Depending on which Apple Mac model you have the functions assigned to the handy F keys may vary. For example on a late 2007 MacBook Pro F3 is Mute and F4 is Turn Down volume, where as on a late 2012 MacBook Pro those exact same keys are Reveal all open windows and display all Apps and Programs stored on your machine.
For a MacBook Pro 2012 these are the commands the F keys control…
F1 Has a symbol of a small sun. This Turns Down the brightness of your screen.
F2 This displays the same sun symbol but this performs the opposite function. Turns Up the brightness of your screen.
F3 This key displays three random boxes. This is a very useful button as it will show all of the windows you have open in all of your live programs and apps simultaneously.
F4 This button displays all of your program and app icons, allowing you to search through and open them almost instantly.
F5 If you are one a Mac where the keyboard lights up you will find that this key (with a symbol of a rising sun) will Turn Down the brightness of your keys.
F6 This key does the exact opposite, Turns Up the brightness of your keyboard.
F7 The next three buttons are particularly useful when you are using your Mac DVD player. This key rewinds and skips back through your films.
F8 This is the Play and Pause button.
F9 This button fast forwards and skips ahead in the film.
F10 This key displays a single lampshade looking symbol. This is to instantly Mute any sounds.
F11 This Turns Downs the volume.
F12 This last F number key Turns Up the volume.
However there is a spanner in the works… Like many of the Mac keyboard shortcuts, the F keys can also be assigned different function in various programs and softwares. This is a handy feature but what if you want to use it to perform the original functions (Turn Down volume or screen brightness)?
Well don’t worry there is an easy way around this problem. First hold down Fn key and then go ahead and tap the function key you want. You will find the Fn key nestled on the bottom left of your keyboard. Holding down this key essentially tells your Mac, “Ignore the newly assigned program functions and just behave like a normal.”