Adjusting Volume and Brightness In Small Steps

You can adjust the volume and brightness on your Mac and iOS devices in various ways. On a Mac, you can use modifier keys along with the function keys for fine adjustments. You can also use the sliders in System Preferences. In iOS on the iPhone and iPad you can use the Control Center to make fine adjustments to volume and brightness.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: Adjusting Volume and Brightness In Small Steps.

You probably already know that you can use the function keys at the top of your Mac keyboard to control things like volume and brightness. So, for instance, you can turn the volume up and down using those buttons and you get feedback on the screen so you can see where the volume's at.

But you can also do it in finer increments using the keyboard if you hold down the Shift and Option key. Watch what happens when I have the Shift and Option key down and I use those same buttons. You can see it moves in much finer steps. Now the same thing is true with brightness. You've got Screen Brightness and you can see the big steps just hitting those keys normally. Shift and Option and you can do much finer steps.

If you have a lit keyboard, like many MacBook Pros have, you can also do the same thing there. You've got the fine steps of the lit keyboard and that was with the Shift and Option and this is without Shift and Option you've got the big steps.

Now you can control a lot of these as well if you want those fine steps but without the keyboard shortcuts there by going into System Preferences. For instance, under Sound here I can adjust the output very carefully. Here it even gives me a percentage under there. So I can move it, basically, right down to the percent.

So how about on iOS. Well here on my iPhone X for instance I can go into Control Center and I've got the controls for volume and brightness there. So unlike the buttons which are going to go in fairly large steps, you can see each one of those is a button press, I can tap the Volume control. I actually have to tap and hold it for a second and now I can do a lot of very fine controls here with my finger. Just slowly moving it up and down getting it to exactly where I want. The same is true for brightness as well. So that's how you do it on an iPhone X and it should work that way on the iPhone 8 series and even the iPhone 7 series although I haven't tried it on those.

Here on my iPad it's very similar. I bring up Control Center from swiping up from the bottom and I can see the App Switcher as well. I can actually adjust the controls right here but it's hard to do it finely because these controls are so small. So I tap and hold and it will bring up a finer control here where I can make fine adjustments. Much finer than the steps here where I press the volume up and down button and you can see how much it jumps. But with my finger I can control it very finely.

Comments: 5 Responses to “Adjusting Volume and Brightness In Small Steps”

    Patti Smith
    1 year ago

    I don’t have that icon on my control panel for adjusting sound. How do I get it there?

    1 year ago

    Patti: Go to System Preferences, Sound, then check “Show volume in menu bar.”

    Jest Ciddn
    1 year ago

    I have OS 10.11.6 El Capitan on my iMac and I cannot locate any control for the volume other that the icon in the top bar which I can only “drag” up or down.
    Any solutions?

    1 year ago

    Jest: I believe if you are still on El Capitan, then all you get is that simple slider. You’ll need to upgrade your macOS for the latest features.

    1 year ago

    I learned something new today, thanks Gary.

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