Your Mac has some secret shortcuts that you won't want to miss

Apple Magic Keyboard
(Image credit: iMore)

Sure you can use your Mac's mouse or trackpad to get around and there are buttons that do all kinds of things in macOS Sonoma. But moving a pointer around the screen isn't always the most economical way to get things done, especially if you have a large monitor where moving from one corner to the next can take some work.

That's where using keyboard shortcuts can come in so handy. A couple of keypresses can be all it takes to activate some of the most common functions on your Mac, whether that's maximizing a window, opening Control Center, or something else entirely. And there are plenty of app-specific keyboard shortcuts to learn as well.

The problem is that there are only so many modifier keys to go around on one keyboard, and the result can be a confusing mess of keypresses that requires people to be double-jointed just to reach. But did you know that the humble fn key might be the answer? It turns out that there are a ton of special shortcuts available that require just the press of the fn key and (usually) one other to make magic happen. They often replace more convoluted shortcuts that few can actually pull off without straining something.

An fn for everything

The collection of new fn keyboard shortcuts was spotted by Adam Engst over at TidBits and there are plenty to choose from.

"Along with the options exposed in System Settings, Apple’s engineers have slipped in a bunch of additional hard-coded shortcuts," Engst explains. "Here are all of those I’ve found, many of which aren’t documented in Apple’s list of keyboard shortcuts."

What follows is a list of 15 different fn-based keyboard shortcuts including Fn-N for opening Notification Center, Fn-H for hiding all current windows to reveal the Desktop, and Fn-Q to open a new Quick Note in the Notes app. Some may be familiar with that last one, but the rest are likely to be a big surprise. For example, Fn-Up Arrow scrolls up a page, perfect for keyboards that don't have a Page Up key. Who knew? Finally, Fn-M selects the Apple menu and you can then use the arrow keys to navigate through the menu options — how cool is that? But that's just the start. Head on over to TidBits for the full list and prepare to have your time — and your fingers — saved.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.