Enabling F5 and F6 for on non-backlit-keyboard AlBooks

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by reduxthree, Jan 15, 2009.

  1. reduxthree macrumors newbie

    Jan 15, 2009
    System: Silver Macbook
    OS X Ver.: Leopard
    Backlit Keyboard?: No

    Sorry for the confusing title - Essentially my problem is that I'm unable to set new shortcuts for the F5 and F6 keys for my Silver Macbook. Since it doesn't have a backlit keyboard, there's no function for F5 and F6.

    I'd like to make them go to shortcuts such as "Show Desktop" and "Spaces", both of which are supported under the "Keyboard Shortcuts" Tab of "Keyboard & Mouse". So, I have them configured to match up to F5 and F6, but they do not activate the corresponding function when pressed.


    I have the "Use function keys as standard function keys" checkmark unset:


    I apologize for the fairly small problem...I just really want to free up those two keys! I appreciate any response. Thanks!
  2. rdowns macrumors Penryn


    Jul 11, 2003
    Check off the "Use function keys as standard function keys" box. :)
  3. stevejobbers macrumors member

    Aug 19, 2008
    as far as i know, it's all or nothing by using that checkbox, i.e. you can have the function keys act as themselves or act a special laptop functions.

    the one way around it, you may not know, is by holding down the function key when you press f1 - f12 -- if you do this the key will do its primary function instead of its shortcut.

    hope that makes sense, and helps :)
  4. reduxthree thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 15, 2009
    Thanks for the quick reply!
    I thought this was the situation, but I actually found myself in an apple store yesterday and tried it on normal, white macbook - with the exact same keyboard as the Silver - and with the same settings, it did work (F5 and F6 setting took effect even with the checkbox unchecked). Unchecking the 'use function keys as standard keys' makes all the keys with special laptop functions not work (so you can't use volume controls, brightness, iTunes controls, etc.)
  5. reduxthree thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 15, 2009

    Well, after working on this problem for a while, I found sort of a hacked together way of fixing it. I used a program called PTHVolume which accepts keyboard commands to alter volume, and Synergy, an iTunes controller:


    MacBytes (a free substitute for Synergy, but I haven't tested it)

    Good luck, I hope this solution helps anyone who might need it...
  6. Skeletal-dæmon macrumors 6502

    Apr 27, 2008
    Hmm I'm on the last generation BlackBook and my F5 and F6 work as standard Function keys when the others act as their corresponding shortcuts. I'm not sure why this would not be the case with the new keyboards, besides a firmware alteration or something. I'll look into it.
  7. reduxthree thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 15, 2009
    Okay thanks Skeletal. I know that my "solution" requires a lot of processing power -- requiring two additional processes to enable -- and it seems like apple should allow you to access two keys on your keyboard...

    I'm almost thinking that the Silver macbook keyboards, which I heard connect through a USB interface as opposed to the interface that the white/black ones do, use a new firmware but probably use the same drivers on the mac side whether or not they're backlit. So, they're unavailable on non-backlit keyboards as a result.
  8. CannedChaos macrumors newbie

    Oct 26, 2008
  9. reduxthree thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 15, 2009
    Ah that's awesome. Perfect, I appreciate the link!
  10. billyjoegibsonx macrumors 6502

    Sep 10, 2008
    not directly related to the exact question but i'm curious to know what symbols are on the f5 & f6 keys for the aluminium 2.0 macbook since they do not have back lit keys as featured on the 2.4 model. are they just blank keys saying f5/f6 or do they have the line/dots still even though you cant light the keys up.
  11. Corvillus macrumors member

    Jan 12, 2008
    They're blank keys saying F5/F6 in the bottom right.

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