How To Turn On Keyboard Light On MacBook Pro In 2023 – Easy Steps

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If you’re someone who frequently works late at night or in dimly lit areas struggling to see the keys on your keyboard, you can benefit from a backlit keyboard.

While MacBook Pro allows turning on the backlit keyboard, most new users struggle to find this handy feature on their system. In this guide, I have shared different methods to turn on the keyboard light on your MacBook Pro with easy steps. 

Keep reading to say goodbye to straining your eyes and hello to hassle-free typing with a backlit keyboard.

How To Turn The Keyboard Light On Your MacBook Pro

MacBook Pro’s backlit keyboard allows you to type comfortably in low-light settings and increases the visibility of the keyboard’s keys. Additionally, it’s important to remember to clean under MacBook keyboard to maintain its functionality and longevity. You can turn on the keyboard light on MacBook Pro using one of the following methods.

1. Keyboard Shortcuts (Easiest Method)

The quickest way to turn on keyboard light on MacBook Pro is to press the brightness keys on your keyboard.

There are two brightness keys on the Mac keyboard that you can use to increase and decrease the brightness. If you want to turn on the backlighting fully, keep pressing the decrease key.

These brightness keys may differ, depending on the MacBook Air or Pro model you’re using. For some models, these two keys are represented by the F1 and F2 keys while F5 and F6 keys represent them for others. Some newer models have specific keys to turn the lights on and off.

2. Keyboard Settings (Automatic Method)

The Keyboard brightness settings allow you to adjust your MacBook’s brightness automatically in low light. It means the laptop will automatically turn the backlight on and off. When this feature is enabled, the Mac laptop keyboard will remain dimmer during the day and increase brightness during the night. Here’s how you can turn on keyboard light on MacBook Pro using the automatic method:

  1. Click the Apple menu and select System Settings.
  1. Click Keyboard from the left pane.
  1. Toggle on the Adjust keyboard brightness in low light switch.

3. Control Center (Manual Method)

You can also manually adjust keyboard brightness settings on your MacBook. This provides greater control and flexibility, allowing you to optimize your experience and customize the lighting to your preference. However, you may need to add the Keyboard Brightness option to your Control Center. Here’s how to do that:

  1. Click the Apple logo in the top left corner of your screen and select System Settings.
  1. Click Control Center in the left pane.
  1. Toggle on the Show in Control Center option under Keyboard brightness in low light and in the right pane.
  1. Click the Control Center icon in the top right corner of your screen (it looks like a series of sliders). You should see the Keyboard Brightness icon here.
  1. Click the Keyboard Brightness icon and it will show a Keyboard Brightness slider. Drag it left and right to adjust the keyboard brightness level of your keyboard backlight.

4. Touch Bar (Optional)

Some MacBook Pro models have a Touch Bar that you can use to adjust the keyboard backlight. Follow these steps to turn keyboard backlight on using the Touch Bar on Mac:

  1. Locate the Touch ID button on your MacBook Pro. It’s located at the right end of the Touch Bar.
  2. Press and hold the Touch ID button for a few seconds.
  3. The Control Strip will appear on your Touch Bar. 
  4. When you expand the Control Strip, you’ll see the brightness buttons.
  5. Tap the increase brightness button and decrease brightness button to increase and decrease the brightness level.
  6. To completely turn off backlight, touch and hold the decrease brightness button.

Why Is Keyboard Brightness Useful?

Keyboard brightness on MacBook laptops is a useful feature for several reasons. It primarily enhances the user experience in low-light situations or dark environments. Here are some of the key benefits:

  1. Improved visibility: With the keyboard backlight turned on in low-light conditions or at night, you can see the keys more clearly which reduces the chances of making typing errors.
  2. Enhanced productivity: The backlit keyboard helps users work more efficiently in dimly lit environments, such as during flights, late-night work sessions, or presentations in darkened rooms.
  3. Reduced eye strain: The keyboard brightness can be adjusted to match the surrounding environment, which can help prevent eye strain and fatigue caused by squinting or struggling to see the keys in the dark.
  4. Customization: Users can adjust the keyboard brightness to their preference, allowing for a more comfortable and personalized experience.
  5. Aesthetic appeal: The backlit keyboard adds an aesthetic appeal to the MacBook design, making it visually attractive and stylish.

Why Won’t My MacBook Pro Keyboard Light Up?

Despite Apple building a nearly perfect device, sometimes the MacBook keyboard doesn’t light up. It could be due to a faulty sensor, no support for keyboard backlighting, or something else entirely. Below, you can find troubleshooting steps for this issue.

Method 1: Adjusting The Light Sensor

MacBook laptops have an ambient light sensor that automatically adjusts the display brightness and keyboard backlight based on the surrounding environment. This sensor also has a purpose to disable backlighting when not necessary.

While you cannot directly adjust the sensitivity of the light sensor, you can control the brightness settings for your screen and keyboard manually.

You can also remove your MacBook from under the light source so the sensor doesn’t give a faulty reading due to direct exposure to sunlight or bright lights. When this happens, the sensor tells the OS there is no need for backlighting and dims it or turns it off entirely.

Method 2: Reset System Management Controller (SMC)

Newer MacBook Air and Pro models have support for backlighting and Apple says every MacBook product has this feature. So, why your laptop doesn’t support this feature? There may be a number of reasons, including hardware problems.

To easily troubleshoot it, you can reset the SMC on your Mac. The SMC controls some hardware features, and that includes backlighting. By resetting it, you are resetting the backlighting system.

Follow these simple steps from Apple or watch this YouTube video to reset the SMC on your Mac.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why won’t my MacBook Pro keyboard light turn on?

Your MacBook Pro keyboard light won’t turn on due to several reasons, such as a faulty keyboard, a software issue, or a hardware issue. You may need to take your MacBook Pro to an authorized repair center to have it repaired or replaced.

How do I know if my MacBook Pro has a backlit keyboard?

All MacBook Pros have had backlit keyboards since 2012, so if you have a MacBook Pro that was released after that year, it should have a backlit keyboard.

How do I turn on the keyboard light on my MacBook Pro?

To turn on the keyboard light on your MacBook Pro, press the F6 key on your keyboard (the key may differ for different models, so its better to look for one with a sun-like icon representing brightness). If your MacBook Pro has a Touch Bar, you can also use it to turn on the keyboard light.

Can I turn on the keyboard light on my MacBook Pro using Siri?

Yes, you can turn on the keyboard light on your MacBook Pro using Siri. Simply say Hey Siri, turn on the keyboard light and Siri will turn on the keyboard light for you. However, for this to work, you must have Siri enabled on your device.

What should I do if the keyboard light on my MacBook Pro is not working?

If the keyboard light on your MacBook Pro is not working, try restarting your computer or resetting the SMC (System Management Controller) by following the instructions on the Apple support website. If the issue persists, you may need to take your MacBook Pro to an authorized repair center for further assistance.


Turning on the keyboard light on a MacBook Pro is a simple and user-friendly process that greatly enhances the user experience in low-light environments. By following the easy steps outlined in this guide, you can quickly adjust your keyboard backlight to your preferences and enjoy the benefits of improved visibility, productivity, and reduced eye strain.

Remember to customize your settings by disabling the automatic adjustment feature if you prefer more control over your display and keyboard brightness. With these tips, you’ll be well-equipped to make the most of your MacBook Pro’s keyboard lighting feature.

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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