The new MacBook Air and MacBook Pro with Apple M1 chips have been out for a while and everyone seems to like Apple’s new processor and its capabilities. While Apple has more or less kept the same design for the new MacBooks, there is one major change. The Cupertino giant has removed the shortcut keys for adjusting keyboard brightness and replaced them with shortcuts for Spotlight, DND and Dictation. So, if you are wondering how to change keyboard backlight brightness, here is how to adjust keyboard brightness in M1 MacBook Air and MacBook Pro.

Change Keyboard Brightness in M1 MacBook Air and Pro

Even though Apple has removed the shortcut keys, there are plenty of ways to adjust the keyboard brightness on your new MacBook M1. In this article, we will discuss all the methods to change keyboard light and turn on/off keyboard light in MacBook Air M1. Moreover, we will also tell you how to recover these shortcut keys on your new Mac.

As usual, you can use the table of contents below to jump to a particular section of this article.

Adjust keyboard brightness with Control Center

The easiest way to change your Mac keyboard backlight is to use the macOS Big Sur Control Center. Here’s what you need to do.

  • Click the Control Center icon in the menu bar.
  • Click on “Keyboard Brightness”
  • Drag the slider to adjust the keyboard brightness on your MacBook Air/Pro M1.

Add keyboard brightness setting to menu bar

If you need to adjust the brightness of your Apple laptop’s keyboard very often, doing so through the Control Center might be too much work. In this case, you can add the brightness menu to your Mac’s menu bar.

  • Click the Control Center icon in the menu bar.
  • Drag and drop the “Keyboard Brightness” option to your menu bar.

Alternatively, you can go to ‘System Preferences -> Dock & Menubar -> Keyboard Brightness‘ and check the box next to ‘Show in menu bar’.

You can now click this icon in the menu bar to change the brightness of the keyboard without going to the Control Center each time.

Recover Keyboard Brightness Shortcut Keys on MacBook M1

If you just want to use keyboard shortcut keys to adjust the brightness of your Mac, you can do that too. However, it takes a bit of work. Here’s what you need to do.

  • Install the carabiner elements (To free) on your MacBook and run it.
  • Your Mac may show an error saying “System Extension Blocked”. Click “Open Security Preferences”.
  • Click the lock icon and enter your password or use Touch ID to unlock.
  • Now click on “Allow”.
  • Launch the Karabiner Elements application and click on the “Open Security & Privacy System Preferences” button in the pop-up window that appears on the screen.
  • Enable both ‘karabiner_observer’ and ‘karabiner_grabber’.
  • Quit Karabiner Elements and relaunch it. Click “Function Keys” in the top navigation bar. You will see that he changed F5 and F6 to decrease and increase the illumination of your Mac keyboard.

Now you can use F5 and F6 to adjust keyboard brightness on your MacBook M1. Karabiner also automatically changes the F4 key to “Launchpad” by the way. If you prefer to keep it just for Spotlight, you can easily change it from the Karabiner Elements app.

To note: You can use Karabiner Elements to remap your Mac keyboard pretty much the way you want.

Disable auto-brightness for keyboard backlight

By default, your Mac will automatically adjust keyboard brightness in low-light situations. It’s actually good for improving battery life, but if you don’t want that to happen on its own, here’s how you can disable the feature.

  • Go to System Preferences -> Keyboard.
  • Uncheck the “Adjust keyboard brightness in low light” box.

That’s it. Your Mac will no longer automatically adjust the keyboard brightness for you.

Easily adjust keyboard brightness on your Mac

These are the methods you can use to change the keyboard brightness on your new MacBook M1. Personally, I feel like using Karabiner Elements is a bit overkill, but that’s because I don’t usually adjust the keyboard brightness very often. Going into Control Center and adjusting the keyboard brightness works fine for me.

What do you think? Do you agree with the new method to adjust keyboard brightness on your laptop? Or do you prefer dedicated shortcut keys instead? Let us know in the comments.