On a Mac, there are special keys to adjust the brightness, show Mission Control, go to the previous/next song, and adjust the volume.

In the System Preferences, there is the ability to set the function keys to standard F1, F2, F3, etc... keys. However, I'd like to do the exact opposite because I'm not using an Apple keyboard: I want to set F1 and F2 to adjust the display brightness, F3 and F4 for Mission Control and Launchpad, and the F7 to F12 keys to adjust volume and media.

Is there a way to do this, either natively through the OS or through a 3rd-party program?

  • Don't see anything in there that's related.
    – Daniel T.
    Jul 31, 2012 at 7:14
  • Perhaps under keyboard preferences then. I'm a bit far away from my Mac now to check Jul 31, 2012 at 12:53

3 Answers 3


I found KeyRemap4MacBook which works quite well.

A powerful and stable keyboard customizer for OS X.

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Among its many features, it allows you to map the standard function keys to act like the special Apple keys instead. Works pretty well for me.


BetterTouchTool has also got keyboard customization features!

I was actually looking for the same kind of thing when I realized that BetterTouchTool -an app that I'm already using for my Magic Mouse- offers system global keyboard shortcuts that works perfect with non-Apple keyboards. You can also customize your trackpad, Magic mouse, Apple remotes and other computer mouses to basically do whatever you want it to do!


I am using an ANSI USB keyboard on my macbook pro OSX 10.6.8 (Yeah, I know it'd old but it still works great). In system preferences/keyboard/shortcuts/display you notice that F14& F15 are the shortcuts for screen bright or dim. These correspond to the SCROLL LOCK and PAUSE/BREAK keys on my keyboard. They are directly above the home & pageup keys. The volume keys on my ANSI keyboard work with the macbook pro. Not sure what to do for launchpad or mission control.

  • Have you tried this on El Capitan yet? I can't find the fn keymapping in my keyboard preferences for the life of me Aug 29, 2016 at 20:43

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