How to Disable Keyboard Backlighting on MacBook Pro or Air

Jan 20, 2019 - 11 Comments

MacBook keyboard backlighting

Keyboard backlighting is one of the best keyboard features on Mac laptops, illuminating the keyboard to help you see the keys better in low light situations. And let’s face it, it also just plain looks cool too. Most MacBook Pro, MacBook, and MacBook Air users like the keyboard backlighting feature, but there are some users who might not, and there also some scenarios where some Mac laptop users may wish to completely disable the keyboard backlighting feature.

This article will show you how to completely disable the keyboard backlighting on Mac laptops should you want to do so.

How to Disable Keyboard Backlighting on Mac Laptops

Here’s how you can turn off keyboard backlighting on MacBook Pro, Air, and MacBook:

  1. Go to the  Apple menu and to “System Preferences” then select the ‘Keyboard’ preference panel
  2. Under the ‘Keyboard’ section uncheck the box for “Adjust keyboard brightness in low light”
  3. Now press the “F5” key repeatedly (or fn + F5, or find the keyboard backlight button on Touch Bar) until the key backlighting is off

That’s it, keyboard backlighting will now be off. This is visibly obvious, so give the keys a look or take them into dim or dark lighting to confirm.

It’s important to turn off the “Adjust keyboard brightness in low light” setting first, otherwise you’ll find the keyboard backlighting sometimes turns itself back on again depending on what the ambient lighting situation is.

To disable keyboard backlighting on MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, you will need to locate the keyboard backlighting button on Touch Bar to disable the backlighting from there.

How to turn off keyboard backlighting MacBook Pro with Touch Bar

Just tap the button repeatedly to turn backlighting off on MacBook Pro with Touch Bar.

How to Enable Keyboard Backlighting on Mac Laptops

If you want to reverse this change and re-enable keyboard backlighting on the Mac laptop series:

  1. Go to the  Apple menu then to “System Preferences” and choose the ‘Keyboard’ preferences
  2. Under the ‘Keyboard’ section check to enable “Adjust keyboard brightness in low light”
  3. Press “F6” key repeatedly (or fn + F6, or find the keyboard backlight button on Touch Bar) until keyboard backlighting is back on and at the brightness setting you desire

If you’re trying to turn keyboard backlighting on again but see a keyboard lighting locked logo on the screen, it’s probably because the light sensor is being activated by a bright light in the room or from elsewhere. Nonetheless if you’re convinced there’s another issue, follow this troubleshooting guide if keyboard backlighting is not working on a MacBook and you’ll probably be able to fix it pretty quickly.

For Touch Bar MacBook Pro models, to enable keyboard backlighting again find the backlighting buttons on Touch Bar and tap the brighten button repeatedly to enable backlighting and to increase the brightness of keyboard to suit your preferences.

Keyboard backlighting buttons MacBook Pro with Touch Bar

This applies to the backlit keyboards on MacBook, MacBook Pro, and MacBook Air, as the Apple desktop keyboards don’t have keyboard backlighting.

If you know of another method to disable keyboard backlighting on Mac laptop, share with us in the comments below!


Related articles:

Posted by: Paul Horowitz in Mac OS, Tips & Tricks


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  1. Tim says:

    This solution may not work UNLESS you set the following first:
    Apple Logo>System Preferences>Keyboard>Touch Bar shows>Extended Control Strip

    If you have something else set, the keyboard brightness controls may not show. After you’ve set the keyboard level, you can reset the Touch Bar shows setting to its previous value.

  2. Nik says:

    Thanks! Worked perfect. 2019 MacBook Air.

  3. Adebola says:

    My MacBook Pro 2019, keyboard light not coming up, no adjust keyboard lightning on the system preference menu, I tried Touch Bar too nothing worked. Please do you guys know any other ways for me to turn it ON?

    Thank you very much.

  4. Ponta says:

    Absolutely does not work with Macbook Pro with touch bar.

    • Paul says:

      Yes it does, you can dim keyboard backlighting or turn it off on all Macbook Pros with the Touch Bar by finding the keyboard backlight button on Touch Bar, and pressing it until the backlighting is off or to the setting you want.

      Or you can go into System Prefs and turn it off there.

      The Touch Bar backlighting itself is turned off automatically after 60 seconds or so of not being in use

  5. Mac Owner says:

    Doesn’t work. Outdated information.

    • Ys says:

      This works great thanks for showing me how to disable the keyboard backlighting on my Mac laptop, did it now with a MacBook Air in day light

  6. Robby says:

    I must’ve pressed F5 a million times and the light stayed on.

  7. Elizabeth T says:

    thank you for this article :) <33

  8. Geoff says:

    You might want to title the second part of the keyboard back light tip “How to enable…” as opposed to “How to disable…”.

    Regards, Geoff

  9. A says:

    What an enthralling article!

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