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Located at the top of your Mac keyboard is a collection of keys that feature an F followed by a number, 1-12. These keys, known as Mac function keys, enable you to change certain settings and reach Mac features quickly, with the press of a couple keys.

If you're the owner of a Mac, it's time to learn what each of these keys can do.

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Why Use Mac Function Keys?

If you've ever used a keyboard shortcut, you know how simple and fast it is. The time it takes to move your hand to your mouse or track pad and navigate to the action you wish to take is cut short thanks to the shortcut. The function keys work the same exact way, saving you time as you work, surf the internet, or game.

Some apps allow you to customize the function keys to fit your preferences. You can also change your function keys to match your own shortcuts by remapping them. If there's an action you take often using your Mac, the functions key can help.

The Function of Each F Key

Mac Function Keys
F1 Reduce the screen's brightness
F2 Increase the screen's brightness
F3 Activates Expose view, which shows you every app that's running
F4 Showcases your apps or opens the dashboard for access to widgets
F5 For back lit keyboards, F5 decreases the keyboard's brightness
F6 For back lit keyboards, F6 increases the keyboard's brightness
F7 Restarts a music track or jumps to the previous track
F8 Plays or pauses a music track or other content
F9 Skip a music track or fast forward
F10 Mute
F11 Reduces volume
F12 Increases volume

How to Use the Mac Function Keys

By default, the function keys are ready to use without any other keystrokes. Simply press the key to activate the function you need to perform. The function will automatically activate. However, if you wish to change this, you can use System Preferences to enable standard function keys.

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  • On your Mac, click Launchpad - System Preferences.


  • From there, click Keyboard, then click Use F1, F2, etc. keys as standard function keys.


  • Now, you'll need to press the Fn key in the lower left corner of your keyboard plus the corresponding function key to complete an action.