I constantly use the brightness, mission control, volume, and iTunes playback shortcuts on my keyboard's function row. However, a handful of apps I use make heavy use of F1, F2, etc. for keyboard shortcuts, and it's annoying having to use something like Fn+F7 all the time for something that was intended to be a single keystroke away.

I can think of a few ways to get around this problem:

  1. Manually reassign any and all keyboard shortcuts that make use of function keys to something else. Ugh.
  2. Enable the "Use all F1, F2, etc. keys as standard function keys" option in System Preferences, and re-train myself to use Fn whenever I want to use the system shortcuts. Ugh.
  3. Find a way to enable this option only for certain applications.

Is this possible to do? Are there any third-party apps that can take care of this for me?


4 Answers 4


Try Palua, I think this is exactly what you're looking for. Costs $0.99 / £0.69 in the Mac App Store.

In MacStories: Control OS X Function Keys with Palua

  • 4
    This app no longer exists.
    – Huey
    Sep 12, 2016 at 18:42

Fluor is exactly what you're looking for. You can chose either default (the settings you can adjust in your system preferences), apple-keys or function keys.

The menu bar shows your currently open appYou see the adjustment for texmaker

I hope that was helpful!

  • the app seems no longer supported and doesn't work for me on Monterey 12.3.1 anymore :(
    – Sebastian
    Apr 17, 2022 at 9:27

I've seen this application before when I was just browsing, never used it though. It's called FunctionFlip.

FunctionFlip individually controls your MacBook or MacBook Pro's function keys, turning special keys back to regular F-keys, or vice-versa. FunctionFlip is a preference pane; you'll find it in the "Other" category in System Preferences.

  • 2
    This sort of does what I want, except it works system-wide. I need something that does what FunctionFlip does but only for specific apps. Apr 22, 2012 at 16:35
  • 1
    FWIW FunctionFlip is broken and seems to have been so for years, BUT if you want the feature described, you can get it as part of the free KARABINER-ELEMENTS app, which has a "Function Keys" settings tab where you can remap each physical f key to whatever you want, including f3/f4/etc. See my answer on the subject here: apple.stackexchange.com/a/441599/299084
    – jerclarke
    May 26, 2022 at 20:54
  • I realize this isn't a direct answer to the original question, but a lot of people will be satisfied to simply reclaim certain keys system-wide, rather than disabling all keys based on the app. (and google leads us here)
    – jerclarke
    May 26, 2022 at 20:55

On the machines with Touch Bar, this is built in: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT207240

The built-in system manages external keyboards too, but only when the internal keyboard has a Touch Bar.

  • Have you tried this out? Because I have been using this forever for the internal keyboard but now that I got an external one, it does not. The touch bar still changes to F-Keys but the external keyboard's F-Keys still have the secondary functionality.
    – musiKk
    Feb 22, 2021 at 7:51
  • @musiKk I agree: I'm sure this really did work back in Low/High Sierra, but under Catalina/Big Sur if I turn off Fluor it's just like you describe: external keyboard never has regular F-keys.
    – James
    Mar 24, 2021 at 4:45

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