14 Fixes Function Keys Not Working on Mac (macOS Ventura)

Last Updated on Nov 10, 2022

If your function keys on Mac/Macbook Pro with touch bar or Apple Magic keyboard aren’t working, here are some practical solutions to fix it. 

But before that, let’s understand what are and why function keys are not working on Mac. The Function keys on the Mac offer a quicker and easier way to get access to the hardware features of Mac. For example, pressing the Fn/Globe + F keys or only F Keys( topmost row on Mac Keyboard) on the Apple keyboard allows you to change the Brightness, Volume Up & Down & Mute, Voice Dictation, Do Not Disturb, Play/Pause, Mission Control, Spotlight Search, and more… Fn + Q Not Working for mac for Quick Notes.

Although being habitual to such keys is fun when the Function key is not working or becomes unresponsive on Mac, it is frustrating too. And this is what most users are going through, so let’s fix it if you are one such user. 

Tips: Quickly Open Launchpad on Mac

Fn – Function Keys Not Working Normally

Follow this guide if the function doesn’t allow you to change the keyboard/screen brightness and the volume on Mac. 

Solution #1. Clean Keys With Air Compression

Dust or food can get stuck underneath keys on your Apple wired or wireless Keyboard, which results in keys not working on your Mac. As of now, it’s only limited to a couple of keys; that’s why it is worth considering it for function keys not working on Mac. 

Undoubtedly, it’s tough to know under which Key, billowing out a few blasts of compressed air, is the best option. But, if you have yet to get a better chance to clean, it’s great to go with.  

Hold the Keyboard in the slop position and begin blowing the air in a zig-zag manner. Repeat this mechanism until you get satisfied. And if the issue is still on hold, start with the following troubleshooting steps,

Solution #2. Remember To Press Fn

Pre-defined the Function Key on the Mac computer is ethered for the unique feature(Brightness, Volume, Playback, etc.) If you prefer to use it as a standard function key, it must be enrolled with a combination Fn or Globe Key.

You can search it out the left bottom corner of the Magic Keyboard and above the arrow keys on a long apple having Fn keys from F1 to F19….

Solution #3. Restart Mac

If searching for a quick tip to fix the function key not working on Mac, go with simple restarting. If the minor bug is the culprit, it is effective and efficient enough to resolve the issue. To restart the mac computer, go to Apple Logo > Restart…

Wait until the restart procedure finishes; after operation completion, check if the function delay or not working is fix. If not, move to the following troubleshooting guide. 

Solution #4. Disable Slow Key

The slow Key is the Accessibility feature, designed to create a delay when you press the Key for some task on the Mac. Nonetheless, it disables the working of the function keys, even when you press it with a combination of Fn/Globe Key + F Key or just an F Key. 

If the feature you have enabled before or accidentally got activated, you have to disable it by following the below steps.

macOS Ventura & Later

1→ Select Apple Logo > System Settings…

System Settings on Mac
System Settings on Mac

2→ Choose Accessibility > Keyboard.

accessibility-keyboard-settings-on-mac
accessibility-keyboard-settings-on-mac

3→ Next disable the toggle beside the Slow Key. Becuase, Slow Keys adjusts the amount of time between when a key is pressed and when it is activated. Also, Keep disabling Sticky Keys.

turn-off-slow-key-on-mac
turn-off-slow-key-on-mac

That’s it.

macOS Monterey & Earlier,

  1. Click on Apple Logo > System Preferences…
  2. Select Accessibility. Search and select Keyboard.
select-keyboard-and-next-hardware-and-then-uncheck-the-box-next-to-enable-slow-key
select-keyboard-and-next-hardware-and-then-uncheck-the-box-next-to-enable-slow-key
  1. From the Keyboard settings, select Hardware Tab. Uncheck the box next to the Enable Slow Key

Solution #5. Toggle Keyboard Layout

While it’s not fair to say changing the keyboard layout on the Mac computer will customize the Function key mapping, users must still try changing the Keyboard to the US or other preferable languages. To do so, follow the given below steps.

macOS Ventura And Later,

  1. Go to Apple Logo > System Settings…
  2. Next, choose Keyboard. From the Text Input menu, select Edit…
keyboard-and-choose-edit
keyboard-and-choose-edit
  1. After this, select any preferable language from All Input Source or add the new one by clicking on the + Icon > Select Language > Done. from the same screen. 

Tip: Enable the Toggle next to the Show Input Menu in the menu bar.  

macOS Monterey And Earlier,

  1. Go to Apple Logo > System Preferences…
  2. Select Keyboard > Input Sources Tab.
select-input-source
select-input-source
  1. Select the corresponding language or add the new one by clicking + Icon > Select Language > Done. 

Tip: Checkmark the box next to Show Input Source In Menu Bar 

Solution #6. Changing Function Key Behavior on Mac

Default Function key Functionality on Mac

  •  F1 – Decrease display brightness
  • F2 – Increase display brightness
  • F3 – Open Mission Control
  • F4 – Open Launchpad
  • F5 – Decrease keyboard brightness (On compatible notebooks only)
  • F6 – Increase keyboard brightness (On compatible notebooks only)
  • F7 – Skip back (Audio)
  • F8 – Pause / Play (Audio)
  • F9 – Skip forward (Audio)
  • F10 – Mute
  • F11 – Volume down
  • F12 – Volume Up

Suppose you have a wired Apple keyboard or the Magic Keyboard whose functions are not working. In this scenario, check if you haven’t disabled the Keyboard settings of Functions.

Note:  After turning on the feature, you have to press the combination of Fn/Globe + F1..F12 (Topmost row of the apple keyboard) to change Display Brightness, Volume Up & Down & Mute, Voice Dictation, Do Not Disturb, Play/Pause, Mission Control, Spotlight Search, and more… 

However, the function key on the Safe Mode, Fn + F1…F12, doesn’t do any task; you can press F1-F12 to enroll designated functions on the Mac PC.

macOS Ventura And Later, 

  1. Select Apple > System Settings…
  2. Next, choose Keyboard. Right below the Press Fn Key To menu, choose Keyboard Shortcuts…
select-keyboard-and-choose-keyboard-shortcuts
select-keyboard-and-choose-keyboard-shortcuts
  1. Now choose Functions Keys and enable the toggle next to Use F1, F2, etc Keys As Standard Function Keys. 
select-function-keys-and-choose-the-toggle-to-enable-next-done
select-function-keys-and-choose-the-toggle-to-enable-next-done

macOS Monterey And Earlier,

  1.  Go to Apple Logo > System Preferences…
  2. Select Keyboard. And then, choose the Keyboard Tab.
  3. From the Keyboard Tab, check the box next to the Use F1, F2, etc. Keys As Standard Function Keys.

If the settings seem to be turned on, re-assign it by turning it off, wait for a few seconds, and enable it back. 

Solution #7. Check The Keyboard Settings On MacBook With TouchBar

For all MacBook with touch bar users, you might have encountered a situation where the F keys aren’t visible on the Keyboard. You can fix the function key not working on Mac with a few hindrances in the settings. Here is how you can turn on the function key on a MacBook with a touch bar.

macOS Ventura And Later, 

  1. Select Apple > System Settings…
  2. Next, choose Keyboard. Right below the Press Fn Key To menu, choose Keyboard Shortcuts…
select-keyboard-and-choose-keyboard-shortcuts
select-keyboard-and-choose-keyboard-shortcuts
  1. Now choose Functions Keys and enable the toggle next to Use F1, F2, etc Keys As Standard Function Keys. 

select-function-keys-and-choose-the-toggle-to-enable-next-done
select-function-keys-and-choose-the-toggle-to-enable-next-done

macOS Monterey And Earlier,

  1. Go to Apple Logo > System Preferences…
  2. Select Keyboard. And then, choose the Keyboard Tab.
  3. From the Keyboard Tab, check the box next to the Use F1, F2, etc Keys As Standard Function Keys.

Moreover, you can also press the Fn/Globe key from the Keyboard to make the Function (F) Keys visible on the Touchbar. If it doesn’t work, go through the steps mentioned above. 

Solution #8. Check Function Key Binding 

If you have modified the functions keys but still came up with the top keys aren’t doing anything, you can’t turn down the keyboard light or volume. Instead, you need to check if the Fn Key is bound to perform the action you want. Here is how you can do so.

macOS Ventura And Later,

  1. Go to Apple Logo > System Settings…
  2. Choose Keyboard. From the Press Fn Key To menu, choose Keyboard Shortcuts…
select-keyboard-and-choose-keyboard-shortcuts
select-keyboard-and-choose-keyboard-shortcuts
  1. Next, click on Modifiers Keys and choose Function (fn) Key.
  2. Select the preferable Key (Suppose Command) > Done from the dropdown.

macOS Monterey And Earlier,

  1. Click on Apple Logo > System Preferences…
  2. Select Keyboard > Keyboard Tab.
  3. From the Keyboard Tab, click Modifiers Key… at the bottom right.
select-keyboard-and-choose-modifier-key
select-keyboard-and-choose-modifier-key
  1. Select Function (Fn) Key dropdown and choose the desired Key (Suppose Command) > OK
select-function-fn-key-dropdown-and-choose-desired-key-and-next-ok
select-function-fn-key-dropdown-and-choose-desired-key-and-next-ok

So in case the function key is not working on Mac due to physical damage of the Fn or Globe key, it has been replace with Command or the Key you picked out during key bind. Press the Replaced Key + F keys to increase/decrease brightness, change volume, or do any other task you want. 

Solution #9. Unpair And Re-Pair Magic Keyboard 

If your Magic keyboard Function key is not working, sound, brightness, and mission control are not, we suggest you unpair and repair the Mac computer. Here you can do so. 

macOS Ventura & Later,

  1. Select Apple Logo > System Settings…
  2. From the System Settings…, choose Bluetooth.
  3. Search for the Magic Keyboard in the list, and click on Disconnect.

macOS Monterey & Earlier,

  1. Click on Apple Logo > System Preferences…
  2. Select Bluetooth. Search for the Magic Keyboard and choose the X Icon next to it.

