Switching from a previous generation MacBook Air or Pro to the recently released MacBook Air with the Apple M1 processor? In this case, you’ll notice a small but interesting change to the new MacBook Air’s keyboard. The MacBook Air 2020 keyboard with Apple’s silicone chip features dedicated keys for Spotlight, Dictation and Do Not Disturb. The new function keys replace the brightness controls on the Intel MacBook launch pad and keyboard.

Spotlight, Dictation, and Do Not Disturb feature keys on the new MacBook Air m1 MacBook Air (M1) with new feature keys

However, this change does not apply to the new MacBook Pro M1, as it has a touchpad instead of a function bar. This minor revision may be of interest to current MacBook users, who will be upgrading to the MacBook Air M1 in late 2020. That’s because you can’t manually adjust the brightness of the MacBook Air M1’s keyboard using the traditional F5 and F6 keys.

Don’t worry about it. You can always change the brightness of the backlit keyboard on the MacBook Air M1 with MacOS Big Sur. The only downside is that you can no longer use the physical keys to adjust the keyboard brightness or turn the keyboard backlight on/off. Let’s see how it can be done.

Turning the keyboard backlight on and off on MacBook Air M1

  1. Click the Control Center icon in the menu bar at the top right of your Mac. By default, the icon is located between Spotlight and the Siri icon. Control Center in the menu bar under MacOS Big Sur .
  2. Press the Brightness button on the keyboard. Adjusting the brightness of the keyboard in the control center of a Mac .
  3. Drag the slider to increase or decrease the keyboard brightness at your convenience. Manual keyboard brightness adjustment on the m1 air 2020 notebook

Here’s how. You can also adjust the brightness of the screen yourself via the control center without using the keyboard.

To turn off the keyboard backlight on the MacBook Air M1, drag the slider to level 0. The backlight of the keyboard will then be turned off.

TIP 1 : Drag the keyboard brightness control from the Control Center to the menu bar for quicker access.

Adding keyboard brightness to the menu bar on a Mac

You can also go to System Preferences > Dock and Menu Bar and select the keyboard brightness in the sidebar. Then activate the Show option in the menu bar.

Dock and menu bar settings on a Mac

TYPE NO. 2 : Don’t want your MacBook to automatically adjust the keyboard brightness according to environmental conditions? In this case, go to System Preferences > Keyboard. Clear the Adjust keyboard brightness in low light check box.

macOS keyboard settings

To turn on the MacBook Air M1keyboard keys

Here is an alternative method for users who often change the keyboard brightness and rarely use the Dictation or Do Not Disturb feature.

In this case, you can select the transfer keys on your MacBook Air. Please follow the steps below.

  1. Download and install Karabiner Elements, a powerful and stable keyboard customizer for macOS.
  2. Start the Carabiner Elements application.
  3. Go to System Preferences > Security and Privacy > Privacy. Select Input Monitoring from the left pane and click the padlock icon at the bottom to make changes.
  4. Check the karabiner_grabber and karabiner_observer application to give them the necessary permissions to work. Permission to use carabiner attachments on MacBook Air 2020
  5. Restart the rifle and open the Function Keys tab. You’ll notice that the default profile makes no changes, except to replace the F5 and F6 keys with the original key combinations. Reassigning the brightness control keys on the MacBook Air M1 keyboard
  6. Simply press the F5 and F6 keys to increase or decrease the keyboard brightness.

Tip via [Reddit].

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