For years, MacBook keyboards have been heralded as the best in the business. Standard size, low profile, reliable mechanisms (apart from the Butterfly models), gorgeous typography, and beautiful backlighting — all contributed to the popularity of Apple’s Magic Keyboard.
Out of all the features, keyboard backlighting has probably raised the most eyebrows and received the most praise. Mac keyboard lights not only illuminate the perimeter of each key but also shine directly through the letters and symbols, making typing at night simple and easy on the eyes. What’s better, backlit Mac keyboards automatically turn on in low-light environments and turn off in bright ones.
There are, however, instances when you don’t want to turn on keyboard backlighting. So here are a few easy ways to turn your laptop keyboard light off.
Why turn Mac keyboard lights off?
Even though most people find a lot of value in having keyboard backlights turned on at night, this feature is not without downsides.
When you turn off the lights in a room to watch a movie, for example, you don’t want your Mac keyboard light to distract you from what’s happening on the screen. Similarly, when you know all the keys by heart and have no problem typing blindly, even at night, you might not want to light up keyboard and drain your Mac’s battery life. Finally, if you notice that you have a light keyboard during the day — it’s just a pure waste of energy.
So let’s dive into what you specifically need to do in these situations.
How to turn off keyboard light on Mac
If your Mac laptop has a backlit keyboard, you can change the backlighting's intensity or turn it off when operating your Mac in low light.
Adjust keyboard backlighting or turn it off manually
Depending on the model of your Mac, choose one of the following:
Look for the Brightness buttons on your keyboard (in most cases, it’s in the top row with the F keys). There are two buttons: the increase brightness button (a small circle with dashes around it) and the decrease button (a small circle with dots around it)
To turn backlighting off, press the decrease brightness key. You’ll see an indicator on your screen showing how the brightness is decreasing.
In this situation, or if you simply prefer using your mouse, OS X also allows you to change the brightness. To do this:
- Go to Control Center (available in macOS Big Sur and higher) that is located in the upper right corner in the menu bar
- Click Keyboard Brightness and drag the slider.
For Mac computers with the Touch Bar:
- Expand the Control Strip, then look for the increase and decrease brightness buttons
- To turn backlighting off, touch and hold the brightness decrease button.
Adjust keyboard backlighting in low light conditions automatically
When you aren’t using the keyboard, you might want to ask your MacBook to turn off the keyboard backlight by doing the following:
- Go to Apple menu > System Preferences
- Click Keyboard
- Select “Adjust keyboard brightness in low light”.
In the same window, you also have the option to set Mac keyboard lights to turn off after a certain period of inactivity (from 5 secs to 5 min).
If you’re using one of the latest MacBook models equipped with a Touch Bar, you might not see the F5 key or the correct icon to decrease the keyboard backlight due to the buttons contextually shifting. In this case, look for a few standard icons (such as screen brightness and volume) at the right end of your Touch Bar. There should also be a left-pointing arrow beside them. Tap the arrow to expand the Touch Bar and reveal the standard icon set. Then follow the directions above. If you still don’t see the keyboard backlight icons, click on your desktop or open Finder to reset your Touch Bar.
How to turn on keyboard light on Mac
After you learn how you can turn off laptop keyboard lights, you might also wonder how to turn on backlit keyboard on Mac when you need to.
The process is largely the same, but in reverse:
- Go to Control Center (available in macOS Big Sur and higher) that is located in the upper right corner in the menu bar
- Click Keyboard Brightness and drag the slider to decrease brightness.
You can also use the Brightness buttons on your keyboard (in most cases, it’s in the top row with the F keys).
How to fix backlit Mac keyboard not working
Sometimes, even if you follow all the directions above, you might find that your light keyboard keys are not working and your Mac displays a lock icon when you’re trying to use them.
Most commonly, the lock icon appears when your Mac can’t accurately detect the lighting conditions — when your lighting sensor is in direct sunlight, for example. Since the sensor is located right next to your MacBook’s front-facing camera, just try to move your Mac to a shade.
