I just bought an iMac with a bluetooth keyboard. The F keys were brilliantly working to control the volume, but then I exchanged it for a wired keyboard to save batteries. Now my F keys have their old functions, and they don't adjust volume, toggle Spaces, etc.

The problem is not fixed by System Preferences → Keyboard → Toggle switch.

Any ideas?

  • What's toggle switch? Use F1, F2, etc. keys as standard function keys?
    – Lri
    Aug 5 '11 at 13:16
  • Great news! I have one of the brand new SteelSeries Apex pro keyboards (the "first adjustable keystroke" keyboards) .. apart from being an astounding keyboard, yes, the novelty scroll wheel at the top right DOES adjust the master volume of the macbook. Dunno how they did it but it works.
    – Fattie
    Oct 21 '19 at 18:38
  • 1
    Had the same problem and I solved it via karabiner. Works with macOs Catalina.
    – heinzbeinz
    Apr 20 '20 at 16:42

For the Mac Googlers out there with PC keyboards, I highly recommend the free app Spark for controlling volume via shortcuts. I currently use Cmd + Alt + Q/W/E to control Down/Up/Mute on my keyboard.

  • I use ... volume-down: Cmd + [ ... volume-up: Cmd + ] ... volume-mute: Cmd + \ ... same in windows for my mechanical keyboard (winkey)
    – Tracker1
    Mar 6 '18 at 6:07
  • Link seems dead :(
    – alex
    Mar 6 '18 at 16:41
  • Link still works for me. Mar 6 '18 at 19:28
  • Link works, but I don't see anyway to download it now and it says the app has been discontinued.
    – travisw
    May 11 '18 at 13:27
  • Can somebody tell me how to use it?
    – bard
    Dec 11 '20 at 9:37

My best understanding so far is that there is no way to replicate the system-wide volume behavior of the built-in function keys using the keyboard properties window. I think you must have a mac keyboard or one designed to be used with a Mac.

If you're willing to use a third-party app to get the effect you want, then try the one suggested above.

  • Chris, you're right, I've never found a way to adjust the master volume externally. But now I did! Surprisingly the brand-new apex pro keyboard, I had it plugged in for a week and thought "I wonder what spinning the wheel here does" - happily it DOES adjust the true master volume on the macbook. Hooray!
    – Fattie
    Oct 21 '19 at 18:39
  • You correctly get the on-screen graphic and everything. Absolutely no software installs. Hooray!
    – Fattie
    Oct 21 '19 at 18:41

Keyboard Maestro did the trick for me. Just add a global hotkey and search for volume under actions. Super simple. I mapped my volume to command-shift-up/down. Seems to be working without conflict as far as I can tell.

  • thank you so much
    – whitesiroi
    Jun 18 '20 at 3:49

You can configure all of these things in System Preferences. For things like Spaces and Exposé, I believe the settings are under System Preferences → Keyboard → Keyboard Shortcuts → Exposé & Spaces if you are on Leopard or Snow Leopard. On Lion they are in System Preferences → Mission Control.

For things like adjusting volume, there are likely already shortcuts in iTunes (e.g. ⌘↑ and ⌘↓ for volume). You can also add custom Keyboard Shortcuts for any menu item in any application (or in all applications). Go to System Preferences → Keyboard → Keyboard Shortcuts → Application Shortcuts. Add a new shortcut, choose iTunes.app for the Application, enter the exact Menu Title (e.g. "Increase Volume"), and enter the shortcut you'd like.

  • 2
    Question is about global shortcuts and your answer is works only from itunes or music app.
    – Sabrina
    Jul 29 '20 at 13:03

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