Switch Mac Function Keys to Work as Standard Function Keys
I’ve always preferred the way the original MacBook and MacBook Pro’s handled the function keys, in particularly the way F9, F10, and F11 are used to enter into Expose and Mission Control.
For a while now the function keys have changed, they default to playing music, adjusting keyboard backlighting, and adjusting volume levels, I like these features but I would rather press the ‘fn’ key to access those since I have grown used to the older way of hitting F10 to enter Expose.
Thankfully this is easily adjustable in Mac OS X, and you can switch Mac function keys to work as standard function keys if you’d like too.
How to Switch all function keys on Mac with System Preferences
If you want to switch the functionality of your Mac’s function keys so that you have to hold down the ‘fn’ function key to use the special features printed on each key, and retain the original Expose functionality of the F9 through F11 keys, do the following:
- Launch System Preferences from the Apple menu
- Click on the “Keyboard” icon
- Click on the checkbox next to “Use all F1, F2, etc, keys as standard function keys”
While this enables things like Expose and Dashboard to launch as they did on the older keyboards, it disables all the other function keys unless you hold down the ‘fn’ key.
Switch only some function keys with FunctionFlip
If you want to just disable or switch the functionality of certain Function keys, you can use a utility called FunctionFlip.
* Download FunctionFlip from here
* Install FunctionFlip, it is a preference pane and will appear in System Preferences
* Enter System Preferences
* Click on ‘Accessibility’ or “Universal Access”
* Click on “Enable access for assistive devices”
* Now enter the FunctionFlip control panel
* Select which Function keys you want to ‘flip’ the functionality of. In my case I set F9/F10/F11/F12
* Close System Preferences
Now the keys you selected will work as normal function keys and you will have to hold down the function key to do what is specified on the keyboard.
Functionflip seems to work great but there’s a strange bug that causes the system beep notification to sound when you use the flipped keys, it’s nothing to be worried about just know that’s what the system beeps are caused by when you hit a function key.
Enjoy your function keys as best suits your Mac workflow!