MacBook Pro (with TouchBar) Function Key Support?


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Am I the only one having problems getting Function Keys to work on a MacBook Pro (with the Touch Bar feature)?  They didn't work on my 2016 model, and still don't work on my new 2018 model.  Function Keys do perform their expected behaviors as assigned by the operating system, but not as "Hotkeys" assigned within Chief Architect.  I am concluding that CA has not tested or remedied Function Key behaviors on Mac notebooks newer than 2015, and that they must not be supported on these newer Macs.  Am I wrong about this?  Please tell me I'm wrong about this...

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After investigating and trading observations with Cameron Lacombe (Chief Architect Technical Support), who diligently stayed with me trading countless replies to the end, it seems that we had both misunderstood a feature of the Mac OS regarding Function Key specifications in the System Preferences, so I’ll answer my own question by summarizing our discovery here in hope that it helps someone else …


Function Key operating system-wide behavior defaults can be set in the “System Preferences >> Keyboard >> Shortcuts” dialog, allowing any Function Key to be assigned any typical behavior of the operator’s choice.  


On a MacBook Pro with the “Touch Bar” feature, the function keys are not physical buttons but are simply displayed on the touch bar when they are needed.  The typical display shows the possible choices of any application’s current state.  But, via the "Function Key" setting, that behavior can be changed to force the display of the typical function key names (F1 through F12) for any specified application.  My misunderstanding was that this setting was telling the OS that the noted app could override the system's specified defaults with its own behaviors.  NOT TRUE, it seems!  it looks like having an application listed in the Function Keys section only changes the display of the keys, nothing more.  In actuality, it is only used as a toggle so that the function keys are readily visible within the specified application.  But, the behavior of the function keys is set by the System Preferences dialog, which then overrides the behavior desired by the application!  Whatever shortcuts are specified elsewhere in “System Preferences >> Keyboard >> Shortcuts” are what gets used. Period. Not the way I would have written it, but they didn't ask me.


Therefore, years ago when I set my function keys to do the things I wanted them to do, I was unknowingly also disabling Chief from being able to do what Chief wants to do.  VERY CONFUSING, when in the middle of something and the Hotkeys don’t do what the menus say they do!


The bottom line is that MacOS has a preference setting for specifying custom Function Key shortcuts, and if those are set they're simply overriding what any other application can do with those shortcuts, and there's nothing Chief Architect can do to change that; Chief merely accepts key input and performs the appropriate action.  This makes no logical sense to me, so if I ever discover differently I'll try to update this answer.


Your only choice, it seems, is to change your System Preferences, or change the Chief Architect hotkeys under “Tools >> Toolbars and Hotkeys >> Customize Hotkeys” to something that looks similar to what Chief menus indicate (like “Shift+F9” instead of just “F9”), but that will assuredly lead to further confusion.


Anyway, be careful out there … 

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