How to use the function keys on your Mac

You can use the top row of keys on your Apple keyboard as controls for built-in Mac features or as standard function keys.

Control features on your Mac

By default, the top row of keys on your Apple keyboard control many different features on your Mac. For example, pressing the keys with speaker icons adjusts the volume.

illustrated diagram of MacBook Air function keys

If your Mac has a Touch Bar, find out more about using function keys on MacBook Pro with Touch Bar.


Use standard function keys

Standard function keys work differently depending on the app and the keyboard shortcuts that you've set up. Some apps have their own keyboard shortcut preferences that you can customise.

To use the standard function keys, hold the Function (Fn)/Globe key  when pressing a function key. For example, pressing both Fn and F12 (speaker icon) performs the action assigned to the F12 key instead of raising the volume of your speakers. 

If your keyboard doesn’t have an Fn key, try pressing and holding the Control key when pressing a function key.


Change the default function key behaviour

If you want to change the top row of keys to work as standard function keys without holding the Fn key, follow these steps:

  1. Choose Apple menu  > System Preferences.
  2. Click Keyboard.
  3. Select "Use F1, F2, etc. keys as standard function keys". 


If you can't see "Use F1, F2, etc. keys as standard function keys"

If you can't see "Use F1, F2, etc. keys as standard function keys", you may be using a keyboard that's not made by Apple. These keyboards may need a utility to change the keyboard functions. Check with your keyboard manufacturer for more information.


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