Recently I've upgraded to Lion and in general I'm not satisfied with its performance, but what's really annoying is that the login screen always sets the keyboard backlight to the max (even when I set it to zero, after re-entering login screen, it's back to the max level).

That's not quite bad, however that maximum level of the keyboard backlight suppresses my setting (zero highlighting) when I log in. So when I log in, the keyboard backlight is still very bright, as it was at the login screen, I press F5 to discover that OS thinks the keyboard backlight is off. Pressing F6 brings the backlight down to 1st level, so pressing F5 again, turns the keyboard backlight off.

It was persistent at 10.7 and continues to be so for 10.7.2.

UPDATE: since some time I didn't see it. I'm running 10.8.4.

  • Did any of the updates to Lion solve this problem? If so, could you please add it as an answer for future users? Jul 28, 2013 at 17:45
  • This just started happening to me. I'm running Mavericks. Every time my laptop wakes up from sleep, the keyboard backlight comes on at full brightness, and remains so until I dim it to completely off. Rinse and repeat.
    – Teflon Ted
    Mar 18, 2014 at 12:40

1 Answer 1


I don't know if it's Lion or a hardware feature, but on my MacBook Air, the system changes the keyboard lighting (and screen brightness) depending on the ambient brightness, which is detected by a sensor near the iSight lens at the top of the screen. In bright surroundings, the keyboard lighting is disabled and pressing F5 or F6 does nothing.

  • 2
    You probably refer to keyboard's "Automatically illuminate keyboard in low light" setting, which I have disabled, so I have control over keyboard illumination with F5/F6 - it's just it seems Lion doesn't save levels of illumination properly. Thank you for your input anyway :)
    – delirus
    Jan 6, 2012 at 13:16

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