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

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .