How to Turn On Keyboard Light on MacBook Pro in 2023 – Easy Steps

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Turning on the keyboard light on your MacBook Pro is as easy as pie. All you need to do is go into your Mac’s System Preferences (System Settings on macOS Ventura and above), then Keyboard, and check the “Adjust keyboard brightness in low light” option. 

I am a tech enthusiast who loves tinkering with macOS systems. Throughout the years, I’ve played around with my MacBook Pro and hope to share some handy tips on using your MacBook the right way.

In this article, I’ll go over several different ways to turn on the keyboard light on a MacBook Pro, step by step. You’ll also learn a few fixes if the backlight isn’t working properly.

Stick around to find out just how easy it is.

How to Turn On Keyboard Light on MacBook Pro

To turn on the keyboard light on your MacBook Pro, all you need to do is go into your Mac’s System Preferences (System Settings on macOS Ventura and above), then Keyboard, and check the “Adjust keyboard brightness in low light” option.

Step-By-Step Guide on How to Turn the Keyboard Light On Your MacBook Pro

To turn keyboard lights on your MacBook Pro, you need to follow these simple steps:

Step 1: Click the Apple menu and select “System Preferences (System Settings on macOS Ventura and above).”

Step 2: Click on “Keyboard” from the pane.

Step 3: Make sure this option “Adjust keyboard brightness in low light” is checked.

See? It’s as easy as that. The “Keyboard Brightness” setting is a tool that allows you to adjust the brightness on your MacBook automatically. This means that the laptop will automatically turn the backlights on and off. 

During the day, the Mac keyboard will remain dimmer and increase the brightness during the night.

But there are also manual ways to adjust the keyboard brightness settings on your MacBook. To do that, head to the “Control Center” on the top right corner, click on it and select “Keyboard Brightness.” 

Then drag the sidebar to the desired brightness level. 

Another way to do it is to press the brightness key on your keyboard to increase and the decrease brightness key to decrease. If you want to fully turn on the backlighting, keep pressing the decrease key.

This option will be different depending on the MacBook Air or Pro model you’re using. For some models, these two keys are represented by the “F5” and “F6” keys. For other newer models, there are specific keys that turn the lights on and off.

Why is Keyboard Brightness Useful?

With the backlights on, it’s harder to make mistakes since you aren’t typing blindly. And if you’re like me, you’re presumably using your MacBook in a dimly lit room or at night quite often. Apple knows that it can be hard to see the keys in such situations. 

So, continuing the trend of having a fancy RGB keyboard, Apple makes it easier to see the keys with the keyboard backlight turned on. But this feature does come at a cost. Specifically, having the keyboard backlights turned on all the time drains the battery.

Even though LED is a very energy-efficient lighting technology, it does use your laptop’s battery. So I suggest you turn the setting off whenever using your laptop in broad daylight or in a brightly lit room.

For some of you, turning the setting off can make all the difference, especially if you’re using the MacBook for a lecture, working at a cafe, using an external keyboard, or watching a movie with no power outlet nearby.

Why Won’t My MacBook Pro Keyboard Light Up?

Despite Apple building a nearly perfect device, sometimes the MacBook keyboard doesn’t light up. In my experience, there could be a few causes. 

It could be due to a faulty sensor, no support for keyboard backlighting, or something else entirely. Here is how to troubleshoot the solution.

Method 1: Adjusting the Light Sensor

Every MacBook Pro and Air that supports this feature has a sensor located on top of the screen. The sensor serves a simple purpose – to disable backlighting when not necessary. There is a simple reason why the sensor might be acting faulty. 

It usually comes down to direct exposure to sunlight or bright lights. When this happens, the sensor tells the OS that there is no need for backlighting. 

The problem can be easily solved if you take your MacBook away from the source of light so the sensor doesn’t give a faulty reading.

Method 2: Reset System Management Controller (SMC)

Newer models of MacBook Air and Pro have support for backlighting. And Apple says that every MacBook product has this feature. So why is it that your laptop might not support this feature? To easily troubleshoot it, you will need to reset SMC.

To do that, follow these simple steps from Apple or watch this YouTube video:

By doing these steps, you will be manually resetting the SMC. The SMC controls some hardware features, and that includes backlighting. By resetting it, you are resetting the backlighting system.


To summarize, turning on the keyboard light on your MacBook Pro is very easy to do. By going into the settings and ticking off a few boxes, you’ll fix this problem in no time. There are also easy steps to troubleshoot any problem with the backlighting. 

While this feature is handy, you shouldn’t leave it on all the time, as it can drain the battery. What I recommend is to let the macOS adjust the brightness levels automatically. From there, you can manually increase and decrease the brightness levels as you see fit.

About Eric
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Eric currently uses a 15-inch MacBook Pro for both work and personal errands. He did all the research and testing to make sure all the fixes and optimization tips shared on the blog are relevant to Apple’s latest macOS updates as well as fact-checking.

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