The next step is to take over the laptop keyboard light control:
- Open the Keyboard menu in System Preferences (Apple Menu > System Preferences > Keyboard)
- Uncheck “Adjust keyboard brightness in low light”
- Move the keyboard brightness up or down manually.
If none of the above corrected the issue, you might need to reset your SMC (system management controller), which is responsible for lots of low-level tasks on your Mac.
To reset SMC on a MacBook with the T2 Security Chip (present on models from 2018 and newer):
Turn off the computer(Video) THESE Are the SetApp Apps I Actually Use - Are They Worth the Price?
Hold Control + Option + Shift for seven seconds
Keep holding the three keys and add the power button too. Hold all four keys for seven more seconds and release.
Turn your Mac on after a few seconds
To reset SMC on older MacBooks without controller devices:
Turn it off
Hold Control + Option + Shift keys
Hold the power button too
Keep holding for 10 seconds
Release all keys and turn on your Mac(Video) Best Mac Apps I Actually Use!
How to control your Mac remotely
While following all of the above should get your laptop keyboard lights working, there’s also another way to manipulate virtually any option in your Mac — with an effortless tap on your phone.
Remote Mouse is a simple but powerful Mac (also iOS and Android) app that combines the versatility of your keyboard and mouse to control any software or feature on your Mac. Use your phone’s volume buttons to change your Mac’s volume or flip through the slides in a presentation. Waive your phone in the air to move the cursor on your desktop. Activate dozens of commands by voice throughout your day and even easily switch between your Macs — Remote Mouse is the ultimate controller you need.
How to work on Mac faster with shortcuts
While you can use your mouse to click through anything you want your Mac to do, it’s highly inefficient. Since you’re most likely repeating lots of the same actions every day again and again (copy-paste, close the app window, etc.), it pays off greatly to find or create keyboard shortcuts for them. It’s estimated that people who use shortcuts all the time, save up to eight working days a year compared to mouse-clickers. Luckily, there’s an easy way to bridge the gap.
Keysmith is a tool that creates custom shortcuts for your Mac and the web. When you hit record, Keysmith begins to capture your mouse and keyboard movements. Enter some text or select items from lists, Dock objects, buttons, menus, and more. Keysmith is smart enough to comprehend everything. Set a hotkey. After that, you can press the hotkey and watch Keysmith do all the typing, clicking, and browsing. Just like you did, but much faster.
To wrap up
By now, you see it’s really easy to turn off keyboard light on Mac using a few keys and options. And if they don’t work, you know how to fix the problem by resetting SMC. You can also use the Remote Mouse app to control any software or feature on your Mac easily.
And if you want to work faster on your computer and save time, we recommend you try Keysmith, the app that records your actions and creates shortcuts.
Both apps are available to you absolutely free for 7 days through a trial of Setapp, a platform with more than 240 time-saving Mac tools, from task managers (GoodTask) to distraction dimmers (HazeOver). Try them all today at no cost and see for yourself!
In order to turn off the backlight on your laptop keyboard, press the same corresponding keys that allowed you to turn them on. This could be a simple F5, F9, or F11 key press, or a dual-action Fn + F5, F9, or F11 key press.How do I turn off the default keyboard light? ›
To access it, select Control Panel > Hardware and sound > Windows Mobility Center. In the Windows Mobility Center, look for the Keyboard brightness (or Keyboard backlighting) setting, select its corresponding slider, and pull that slider over to the right.How do I change the light timer on my keyboard? ›
Open PC Manager, click the Settings icon, and select Settings. Go to Accessibility (or System) > Keyboard and select your preferred time under Turn off backlight when there is no activity for (or Turn off when there is no activity for).How do I turn my Mac screen light off? ›
- On your Mac, choose Apple menu > System Settings, then click Displays in the sidebar. (You may need to scroll down.) Open Displays settings for me.
- Drag the Brightness slider on the right to adjust the brightness of your display.
- For most Notebook models, the backlit function key is the F7 key . If it is available, it can enable the backlit by pressing FN and F7 keys (FN+F7 keys) at the same time. ...
- For part of Notebook models, backlit function key is F3 and F4 key . ...
- For Gaming Notebook models, it's generally on Up and Down keys .
