I disabled Secure Boot in BIOS and reinstalled Ubuntu 18.10. I followed the steps described in the following link to modify the grub. However, after executing sudo update-grub and rebooted the system, I still cannot change the brightness using the function keys.

Brightness key not working Ubuntu 16.04 LTS

  • @lovedrinking See thinkwiki for possible solutions - special keys and LCD Brightness. It should work if correctly set-up. But I think that it should work out-the-box. ThinkPads are linux-friendly.
    – N0rbert
    Oct 27 '18 at 8:11
  • How come? Is there a way to make the brightness keys work? I installed the latest Nvidia driver but it doesn’t help. Oct 27 '18 at 8:31
  • Any resolution? I've seen people mention that it works on PopOS!, which is an Ubuntu derivative, so I wonder why it doesn't work on Ubuntu.
    – Ibrahim
    Nov 7 '18 at 7:34
  • I installed Ubuntu 18.10 and then installed the automatically suggested nVidia proprietary drivers using ubuntu-drivers autoinstall in recovery mode, and my brightness keys work fine. I also switched to LightDM instead of GDM3 but that was more because locking the screen was not working properly with GDM3, I think the brightness keys still worked. I also have the 4k screen.
    – Ibrahim
    Nov 9 '18 at 8:07
  • with ubuntu 18.04 on the X1 extreme I installd sudo ubuntu-drivers autoinstall as mentioned by @Ibrahim and rebooted. (I noticed it was a little dim) The screen got brighter, but the function keys for brightness still don't work.
    – monkut
    Feb 11 '19 at 4:53

Ok, I've figured it out for me, at least with ubuntu 18.04 as of 2/11/2019.

  1. Install ubuntu nvidia drivers:

    # use auto-install (as mentioned by @Ibrahim)
    sudo ubuntu-drivers autoinstall
  2. Edit the GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT entry in the /etc/default/grub to the following:

    GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="quiet splash nvidia.NVreg_EnableBacklightHandler=1"
  3. Update grub configuration after edit and save:

    sudo update-grub
  4. Reboot:

    sudo reboot

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