Apple Keyboard

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More Information

For background information see this page:

Note: Some of the settings can be made permanent with a configuration file for a kernel module. For this to work, the file hast to be added to FILES in mkinitcpio.conf cause the kernel module will be autoloaded while booting.
Tip: If you want to use sudo to write into a system directory you can't use shell redirection. Use tee like so
$ echo 0 | sudo tee /sys/module/hid_apple/parameters/iso_layout

Function keys do not work

If your F<num> keys do not work, this is probably because the kernel driver for the keyboard has defaulted to using the media keys and requiring you to use the Fn key to get to the F<num> keys. To change this behaviour, you have to change the driver setting. Do the following as root:

# echo 2 > /sys/module/hid_apple/parameters/fnmode

If it tells you that the file doesn't exist, you probably have an older kernel and will have to do the following instead:

# echo 2 > /sys/module/hid/parameters/pb_fnmode

Place whatever option worked for you in /etc/modprobe.d/hid_apple.conf to make the setting permanent.

If the above doesn't work for your wireless keyboard

If hid_apple/parameters and/or hid/parameters/pb_fnmode is missing in a recent Apple Bluetooth keyboard model and kernel 3.4.

First thing: identify your keyboard. Execute as root (hidd is part of package bluez from the official repositories):

# hidd --show

You should see something like:

40:CA:EC:32:85:AB Apple Wireless Keyboard [05ac:0255] connected 

So with the vendor (05ac) and device (0255) ID it's easier to find out if the current kernel has support for it. Actually, the above device is listed in the linux kernel 3.4. If you check drivers/hid/hid-ids.h you should see the following line:


But support for the Function Key is missing.

In order to fix it rebuild your kernel from abs with the following patch:

This bug is already reported upstream and part of the vanilla kernel since 3.5

< and > have changed place with § and ½

If the < and > are switched with the § and ½ keys, run the following command in your graphical environment:

$ setxkbmap -option apple:badmap

Place that command into ~/.bashrc file to have it run automatically when you log in.

You can also apply the change system-wide by creating (or editing) /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/10-keymap.conf as such:

Section "InputClass"
    Identifier "keyboard catchall"
    MatchIsKeyboard "true"
    Driver "evdev"
    Option "XkbOptions" "apple:badmap"

If the above approach doesn't seem to work, you can add these two lines to your ~/.Xmodmap file:

keycode  49 = less greater less greater bar brokenbar
keycode  94 = section degree section degree notsign notsign

If you use a Canadian multilingual layout (where the "ù" and the "/" is switch) use this :

keycode  94 = slash backslash slash backslash bar brokenbar
keycode  49 = ugrave Ugrave ugrave Ugrave notsign notsign

Then run xmodmap ~/.Xmodmap. This command can also go into ~/.bashrc.

< and > have changed place with ^ and °

With German layout, circumflex/degree symbol and 'smaller than'/'bigger than' are exchanged.

The new way:

First, try if the new method works for you (you have to be root)

# echo 0 > /sys/module/hid_apple/parameters/iso_layout

To make the changes permanent add the following line to /etc/modprobe.d/hid_apple.conf:

options hid_apple iso_layout=0

To fix this the old way, do the following:

$ xmodmap -e 'keycode 49 = less greater less greater bar brokenbar bar' -e 'keycode 94 = dead_circumflex degree dead_circumflex degree U2032 U2033 U2032'

Now try your keys. When it works, you may want the change permanently. So execute this:

$ xmodmap -pke | grep " 49" >> ~/.Xmodmap
$ xmodmap -pke | grep " 94" >> ~/.Xmodmap

Media Keys

The evdev driver should produce keycodes that map to the appropriate keysyms for your media keys by default. You can confirm that by running xev in a console window and watching the console output as you press your media keys.

For these keys to have any effect, you will have to assign actions to them. Refer to Extra Keyboard Keys in Xorg for more about that.

If you have confirmed that your media keys are not producing the correct keycodes, create or edit the ~/.Xmodmap file so that it includes these lines:

keycode 160 = XF86AudioMute
keycode 176 = XF86AudioRaiseVolume
keycode 174 = XF86AudioLowerVolume

keycode 144 = XF86AudioPrev
keycode 162 = XF86AudioPlay
keycode 153 = XF86AudioNext

keycode 101 = XF86MonBrightnessDown
keycode 212 = XF86MonBrightnessUp

keycode 204 = XF86Eject

and then run xmodmap ~/.Xmodmap. Place that command in the ~/.bashrc file to have it run automatically when you log in.

PrintScreen and SysRq

Apple Keyboards have an F13 key instead of a PrintScreen/SysRq key. This means that Alt+SysRq sequences do not work, and application actions associated with PrintScreen (such as taking screenshots in many games that work under Wine) do not work. Both issues can be addressed by installing keyfuzzAUR from the Arch User Repository.

With keyfuzz installed, run the following command:

echo "458856 99" | /usr/sbin/keyfuzz -s -d /dev/input/by-id/usb-Apple__Inc_Apple_keyboard-event-kbd

458856 (0x070068) is the scancode of F13, and 99 is the keycode of PrintScreen/SysRq. You can determine the scancode of a particular key with getscancodesAUR from the AUR, and the keycode from /usr/include/linux/input.h.

Other versions of the Apple Aluminum Keyboard may require a slightly different device path, so adjust it as needed. You can make this change permanent by putting the command in /etc/rc.local.

Treating Apple Keyboards Like Regular Keyboards

If you want to use your Apple keyboard like a regular US-layout keyboard, with Alt on the left side of Meta, you can use the AUR package un-apple-keyboardAUR. Currently it only works for the aluminium USB model. The package does the following things:

  • Adds a /etc/modprobe.d/hid_apple.conf file which enables the F keys by default, as above.
  • Uses keyfuzz to remap F13-15 to PrintScreen/SysRq, Scroll Lock, and Pause, respectively
  • Swaps the ordering of the Alt and Meta (Command) keys to match all other keyboards, again using keyfuzz.
  • Applies these changes automatically when you plug in your keyboard, with a udev rule.

You will need to add /etc/modprobe.d/hid_apple.conf to FILES in mkinitcpio.conf. Otherwise if you boot your computer with the Apple keyboard plugged in, the F keys will not be the default.

You also need to enable keyfuzz to run after system start to take effect of Alt and Command swap

$ systemctl enable keyfuzz