Auto Adjust Keyboard Brightness in Ubuntu Macbook via Lightum

September 2, 2013 — 1 Comment

Macbook keyboard backlightRunning Ubuntu on a Macbook based laptop? Well, here’s a way to automatically control the keyboard brightness and screen backlight via Lightum deamon.

Lightum is a MacBook automatic light sensor daemon, it reads data from the ambient light sensor (located on the iSight camera) and automatically light up or dim the keyboard brightness and screen backlight.

It will also dim the keyboard brightness and screen backlight when the computer is not used for a configurable amount of seconds.

If you choose to run it in “manual” mode, it will not query the ambient light sensor, but instead it will use the brightness and backlight values you set manually using the function keys.

There’s also an indicator applet available to control lightum from your desktop panel.

lightum indicator

Install Lightum in Ubuntu:

If you’re on Ubuntu 12.04 Precise and its derivatives, press Ctrl+Alt+T on your keyboard to open terminal. When it opens, run below commands one by one to install it from PPA:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:poliva/lightum-mba

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get update lightum lightum-indicator

For Ubuntu 13.10, Ubuntu 13.04 and other editons, download and install the DEBs (not tested):

lightum_2.3.1-ubuntu1_i386.deb (32-bit)

lightum_2.3.1-ubuntu1_amd64.deb (64-bit)


For more, see lightum on github

I'm a freelance blogger who started using Ubuntu 5+ years ago and wishes to share my experiences and some useful tips with Ubuntu beginners and lovers. Please notify me if you find any typo/grammar/language mistakes. English is not my native language. Contact me on Google Plus or email to

One response to Auto Adjust Keyboard Brightness in Ubuntu Macbook via Lightum

  1. Lightum didn’t work for me in 13.10, so I started using Lighter instead. It works like a charm, even better than Lightum in certain cases.

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