FN Key

By Xah Lee. Date: . Last updated: .

What is the Purpose of Fn Key?

Fn key is a modifier key that when held down, other keys have special functions, such as sound volume up/down, multipedia play/pause, or screen bightness control, etc.

KEMOVE DK61 2022-03-15 pink bNJzc
Fn key (lower right) [see KEMOVE DK61 Snowfox/Shadow Keyboard]

FN key is a dead horse squatting in your front yard.

When you buy a keyboard, never get one that has Fn key in place of ▤ Menu key. Because, the Fn key is hardwired, you cannot remap in Operating System. If you don't like its preset multimedia functions, it becomes a useless key on one of the most useful spot.

History of the FN Key on Laptops

I think the FN key originally began on laptop keyboards.

At least as early as the ThinkPad 360PE keyboard, year 1994.

It also appeared on Apple laptop keyboard, earliest i found is 2003. Apple iBook G4 (year 2003)

The Fn key was created as a modifier key to control sound level up/down, or screen brightness.

History of the FN Key on External Keyboards

I think Apple is the first to introduce fn key on their standalone keyboards. First one is probably Apple Wireless Keyboard. Year 2007.

Apple did this, probably so that their keyboards would have identical in configuration, regardless its laptop or not.

[see Apple Laptop Keyboards]

I think logitech followed up, and popularized the FN key on external keyboards , beginning around 2009.

Logitech adopted the fn key, probably because:

[see Logitech Non-Gaming Keyboards]

Xah Keyboard Guide