I recently started using a Kinesis Advantage with my MacBook and one of the things I've really missed since switching from my Apple keyboard is having the functionality of the OS X media keys.

I know the Advantage keyboards are pretty customisable but having Googled for quite a while I haven't been able to find any sources saying that it's possible to map the function keys on the Advantage to the appropriate OS X function.

Has anyone had any success in getting something like this to work? Any tips would be hugely appreciated.


You can enable the keyboard’s “Multimedia Group feature” by holding = and tapping n. This will make the following key assignments:

  • F3 Previous track
  • F4 Play, Pause
  • F5 Next track
  • F9 Mute
  • F10 Volume down
  • F11 Volume up
  • Pause Stop

Refer to page 41 of the user’s manual for more information about this mode.

Also, if you want to customize some function keys to perform Dashboard, etc., you can do so by going to System Preferences→Mission Control (Exposé & Spaces on older OS X).

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  • Yes, the two options provided in the first answer are a combination of what I do. There may be a problem with F15 (Pause/Break) since you would need to press it repeatedly to raise/lower brightness or volume rather than just hold it down. But here's more info: Everything Kinesis Advantage – user126061 Apr 1 '12 at 23:45
  • While the manual seems to state that multimedia mode won’t work with OS X, and that additionally entering “Macintosh test mode” with =t would be required, this wasn’t necessary for me on OS X 10.10. – Andrew Marshall Feb 3 '15 at 0:51
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    "Please contact Apple to ask why Apple operating systems do not support these codes" can't say I like that answer to much... – Willem D'Haeseleer Sep 20 '15 at 3:00
  • Does anyone know how when multimedia keys turned on, to use F10 as F10 and not Volume down. What key would act as Fn in this case? – iLemming Nov 24 '15 at 22:29
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    If you want to turn this setting off, you need to tap =m. From the manual: "to turn off settings individually, hold = and tap the appropriate key. To turn of all settings in this group, activate one of the master settings (=m, =p, or =w)." – Kevin C. Sep 16 '16 at 19:40

I stumbled upon the solution for this while reading through the Kinesis manual, although it's not explicitly called out.

Hold down the equals key, =, on your keyboard and then press F10. Repeat this sequence with F11. For me at least, this made F10 work for volume down, and F11 work for volume up. I did the same thing with the scroll lock and pause break buttons to get the brightness controls to work.

This solution allows you to selectively enable media keys functions for only a subset of the function keys, leaving the other function keys unchanged.

NOTE: This has been tested on both the Kinesis Advantage USB and the USB (Linear feel) models.

Media keys are documented at http://www.kinesis-ergo.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/kinesis_advantage_user_manual.pdf page 41 (Appendix E.)

Though not documented in the manual, repeating the = with FXX keystroke causes the media key state to toggle.

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  • nice! the media keys did the trick for volume, but OS X won't recognize next or previous track, so I unbound those keys and used skip tunes to bind f3 and f5 to previous and next. – Michael Glass Feb 3 '14 at 22:31

I use a private.xml like this with KeyRemap4MacBook:

<?xml version="1.0"?>
    <device_only>DeviceVendor::KINESIS, DeviceProduct::ADVANTAGE</device_only>
    <autogen>__KeyToKey__ KeyCode::COMMAND_R, KeyCode::VK_MODIFIER_EXTRA1</autogen>
    <autogen>__KeyToKey__ KeyCode::KEY_1, ModifierFlag::EXTRA1, KeyCode::VK_CONSUMERKEY_BRIGHTNESS_DOWN</autogen>
    <autogen>__KeyToKey__ KeyCode::KEY_2, ModifierFlag::EXTRA1, KeyCode::VK_CONSUMERKEY_BRIGHTNESS_UP</autogen>
    <autogen>__KeyToKey__ KeyCode::KEY_6, ModifierFlag::EXTRA1, KeyCode::VK_CONSUMERKEY_MUSIC_PREV</autogen>
    <autogen>__KeyToKey__ KeyCode::KEY_7, ModifierFlag::EXTRA1, KeyCode::VK_CONSUMERKEY_MUSIC_PLAY</autogen>
    <autogen>__KeyToKey__ KeyCode::KEY_8, ModifierFlag::EXTRA1, KeyCode::VK_CONSUMERKEY_MUSIC_NEXT</autogen>
    <autogen>__KeyToKey__ KeyCode::KEY_9, ModifierFlag::EXTRA1, KeyCode::VK_CONSUMERKEY_VOLUME_DOWN, ModifierFlag::OPTION_L | ModifierFlag::SHIFT_L</autogen>
    <autogen>__KeyToKey__ KeyCode::KEY_0, ModifierFlag::EXTRA1, KeyCode::VK_CONSUMERKEY_VOLUME_UP, ModifierFlag::OPTION_L | ModifierFlag::SHIFT_L</autogen>

I didn't use the F-keys, because key repeat is disabled for them, and they are more difficult to press without looking at them.

You could also for example replace KeyCode::VK_MODIFIER_EXTRA1 with KeyCode::COMMAND_L, ModifierFlag::CONTROL_L | ModifierFlag::CONTROL_L | ModifierFlag::OPTION_L | ModifierFlag::SHIFT_L | ModifierFlag::COMMAND_L and VK_EXTRA1 with VK_CONTROL | VK_OPTION | VK_SHIFT | VK_COMMAND.

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Another, more general purpose workaround is to use Quicksilver to control iTunes playback. The iTunes plugin for Quicksilver can do everything the multimedia keys on a Mac do (Play/Pause, Skip Song, Previous Song, iTunes Volume Up and Down, etc), plus a bunch more.

The functions I use most, beside Play/Pause and Skip/Previous, are rating the current song and displaying the current song in a little popup bezel. Of course you can assign custom keys to all of these functions, which I find very useful with the non-standard layout of the Command, Alt/Option & Control keys on the Kinesis Advantage keyboard.

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You can give a try to Karabiner software. It gives fantastic flexibility for any keyboard as well as pedal mapping.

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