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I've got a Macbook Pro with Keyboard Light brightness keys. How to I make them work?

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

Add the mactel PPA by following these instructions.

Install packages applesmc-dkms and hid-dkms.


sudo vi /usr/local/bin/keyboard-backlight and add:

VALUE=$(cat /sys/class/leds/smc::kbd_backlight/brightness)

case $1 in

if [ $TOTAL == unset ]; then
    echo "Please specify up, down, full, or off"
    exit 1

if [ $TOTAL -gt 255 ]; then TOTAL=255; fi
if [ $TOTAL -lt 0 ]; then TOTAL=0; fi 
echo $TOTAL > /sys/class/leds/smc::kbd_backlight/brightness

Followed by sudo chmod 755 /usr/local/bin/keyboard-backlight.

sudo visudo and add the line:

your_username_goes_here ALL=NOPASSWD:/usr/local/bin/keyboard-backlight up, /usr/local/bin/keyboard-backlight down

Go to System > Preferences > Keyboard Shortcuts.

Add new shortcuts:

Increase Keyboard Backlight Brightness/sudo keyboard-backlight up and

Decrease Keyboard Backlight Brightness/sudo keyboard-backlight down.

Set each to the correct key by clicking the key mapping box and pressing the key.

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Thanks, Jorge! It works with my Macbook Air (Early 2014) in Xubuntu 14.04 LTS. Thanks again! :) – Manuel Ignacio López Quintero May 18 '14 at 17:44
Actually, I wrote this. It is out of date, though. – A Student at a University Jul 3 '14 at 11:42
Thanks, I can also confirm that this is working on Xubuntu 14.04-1 on a MacBookPro 11,2. Note that I had to install applesmc-dkms from the quantal version, and failed to build/install hid-dkms but it didn't matter. – sharky Sep 6 '14 at 2:32

Install the latest Ubuntu release - 11.04 - Natty Narwhal - and keyboard backlight should work out of the box -

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Use "pomme". It is redundant (three programs all pop up to tell you that you increased your volume!), annoying, and doesn't work for me for this anyway (no effect). However, others swear by it. (Please edit this for how to make it work if you know. Bonus for turning off the redundant parts.)

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