A friend owns a MacBook (13-inch Late 2007), somehow he's managed to screw up all the function keys.

I've managed to reset the ones for dashboard, expose, etc but the play/pause/fast forward/rewind/increase volume/decrease volume don't work.

Any ideas as to what's happened here and how to fix it?


3 Answers 3


There's a couple of things:

  1. Apple Menu -> System Preferences -> Keyboard
  2. Untick "Use All F1, F2, etc keys as standard keys"
  3. Click "Keyboard Shortcuts"
  4. Click "Restore Defaults"

That should fix the problem.


Some people suggest powering off the MBP, or resetting the SMC completely. Here's a forum thread which describes a similar situation.

Here's how to reset the SMC on most recent Apple Portables.

The SMC is responsible for some system IO functions, such as the trackpad, as well as power management functions. It's entirely possible that your keyboard isn't behaving because of this SMC.

Also, does this behavior occur under a new user account? If it does not, I would be inclined to trash any files from the first user's library related to keyboard - or simply migrate to the new user account, whichever is easier.

  • restoring defaults just mucks it up even more. dashboard is activated by the play button, etc. However I went in and changed what I could manually, all I'm left with now to fix are the play/pause, rewind, fast-forward, mute, decrease volume and increase volume.
    – cust0s
    Aug 28, 2009 at 10:07
  • Updated with some more information Aug 28, 2009 at 16:35
  • 1
    Out of curiousity, what was the actual solution (since there were a few things to try in my post) - was it resetting the SMC? Aug 31, 2009 at 20:29
  • @EvilChookie, for me #2 was the big game changer. Thanks! Sep 9, 2011 at 19:27
  • None of these worked for me. The behavior also happens with multiple user accounts on the same machine. May 5, 2022 at 20:01

Go to System Preferences and click Keyboard. There is an option to switch the behavior.

enter image description here


You can use the utility FunctionFlip to change the keys from Fn keys to special features. Maybe that can help fix the problem.

  • EvilChookie's answer above is the most likely. :-)
    – hanleyp
    Aug 28, 2009 at 1:45

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