I connect to my server from Terminal in Mac OS X 10.5. When I run Midnight Commander there I cannot use function keys like F10 to close MC even I cannot use mouse to control MC. Any idea why function keys don't work ?

  • migrate to serverfault.com? – KevinDTimm Oct 15 '10 at 18:23
  • Have you tried Function-F10? By default I believe the F-keys are mapped to the functions. – 8BitsOfGeek Oct 15 '10 at 18:55
  • Please accept an answer if it satisfies your question, otherwise please follow up with additional requirements/comments. – Daniel Beck Oct 22 '10 at 20:51

Don't know why the Fx keys don't work, but you can press Esc, then 0 to simulate F10. Also works with 1-9 for F1-F9.

  • 2
    That's solve the same problem even though I'm not in OsX. – JuanZe Sep 27 '11 at 13:31

Function keys are used to control both software and hardware functions as well as Dashboard and Expose in Mac OS X. If you have a Macbook Pro, F1 and F2 control screen lighting, F10 mutes the speakers, etc.

Check the Keyboard preference pane in System Preferences.app:

  1. Is the checkbox "Use all F1, F2, etc. keys as standard function keys" on the "Keyboard tab" checked? If it's not, you need to press Fn+F10 for Mac OS to register a F10 key press. Otherwise, you're just toggling mute speakers (or whatever you have on F10).

  2. Check the second tab, "Keyboard Shortcuts", especially "Dashboard & Dock", and "Exposé & Spaces", if F10 is used for one of these functions. If it is, the key press is intercepted before Terminal receives it.

This answer was written for Mac OS X 10.6, I don't know if those dialogs were changed. If step 2 above does not work, check the Dashboard/Expose/Spaces preference pane in System Preferences, the same settings should be available there.


To send F1-F12 keys to an ncurses program running in Terminal.app press fn+command+F1…F12. This works for me on a MacBook Air with OS X 10.9.


This problem occurs because of ansi terminfo.
You can change declaration to xterm in Terminal Preferences Advanced Tab and fn keys will work.

  • Go to 'System Preferences...' select 'Expose & Spaces' Preference Pane.
  • Click on the Expos Tab.
  • Change the All Windows Setting to for instance F11
  • Change Application Windows Setting to for instance F12
  • Change Show Desktop Setting to for instance F13
  • Close System Preferences App

And your Terminal is able to respond to the Function Keys correctly and you're able to quit Midnight Commander.

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