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.

The top row of keys on an Apple Magic Keyboard, showing the function keys.

If your Mac doesn't have physical function keys, learn 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 customize.

To use the standard function keys, hold the Fn (Function) 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 behavior

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 don't see 'Use F1, F2, etc. keys as standard function keys'

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

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