To reconnect, follow the same steps, search for Magic Keyboard, and click Connect; that’s it! After the completion of the repair procedure, check for the issue. If it persists, move to the following workaround.

Solution #10. Connect Using Lighting Cable

Firmly connecting the Magic Keyboard using the Best Lightning Cable rather than Bluetooth can solve the problem with an upper row on Mac, especially if the Function on Mac stopped working after the update. 

Remember, while connecting the Magic Keyboard using the cable, your Keyboard should be well-charged to prevent freezing and lagging. 

Solution #11. Reset Bluetooth Module

More often than, the issue continues with the topmost row keys on Apple Magic Keyboard. So it’s time to reset Bluetooth Module, bringing the Bluetooth back to the default settings.

  1. Press Command + Space, and search for Terminal in spotlight.
  2. In the Terminal, enter the code sudo pkill bluetoothd.
run-code-sudo-pkill-bluetoothd-in-terminal
run-code-sudo-pkill-bluetoothd-in-terminal
  1. After that, it will ask you to enter the password, type it and press Enter. However, there are no such notable changes that you can capture. 
  2. Click on the Apple Logo and Restart…

Wait for the restart cycle to finish off. Then, when the Mac computer turns on, reconnect the Magic Keyboard and press Function Keys. If no changes are applied, the issue doesn’t go off. 

Solution #12. Delete Bluetooth pList

At last, the corrupted Bluetooth pList designed to store the Bluetooth preferences can be why F-Key is not working on the latest macOS. To fix it, let’s give it a try by deleting Bluetooth pList.

  1. Open Finder > Go.
  2. From the Go dropdown, choose Go To Folder…
library preferences
library preferences
  1. Enter the path /Library/Preferences/.
  2. Search for the com.apple.Bluetooth.plist and drag it to the Trash on the dock.
com apple bluetooth plist
com apple bluetooth plist

That’s It!

Solution #13. Reset PRAM

It’s feasible that some PRAM on the Mac computer can malfunction over time. Considering as one of the possible culprits for Functions keys on Mac not working, it’s better to Reset PRAM.

Solution #14. Check For Hardware Problems

Even after performing all of the above mentioned troubleshooting steps, the newest Magic Keyboard, Apple Wired Keyboard, and MacBook Keyboard with Touchbar Function keys need to fix.

It’s confirmation there might be a hardware issue. Then, you must carry the corresponding Keyboard to the nearest Apple Service Station and ask for repair or replacement if it comes under the warranty.

Bottom Line

The topmost row on the Mac computer might have got fixed by performing the troubleshooting steps. But, distinctly, it’s nothing but a software-related bug; even after performing the complete guide, it doesn’t get fixed; contact Apple Support.  

What Are F And Function Key On Mac Keyboards?

The topmost row on the modern Mac, except the Mac with Touchbar, is known as F or Function. The Keys are designed to alter some of the most needed and valuable features like Brightness, Volume Up & Down & Mute, Voice Dictation, Do Not Disturb, Play/Pause, Mission Control, Spotlight Search, and more… with just a combination of Fn + F keys. 

Why Are Function Keys Not Working On Mac?

The problem with a function key can be relatable to improper keyboard settings, corrupted macOS, Physical damage, and Bluetooth issue when using Mac Keyboard with Mac or connection can be a culprit for Function key not working on Mac.

How Do I Lock And Unlock The Fn Key Mac?

Doing so will lock the function keys, and it only works when pressed with a combination of Fn/Globe Key + F Keys. To unlock, disable the following mentioned settings. 

macOS Ventura And Later: Apple Logo > System Settings… > Keyboard > Press Fn Key To > Keyboard Shortcuts… > Function Keys > turn on the toggle next to Use F1, F2, etc Keys As Standard Function Keys. 

macOS Monterey And Earlier: Apple Logo > System Preferences… > Keyboard > Keyboard > check the box next to the Use F1, F2, etc Keys As Standard Function Keys. 

How Do I Fix Fn F4 Not Working?

As I said earlier, there are distinct possibilities for Fn F4 not working. However, with a set of troubleshooting steps mentioned in the article it can get fix. 

Why Did My F3 or any other Function Key Stop Working?

If you have just lost the Functionality of F3 expose Key. Don’t panic! It’s just a result of outdated software, so update it if available. Or it can be due to the corrupted system settings. To fix it, follow our guide.  

How Do I Press F3 On Mac Without Fn?

To press the F3 without Fn key, you need to disable the Use F1, F2, etc. Keys As Standard Function Keys Settings, under the Keyboard settings on Mac. If you need to get more familiar with it, jump to this guide.

HowtoiSolve Staff

Jaysukh Patel is the founder of howtoisolve. Also self Professional Developer, Techno lover mainly for iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and iOS, Jaysukh is one of responsible person in his family. Contact On: jaysukh.pharma@gmail.com [OR] admin@howtoisolve.com

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