What Are F5 and F6 Keys on Mac

Nicholas Russell
By Nicholas Russell 13 Min Read
13 Min Read

Hey there! Let’s dive into a cool part of your Mac that you might not know much about – the mysterious F keys at the top of your keyboard. Specifically, we’re going to focus on F5 and F6. These two keys are like hidden gems that can really brighten up your typing experience – literally!

  • F5: The Dimmer Switch – Ever felt like your keyboard’s light is too bright in a dark room? Well, F5 is your go-to key to turn down that brightness. It’s like having a dimmer switch for your keyboard’s backlight.
  • F6: Turn Up the Lights – On the flip side, if you’re struggling to see the keys in low light, F6 helps you by making the keyboard light brighter. It’s like turning up the lights in a dark room.

I’m Eric, and I’ve been playing around with computers for over 40 years. While keyboards haven’t changed a lot, those function keys at the top can be a bit of a mystery, especially since they can do different things on different computers. On Macs, these keys have special jobs, and F5 and F6 are all about controlling your keyboard’s light.

I’ve given you a quick overview of what F5 and F6 do, but stick around! I’m going to dive into more details about these keys, how you can use them, and even if it’s possible to change what they do. This is going to be fun, so let’s get started!

The F5 and F6 keys and How to Use Them

Alright, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of how to actually use these F5 and F6 keys on your Mac. You might think, “Okay, one key makes it brighter, and one makes it dimmer, got it.” But there’s a little more to it, especially if you’re not used to playing around with those function keys at the top of your keyboard. Don’t worry, I’ll guide you through it!

First things first: where to find these keys. On a Macbook, or most other Mac keyboards, these function keys are sitting right at the top row. But here’s a cool twist: if you’ve got one of the newer MacBooks, you’ll see something called a Touch Bar. This nifty feature replaces the traditional function keys with a sleek, touch-sensitive bar that changes based on what you’re doing.

Using F5 and F6: A Step-by-Step Guide

  • Step 1: The Fn Key – This little key is your secret weapon. To use the F5 and F6 keys (or any function key) for their standard, built-in system functions, you need to press and hold the Fn key, then tap the function key you want. For example, to make the keyboard less bright, hold down Fn and press F5.
  • Step 2: Without the Fn Key – If you just tap the F5 or F6 without holding the Fn key, they’ll do something different, depending on the app you’re using. This is because they can have specific functions in different apps.
  • Customizing Your Experience – Feeling like a rebel and don’t want to use the Fn key every time? No problem! You can change this in your Mac’s settings. This way, the function keys will do their system-wide actions without needing to hold down the Fn key.

If you’re rocking a newer MacBook with a Touch Bar, you’ve got some extra steps to customize it. But don’t worry, it’s not rocket science, and I’ll guide you through it in the next section. Stay tuned for that!

Customizing Your Mac’s Touch Bar: Easy Steps to Follow

Got a MacBook with a Touch Bar? Great, because now we’re going to customize it so you can use those F5 and F6 keys (and others) with ease. It’s like giving your Mac a little personal touch. Just follow these simple steps, and you’ll be all set!

Step 1: Starting Your Journey in System Settings

  • Where to Begin: Click on the Apple menu at the top left of your screen. From there, select “System Settings.” Think of it as the command center for tweaking your Mac.

Step 2: Finding the Keyboard Settings

  • Navigating to Keyboard Options: Once you’re in System Settings, glance over to the left-side panel. Here, you’ll find various options. Click on the “Keyboard” settings. This is where the magic happens for customizing your keyboard and Touch Bar.

Step 3: Dive into Touch Bar Settings

  • The Touch Bar’s Secrets: Now, it’s time to explore the Touch Bar settings. This is where you can make the Touch Bar work the way you want.

Step 4: Expanding Your Control Strip

  • Customize Your Controls: In the Touch Bar settings, look for the option that says “Touch Bar shows.” Click on it and select “Expanded Control Strip.” This setting will display more controls on your Touch Bar, giving you quicker access to various functions, including those elusive function keys.

