F10, F11, F12. So what do the F keys do on a Mac?

If you look at the F keys on a Mac keyboard, if you look above the function key number, you will see an icon, and that icon indicates what else the key can do. And with 12 keys to choose from, they can do quite a bit. Plus, standard function keys can be used in different ways in different apps, so be sure to check the keyboard shortcut options for your favorite apps to see if there are any you should be using.

Below is a list of the functions available for all Mac function keys. All of them should be present and correct if you use an Apple keyboard on almost any modern Mac, except any Mac with a Touch Bar that uses a small screen instead of the F keys. Of course, some much older Macs may have other functions assigned to the F keys as well, so we’ll assume you’re using modern hardware.

What the F keys do on Mac keyboards

These are the main default settings of what function keys do on an Apple keyboard when connected to a Mac:

  • F1 – Decrease screen brightness
  • F2 – Increase screen brightness
  • F3 – Open Mission Control
  • F4 – Open Launchpad
  • F5 – Decrease keyboard brightness (only on compatible notebooks)
  • F6 – Increase keyboard brightness (only on compatible notebooks)
  • F7 – Jump back (audio)
  • F8 – Pause / play (audio)
  • F9 – Jump forward (audio)
  • F10 – Mute
  • F11 – Volume down
  • F12 – Part Up

By default, pressing a function key activates its secondary function.

To use the Fx keys as standard function keys, hold down the Fn button then press the desired function key.

If you are using a non-Apple keyboard that doesn’t have an Fn key, you can try holding down the Control key.

How to Change Function Key Behavior on Mac

However, you can also change the default behavior of the function keys on Mac. This basically reverses their function from standard to things like brightness and audio controls to standard F keys.

  1. Open System Preferences from the  Apple menu
  2. Click on “Keyboard” in the system preferences
  3. Select “Use F1, F2, etc. Keys as Default Function Keys” to make the change.

Click

When making this change, you must press and hold the “FN” key on the keyboard and then press the F1, F2, F3, etc. Keys to perform the action indicated on the key icon (for example, change the brightness, or muting the system volume). Some users on older Macs especially prefer this, as we discussed a while ago.

Likewise, if you’re using a MacBook Pro with a Touch Bar, press and hold the Fn key to see the F1 through F12 keys, then tap the screen to use them.

If the Mac has a Touch Bar but you always want to see the function keys, you can even turn off the Touch Bar on MacBook Pro so that the Touch Bar always stays the same, you can set it to be an F-key row or the action row, whatever you like want.

If you are new to the Mac, you may not know about the other cool stuff tricks you can do with the Fn key like move “Home”and end.”

If your keyboard isn’t working properly, you can also enable a software-based virtual keyboard, but often cleaning the Mac keyboard can improve keystroke problems.

This is clearly aimed at Apple or third-party Mac keyboards, but if you’re using a third-party PC keyboard and you have a different set of F keys (or none at all), you can check with your keyboard manufacturer for more information. information about the job row.

There are a ton of other keyboard shortcuts like navigating text and many others that are worth learning if you also spend a lot of time typing on a Mac. They will completely change your game once you master the one you use the most.

Do you often use the function keys? Have you changed the behavior of any of the F keys for a different purpose? Let us know your experiences and thoughts in the comments.

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