23

When using an external keyboard, how can use a function key as a function key (e.g. F10) instead of Mac custom control button (e.g. mute)? The built-in keyboard contains an fn button, but I cannot find it in the external one.

1
  • When you say external, do you mean 3rd party? I'm confused because the recent Apple keyboards, even the small ones, come with a Fn key.
    – emgee
    Sep 18 '09 at 5:33
23

The only way is to disable system-wide (that includes the notebook's keyboard) the custom control keys, and tell OS X that you just want to use it as normal F1-F12/F16 keys.

Go to System Preferences > Keyboard. Check the box that says "Use all F1, F2, etc. keys as standard function keys"

Screenshot of Keyboard Preferences in MacOS Catalina on a MacBook with a Touch Bar

If you are using a Mac keyboard, there should be a Fn key. On the latest Mac wired slim aluminium keyboard, it is around the home, page up, page down area. On the wireless slim keyboard, it is to the bottom left.

5
  • When taking a screenshot of a single window in OS X, pressing command shift 4 space will allow you to capture the single window with it's drop shadow, without any other apps in the background.
    – Josh Hunt
    Sep 18 '09 at 8:42
  • @joshhunt nice screenshot :)
    – alex
    Sep 18 '09 at 8:43
  • I am happy to report that you can safely enable this on the new 2016 macbook pros, and it works just fine for an external keyboard and leaves the touchbar intact!
    – chrismarx
    Jan 5 '17 at 15:30
  • On my mac it doesn't show the option "Use all F1, F2, ect. keys as standard...." Jul 2 '20 at 13:44
  • Unfortunately, this does not work on a Cherry KC 6000 Slim for Mac.
    – Bernhard
    Jul 29 at 12:10
22

Silly me. The fn button is below F13.

9

You can do that with Karabiner-Elements:

It allows you to configure the Fn keys per device. In this case, I set it to use the default keys when on the external keyboard:

enter image description here

2
  • 3
    Thanks, that totally worked for me using a windows keyboard on the mac. Not only i now can use the function keys for media controls as default osx does, but i also remapped all special keys like CTRL/ALT/WINDOWS key to match the layout of a mac keyboard. Great! Note: If you also use a "windows" mouse and need different scrolling directions for the mouse and your trackpad, check out "Scroll Reverser"
    – choise
    Apr 11 '18 at 12:00
  • I use Spark and it helped me to remap some shortcuts in my Windows PC Keyboard to control some basic functions like the volume commands. A Con, the app was not maintained in a long period of time. Latest version 3.1b2 (470) can be found at shadowlab.org Dec 11 '19 at 22:30
2

Interestingly for me Scroll lock (F14) worked as brightness down and Pause Break (F15) as brightness up on a USB PC keyboard.

1
  • Welcome to Superuser, your answer doesn't sound like a good answer, you have not shown enough concern to compose it properly. Just refer this link, superuser.com/help/how-to-answer. Jun 1 '18 at 17:52
1

Also, you could try something like this utility.

1

If you are running Windows 7 under Boot Camp you can change in the Boot Camp control panel in your windows session. enter image description here

1

If you're using an external keyboard for a mac, check the external keyboard for a f-key lock button. On my logitech it is on the escape key.

(I just spent half an hour figuring it out!)

0

I'm using Corsair K95 RGB USB keyboard, I too was figuring out how to use the brightness control on my Mac and then when I used the F14 and F15 keys, it all surprisingly worked out.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.