I have a MacBook Air (M1, 2020) and one of the few things I don't like about it is that it does not have dedicated function keys for increasing/decreasing the keyboard backlight brightness. I know that I can control the keyboard brightness from the Control Center, and that I can place a brightness controller on the menu bar. I also know that I can use Karabiner Elements to remap existing function keys to keyboard brightness up and down.

But what I want to do is create custom keyboard shortcuts -- say, for example, Shift F1 and Shift F2 -- for this purpose, without eliminating the existing defaults.

Is there a way to do that, either using Karabiner or some other tool?

2 Answers 2


With Karabiner-Elements, you can import a complex_modifications rule named Keyboard Brightness Adjustment, it enables that:

command-f1 and f2 to adjust keyboard brightness

You can also customize the keys:

  1. Open the Keyboard Brightness Adjustment page, select "Copy JSON URL" from the drop list beside the "Import" button.

  2. Open the JSON URL in browser, save it as a file which named keyboard-brightness.json.

  3. Open keyboard-brightness.json with a plan text editor (e.g. Sublime), find all of the command and replace them with shift, save the file.

  4. Copy your amazing JSON file into ~/.config/karabiner/assets/complex_modifications/, then import rules from Karabiner-Elements Preferences:

Karabiner-Elements > Preferences > Complex Modifications > Add rule > Enable your rule - shift-f1 and f2 to adjust keyboard brightness

Then it should work.

If you have other rules, move the rule to the top by dragging the ⇅ icon to make sure it works well.


I had the same problem mentioned above, and it concerned me that Apple did not add a shortcut to adjust this. So, I have developed an application that adds the following shortcuts in place: Fn/🌐F2 brighten backlight, and Fn/🌐 F1 darken backlight. Take a look over at https://naden.co/luminescent.html

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