Fixing fn button controls on your POP_OS laptop post-update 18.10

I’ve been using my XPS 13 developer machine more and more over the past few months after recently installing POP_OS (Ubuntu based with a very nice and usable Gnome 3 theme).

Last week I updated to POP_OS 18.10, which brought lots of changes. One of those unexpected changes was the function (F buttons) stopped controlling things like sound, media player, turning on/off keyboard backlighting, turning on/off wireless connectivity.

I wasn’t sure exactly what the issue was until I did some searching – it seems to be an issue on previous upgrades of Ubuntu.

This AskUbuntu article 1)Volume control on asus zenbook 3 https://askubuntu.com/questions/906303/volume-control-on-asus-zenbook-3 talks about the same issue on Ubuntu 16.10.

The fix

The fix is pretty simple. It requires you to open a terminal and edit a configuration file which controls the PulseAudio system application.

1. Open a terminal, you can do this with the keyboard controls by pressing the “super” key then T.

2. Paste into the terminal
sudo nano /usr/share/pulseaudio/alsa-mixer/paths/analog-output.conf.common
(you’ll need to enter your root password)

3. In the file, look for this below block:

[Element PCM]
switch = mute
volume = merge
override-map.1 = all
override-map.2 = all-left,all-right

and replace it with

[Element Master]
switch = mute
volume = ignore
[Element PCM]
switch = mute
volume = merge
override-map.1 = all
override-map.2 = all-left,all-right
[Element LFE]
switch = mute
volume = ignore

[Element PCM]
switch = mute
volume = merge
override-map.1 = all
override-map.2 = all-left,all-right

4. Save the file changes you’ve made, using the ctrl X keys.

5. The reboot the machine, and test them out. Your Fn keys will then be fixed!

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