How to Reverse Function Keys (F1, F2, etc) on MacOS Sonoma
Some Mac users have noticed that after updating to macOS Sonoma, or various macOS Sonoma updates, their function keys are reversed. A common example of this is that when you tap on the F1 or F2 key to adjust the display brightness, nothing happens. Or you may press F10, F11, or F12 to adjust audio levels on the Mac, and either nothing happens, or Expose activates rather than sound volume adjusting.
We’ll show you how you can reverse the function keys on macOS Sonoma, where the setting for this has been moved and buried, like many other things in System Settings.
How to Reverse Function Keys (F1, F2, F3, etc) on MacOS Sonoma & Ventura
- From the Apple menu go to “System Settings”
- Select “Keyboard” from the list of settings
- Click on the “Keyboard Shortcuts” button
- Select “Function Keys” from the new list of sidebar settings options
- Toggle “Use F1, F2, etc keys as standard function keys” to the ON or OFF position, depending on your preference
Toggling this setting will reverse whatever the current behavior is for the F1, F2, F3, etc keys.
If you toggle the setting for this ON, the brightness, volume, etc keys will not function unless you hold down the FN key at the same time.
If you toggle the setting for this OFF, the F1, F2, F3 keys will function as F keys and the brightness and volume buttons will not work unless you hold down the FN key at the same time.
Some users have noticed this setting has seemingly changed itself on its own, or after updating to macOS Sonoma, or performing a point release update in Sonoma, so if your F1, F2, F3, etc keys are not behaving as expected, that may be why.
The setting for “Use F1, F2, etc keys as standard function keys” used to be an obvious place right out in the open in the Keyboard preference panel, but with the bizarre rearranging of preferences that is the macOS System Settings experience, it has been buried deep into a place where almost nobody will look. This is another example of why using the Search function in System Settings is one of the most efficient ways of finding a Mac setting, since many of them have been moved to inexplicable places within System Settings, after Apple chose to abandon the easy to use System Preferences approach.