Open the Windows Mobility Center.
You may be able to hold down the "Fn" key and this other key simultaneously to filter through your keyboard light's settings. If so, keep tapping the "keyboard light" icon until the light turns off. Your light is now off and you do not need to rely on the Windows Mobility Center.
Adjust trackpad settings and keyboard brightness
Like an iPad, the brightness of the Magic Keyboard automatically adjusts based on the light conditions around you. If you want to manually adjust the brightness of the keys on your Magic Keyboard, go to Settings > General > Keyboard > Hardware Keyboard.
Keyboard Backlight Timeout on Battery - Allows you to set how long the backlight stays on while on battery power.How do I turn off special keyboard modes? ›
To disable special keyboard keys via registry on Windows 10 go to HKLM:\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\hidserv and change "Start" DWORD value to 4. Once you restart the system, special function keys should be disabled.Is the a way to turn on keyboard light? ›
To turn on or off the backlight, press Fn + Spacebar or Esc on the keyboard to change the keyboard backlight mode. There are three modes: Off, Low (dim), and High (bright). Press the keys again to change the modes. The backlight keyboard feature is a physical switch and does not require driver support.
Turn the screen brightness all the way down, but you won't like it. The logo doesn't have its own light; it just allows some of the display's backlight to escape on that side. If you really want to get rid of it, you can cover it with a sticker. Or trade up to a new MBP; they don't have it anymore.How do I put my Mac screen to sleep? ›
- Choose Apple menu > Sleep.
- On a Mac laptop, close the display.
- If you have the option on your keyboard, press Option-Command-Media Eject key . Tip: If your Mac has a Touch Bar, you can add the Sleep button to the Control Strip.
With Option + Shift + Keyboard Brightness Up or Option + Shift + Keyboard Brightness Down, you can adjust the display brightness in smaller steps.How do I turn on my keyboard light without the Fn key? ›
Try F5, F9, or F11 to turn on the keyboard light on your Windows laptop. On a Mac, press the Increase Brightness key (it looks like a little rising sun). Most modern laptops have backlit keyboards, but some budget models don't have this feature.How do I turn on the backlit keyboard on my MSI? ›
If backlight keyboard is supported, please press the backlight hotkey button to toggle on/off the backlight (some models do not come with hotkey button but can be activated via SteelSeries Engine / or MSI Center software.How do I turn off the backlit keyboard on my Lenovo? ›
Turning on keyboard backlight on your Lenovo Laptop
To turn on or off the backlight, press Fn + Spacebar or Esc on the keyboard to change the keyboard backlight mode.
This means the keyboard, mouse, or trackpad is “discoverable” by your Mac, and you can connect your Mac with it. After 3 minutes, the indicator light turns off. The keyboard, mouse, or trackpad is still on, but it is no longer discoverable. To make it discoverable again, turn it off, then turn it back on.How do I turn off the keyboard light on my Macbook Air m1? ›
Choose Apple menu > System Settings, then click Keyboard in the sidebar. (You may need to scroll down.) Click the pop-up menu next to “Turn keyboard backlight off after inactivity” on the right, then choose a time.How do I get ghost keyboard to stop typing? ›
By pressing fewer keys simultaneously, you can prevent ghosting. You may have to adjust your typing technique; some people instinctively press multiple keys at once when typing. Once you get into the habit of pressing fewer keys simultaneously, though, you should experience fewer instances of keyboard ghosting.Are MacBook keyboards backlit? ›
Currently, Apple's MacBook keyboards feature backlighting technology that exists simply to make the keys visible in dark environments. The keys themselves use labels that are pre-printed, meaning they are static and can't be changed and are potentially prone to wear with long-term use.
The Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro features backlit keys that make it a lot easier to type in the dark. The Magic Keyboard brightness can be changed manually or automatically, based on the ambient lighting conditions.Does MacBook Pro 14 have backlit keyboard? ›
Apple redesigned the keyboard and made it all black with backlit keys, and it looks great. It feels similar to last year's model, but not quite the same because it's a bit quieter and softer, but still great to type on.Does Magic Keyboard go to sleep? ›
Press fnfnfn + space-bar keys together, can be turned off in the modifiers menu. Sleep is also available on F6 for the new Magic Keyboards 2021.What is backlit Magic Keyboard? ›
Like MacBooks, this iPad Pro accessory has backlit keys. You can adjust the brightness level within iPadOS' keyboard settings (General > Keyboard > Hardware Keyboard). The accessory also adds an extra USB-C port.Does the Magic Keyboard use a lot of battery? ›
The iPad Magic Keyboard has no battery, therefore it does not need to be charged. You can connect a USB-C power cable to the power port on the Magic Keyboard, which will charge the iPad through passthrough, however.Why do gamers have light up keyboards? ›
A PC gamer uses a plethora of keys to do virtual combat, so zoned backlighting helps to simplify the keyboard interface through visual segmentation. For example, a PC gamer might assign a white backlight to the movement keys (the WASD keys and arrow keys), and a red light to the item keys (perhaps the ZXC keys).Does backlit keyboard drain battery? ›
According to a video produced by liscencetechtips, turning on keyboard back-lit consumes up to 16% more battery power than turning it off. If you are not using back lighting and are on battery power, it is a good idea to turn it off.How long do keyboard led last? ›
The “lights” are LED's and LED's have a general Life expectancy of 50,000 hours so the keyboard itself is likely to wear out long before any of the led's stop working. I spilled a tiny bit of water on my keyboard and now some of the keys are not working. What do I do?How do I turn off Mac Special keys? ›
- Choose Apple menu > System Settings.
- Click Keyboard in the sidebar.
- Click the Keyboard Shortcuts button on the right.
- Click Function Keys in the sidebar.
- Turn on “Use F1, F2, etc. keys as standard function keys”.
Use the F Lock key
If your keyboard has an F Lock key, press it to toggle between the standard commands and alternate commands. When the F Lock light is Off, alternate functions work (Help, Undo, and so on). When the F Lock light is On, standard functions work (F1, F2, and so on).
(FuNction key) A keyboard modifier key that works like a Shift key to activate a second function on a dual-purpose key. Commonly found on laptop keyboards, the Fn key is used to control hardware functions such as screen brightness and speaker volume.How do I light my keyboard without backlit? ›
1. Use a USB lamp for Laptops. Small and flexible USB lamps for laptops won't exactly backlight your keyboard, but it will light your keyboard for you and not much else. These lamps are small and flexible; they plug right into your laptop's USB port.What are the three lights on my keyboard for? ›
The picture shows the three indicator LEDs on the keyboard. These lights show whether or not the num lock, caps lock, or scroll lock are enable or disabled.How do I turn on the keyboard shortcut light on my Macbook Pro? ›
- Choose Apple menu > System Settings, then click Keyboard in the sidebar. (You may need to scroll down.)
- Turn on “Adjust keyboard brightness in low light” on the right.
Turn the device off and on
Slide the switch to turn off the device (no green is visible), then slide the switch back to turn on the device (green becomes visible). Earlier Apple Wireless Keyboard and Magic Trackpad models have a power button on the right side of the device.
With Option + Shift + Keyboard Brightness Up or Option + Shift + Keyboard Brightness Down, you can adjust the display brightness in smaller steps.Is there a keyboard shortcut for keyboard brightness on Mac? ›
Now, you can use F5 and F6 to adjust keyboard brightness on your M1 MacBook.What is the shortcut to dim keyboard on MacBook Air? ›
Intel MacBook Air: Press F5 to lower keyboard brightness and F6 to raise keyboard brightness. Apple Silicon MacBook Air: Click Control Center > Keyboard Brightness and adjust the slider.How do I change the battery in my Apple keyboard? ›
Use a coin to loosen and remove the battery compartment cover, located on the side of the keyboard, then remove the old batteries. Insert the AA batteries into the battery compartment, making sure the positive and negative ends are pointing in the correct direction. Replace the battery compartment cover.Why is my Apple keyboard blinking green? ›
This means the keyboard, mouse, or trackpad is “discoverable” by your Mac, and you can connect your Mac with it. After 3 minutes, the indicator light turns off.