I want to override F1 and F2 behavior, since I have external display and Mac can't control display's brightness. The rest of the keys should retain their non Fx

I know about "Use all F1-F12 keys as standard function keys.", but I don't want to change all of the keys to be F when pressed, just some of them. (For me single press music and volume control is necessary.)

Is there a way to pick some of the function keys to default to numbered function instead of the "Apple" definitions system wide?


4 Answers 4


You can use FunctionFlip to change individual "special" keys back to their function key value.

  • Great suggestion, I just started using it myself. Happy to reclaim some otherwise useless keys! Plus, the built-in feature doesn't go away, it just means you have to press Fn to use it. Great app! Jul 24, 2011 at 23:54
  • Yeah it's great. I use it to change the Dashboard key to Launchpad in Lion. I've never used that key before, now all the time.
    – René
    Jul 25, 2011 at 6:53
  • Awesome, thank you! Now, F4 is Launchpad, Fn+F4 is Dashboard, and F1 (instead of F13) is "show desktop". Thanks a lot.
    – radex
    Jul 26, 2011 at 9:15

Another great way to fully customise Function keys (or any keys) is KeyRemap4Macbook

You can customise individual or key type behaviour either per application or system wide.

It's also free.


A slightly clunky workaround would be to turn them all into standard function keys, and then program the ones that you want manually through the Keyboard Shortcuts section. That would obviously be no good if you wanted to use the function keys for other behaviour.

  • I thought of that, but I had no idea how to restore play/rewind/volume/etc key functionality so I thought maybe there's an easier way.
    – radex
    Jul 26, 2011 at 9:17

You can use BetterTouchTool for this. It is a paid app (at least 4,45€) but it's totally worth the price!

  1. Select in the keyboard preferences, that by default you want to use F keys.
  2. Disable "F > 6" shortcuts: enter image description here
  3. Set new global keyboard shortcuts in BetterTouchTool: enter image description here
  4. Done!

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