Has the Globe (fn) Key Acquired New Abilities in macOS 12?

Has the globe (fn) key acquired new abilities in macOS 12? After setting it to 'Do Nothing' in System Preferences/Keyboard it toggles fn-A 'Move Focus to the Dock', fn-C 'Control Center', fn-H 'Show Desktop', fn-N Notification Center, and opens fn-E "Show Emoji".

That setting in the Preferences tells macOS what do do when you press it by itself, not when you press it in combination with other keys. Those combination keys which you indicated are not affected by that setting because those are combination keys.

However it does seem to me that macOS now treats the FN/Globe key as a "modifier key", and I notice that KM 10 does not yet allow us to specify it as a modifier key in places like the "modifier key" condition that you can access in places like the IF action.

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Yes, some other programs allow to use the fn key as modifier and I had a number of shortcuts using it in previous macOS versions. After upgrading to macOS 12 the fn key was set to 'Change Input Source' and I had to switch it back to 'Do Nothing' in System Preferences/Keyboard. Afterwards I noticed the mentioned new shortcut combinations.

Searching the web this came up for macOS Monterey Beta 7 Update (21A5522h):


Fn (Function) shortcut modifier is deprecated and reserved for system usage. (78627099)

Maybe we should give up on the fn key and leave it to Apple?


I don't think it's up to me or you as to whether KM will support it as a modifier. Currently, KM does not support it as a modifier.

As far as I am aware, the Fn/Globe key remains not a modifier as far as the system Hot Key API is concerned despite its additional behaviours.

That was my understanding of the deprecation note. This way Apple gets a full keyboard of private shortcuts for future use. Interestingly, no new shortcuts like for Night Shift, Dark Mode but duplicates (Fn-A 'Move Focus to the Dock', fn-H 'Show Desktop', fn-N Notification Center, and fn-E "Show Emoji") of different shortcuts that have been available for a long time.


Yes, unfortunately, Apple prefer to keep things for themselves rather than make APIs they use and allow others to use as well.