Step 5: Sealing the Deal with ‘Done’

  • Finalize Your Settings: Once you’re happy with your settings, don’t forget to click “Done.” This is like telling your Mac, “Yep, that’s exactly how I want things to be.” Once you do this, the icons for the function keys should appear on your Touch Bar. The best part? You won’t need to press the Fn key anymore to use them.

And there you go! You’ve just personalized your MacBook’s Touch Bar, making those function keys more accessible and easier to use. Enjoy the new setup and happy typing!

Configuring the F5 and F6 Keys to Do Something Else

Do you want to mix things up a bit with your Mac’s F5 and F6 keys? Maybe you’re not too concerned about keyboard brightness and would rather these keys do something else. Good news: You can totally reassign these keys to perform different actions. This is especially easy if you have a MacBook with a Touch Bar. Let me walk you through it:

Step 1: Entering the World of System Settings

  • Where to Begin: Click the Apple menu in the top left corner of your screen and select “System Settings.” Think of this as the gateway to customizing your MacBook.

Step 2: Dive into Keyboard Settings

  • Finding Keyboard Options: Once you’re in System Settings, look for “Keyboard” in the left-side panel. This is your control room for all things keyboard-related.

Step 3: Exploring Touch Bar Settings

  • Unleashing the Touch Bar’s Potential: Now, find the option for “Touch Bar settings.” This is where you can start playing around with what your Touch Bar can do.

Step 4: Customizing Your Control Strip

  • Adding Your Favorite Functions: In the Touch Bar settings, you’ll see an option to “Customize Control Strip.” Click on this to start changing what your function keys do.

Step 5: Drag and Drop Your Preferred Functions

  • Personalizing the Touch Bar: You’ll see a range of functions that you can add to your Touch Bar. Simply drag the ones you want from the screen down to the Touch Bar. It’s like playing a drag-and-drop game, but you’re actually customizing your MacBook!

Step 6: Locking in Your Choices

  • Finalizing Your Customization: Once you’ve got everything just the way you want it, hit the “Done” button. This is like putting the final stamp on your custom setup. Your Touch Bar will now reflect the changes you’ve made, and the F5 and F6 keys will do whatever new tasks you’ve assigned them.

And that’s it! You’ve now personalized your MacBook’s function keys, making them do exactly what you want. It’s a great way to make your Mac more ‘you’. Enjoy experimenting with your new setup!


So, we’ve explored a pretty neat aspect of your Mac – those F5 and F6 keys. These keys usually have a straightforward job: controlling the brightness of your keyboard. Remember, if you want to dim the lights a bit, press the Fn key followed by F5. And if you need to brighten up your keyboard, it’s the Fn key plus F6.

But here’s the cool part: you’re not stuck with these settings. Your Mac is all about personalization, and that includes these function keys. You have the power to change what these keys do, especially if you have a MacBook with a Touch Bar. It’s all about making your Mac work for you, in the way that you find most convenient and enjoyable.

In summary, while the default role of F5 and F6 might be to adjust keyboard brightness, your Mac gives you the flexibility to redefine these keys based on your needs and preferences. So go ahead, play around with these settings, and make your Mac keyboard as unique as you are!


What are the default functions of the F5 and F6 keys on a Mac?

“On a Mac, what do the F5 and F6 keys usually control, and how do you use them for their default functions?”

Can the functionality of the F5 and F6 keys on a Mac be changed?

“Is it possible to reassign the F5 and F6 keys on a Mac to perform different actions, and if so, how?”

How do I locate and use the F5 and F6 keys on a MacBook with a Touch Bar?

“Where can I find the F5 and F6 keys on a MacBook with a Touch Bar, and what steps do I need to follow to use them?”

What are the steps to customize the functions of the F5 and F6 keys on a MacBook with a Touch Bar?

“Can you guide me through the process of customizing the F5 and F6 keys on a MacBook with a Touch Bar?”

Is it necessary to use the Fn key to use the F5 and F6 keys on a Mac?

“Do I always need to press the Fn key along with the F5 and F6 keys on my Mac to use their standard functions, and can this requirement be changed?”

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