Submit Hint Search The Forums LinksStatsPollsHeadlinesRSS
14,000 hints and counting!

Use a MacBook with the main display off, revisited Laptop Macs
There's an old tip here on how to use your MacBook with the main display off -- i.e. just using an external monitor. However, it requires that you have USB things to plug in, and it's a pain. This way is much easier.

With your display on both main and external monitors, start closing the laptop lid, but don't close it all the way. Get it so that there's a finger's depth between the lid and the palm rests. The MacBook should go to sleep, thinking you've shut it. Now reach underneath the lid and start pressing some keys -- the right arrow key is easiest to reach. You may have to bend the lid up a bit, but as long as it doesn't turn at the back, the MacBook won't think you're trying to open it again.

After pressing the keys a few times, the computer will wake from sleep and will reconfigure the display so that the main display is off. Now you can open the MacBook lid as far as you like -- I have it at about 30 degrees so I can type, but it doesn't get in the way of the monitor. And there you go! It might not work the first time, but it does work. I can now have my MacBook's screen off without any pesky USB switching.
    •    
  • Currently 3.92 / 5
  You rated: 4 / 5 (13 votes cast)
 
[71,874 views]  

Use a MacBook with the main display off, revisited | 16 comments | Create New Account
Click here to return to the 'Use a MacBook with the main display off, revisited' hint
The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Use a MacBook with the main display off, revisited
Authored by: juanfal on May 04, '07 08:02:24AM

I don't understand where the problem is. I every day go to my work, take off my PowerBook (is the same for MacBook) and without open it I plug in it the ethernet wire, my extended macallyKeyboard+MightMouse usb, and finally the DVI monitor. My PB doesn't wake up until I finally plug-in the PowerAdaptor. I always left this until the end, since then the waking up is made only once after I have plugin the external monitor.

It is clear that the computer doesn't recognize the USB devices until it is externally powered. This is very appropriate and convenient for me and the total process is very confortable and very fast. No need at all to open ever the computer ;)



[ Reply to This | # ]
Use a MacBook with the main display off, revisited
Authored by: FunkDaddy on May 04, '07 08:02:44AM

I just use the remote, hold down the play/pause button until the machine sleeps, then shut the display, then press the play/pause button to wake up. Then you can open the lid without the screen on.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Use a MacBook with the main display off, revisited
Authored by: mantrid on May 04, '07 08:14:27AM

Bend the lip without turning the hinge?

Although anecdotal, there are a few reports on the web that MacBook (not MacBook Pro) LCDs might be susceptible to cracking in response to even slight, normal-use pressure on the casing. Repairs under warranty are being refused because a cracked LCD in itself is supposedly evidence of abuse, despite the complete absence of any evidence physical damage on the outside casing.

Again, the reports are anecdotal, but if there is a design flaw or even just a bad batch of LCDs, the existence of this hint might give them another reason to brush off complaints of spontaneously cracking LCD as abuse.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Why not use SleepLess
Authored by: loftzon on May 04, '07 08:15:41AM

Why don't you guys just use SleepLess? It's just 10 bucks and relieves A LOT of hassle. It means you can turn off the internal screen without putting the computer to sleep, and turn it on again if you need extra screen-estate. I have the same setup.. I use a MBP with an external monitor and i highly recommend this program.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Why not use SleepLess
Authored by: devwild on May 04, '07 08:55:21AM

Because you shouldn't have to pay for functionality that exists on practically every other machine on the market. Apple needs to realize this is a common and painfully simple problem, and fix it. Not unlike having to pay for third party mouse drivers for OSX to get basic button and acceleration functionality.

I applaud the people who come up with fixes, but don't forget to let Apple hear your concerns.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Use Insomniax instead
Authored by: i5m on May 05, '07 12:35:31AM
Alternately...
Authored by: ethanh on May 04, '07 09:55:28AM

...go to display prefs >> arrangement, move your menu bar to the external monitor (which should also move all your desktop items), set dimness on laptop monitor to 0.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Alternately...
Authored by: g3ski on May 04, '07 10:07:19AM

you edged me out. I was just about to reply with the same.... :)

Dim the LCD.

---
"I want my two dollars!"



[ Reply to This | # ]
Use a MacBook with the main display off, revisited
Authored by: dudemac on May 04, '07 07:13:40PM

If you need to have the use of the keyboard with the attached monitor off then all you have to do is plug in the external monitor. go to preferences and make the external display the main one. ie the tool bar is on the external display. Then shut the laptop lid. This also require that the power adapter is plugged in. Now when you re-open the lid and computer wakes from the sleep the attached display will remain off while the external monitor comes on. At least this has worked on my powerbook for over two years.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Use a MacBook with the main display off, revisited
Authored by: deviantintegral on May 04, '07 08:33:44PM

If you have your system set up to allow Bluetooth devices to wake the system up, you can also have it blank the screen. However, I've yet to see a good reason to do this, as running with just one monitor doesn't seem to improve performance of games or the overall system.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Use a MacBook with the main display off, revisited
Authored by: larrybic on May 05, '07 10:56:53AM

Anyone know how to run the external monitor at full native res (1680 X 1050 in my case) with the MBP running on battery and NOT power adapter? (Perhaps move this to a new thread?) Seems like whenever the plug is pulled, the resolution drops.

The remote control method is great and for me, the easiest way to do the trick.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Use a MacBook with the main display off, revisited
Authored by: ehurtley on May 11, '07 07:48:23PM

Re: external monitor at full resolution on battery.

I've never had any such problem. Or do you mean in lid closed mode? Because the computers don't support lid-closed on battery at all. But I have run a 1600x1200 CRT monitor while on battery just fine on my MacBook Pro, as an extra display, not mirrored.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Use a MacBook with the main display off, revisited
Authored by: ehurtley on May 11, '07 07:43:31PM

Um, how would you be using the MacBook on an external display if you don't have an external keyboard or mouse? i.e. What is the point of this?

If you are using a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse, you can just set the 'Allow Bluetooth devices to wake this computer' preference, and it works just fine.

You can also wake your computer up with the Apple Remote.

I do both of these on my MacBook Pro on a regular basis, to run in 'lid closed' mode with no USB devices plugged in.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Use a MacBook with the main display off, revisited
Authored by: UniAce on May 13, '07 09:40:32AM
Thanks csugden,
This particular hint actually really DOES serve a purpose for me!

I recently started using an iSkin ProTouch keyboard cover on my MacBook ( http://iskin.com/protouchmb/ ), to prevent crud from getting under the keys (which as far as I can tell are near-impossible to clean under). It has the added benefit of "silencing" keypresses, making my typing less loud in classses and meetings.

So that's great for using the MacBook out in the world, but at home I've always plugged it into an external monitor/keyboard/mouse and run it in closed-lid mode.

But Apple warns against running the MacBook in closed-lid mode with ANYTHING on top of the keyboard:
http://www.apple.com/support/macbook/care/
"Never place anything over your keyboard when operating in closed-lid mode. This can cause your computer to cycle on and off, which might create excessive heat and drain your battery."

So I either have to remove the keyboard cover when I get home and plug the MacBook into the external monitor (a hassle), or I have to run the MacBook with the lid open and the built-in LCD wasting energy.

Yes, dimming the LCD all the way is an option, but I like csugden's hint better because it results in the LCD being ALL the way off AND letting me keep the MacBook's lid open so it doesn't overheat or whatever due to the keyboard cover.


[ Reply to This | # ]
Use a MacBook with the main display off, revisited
Authored by: mspatts on Feb 07, '08 08:13:34PM

So has anyone figured out a way to do disable the macbook lcd to use an external monitor without closing/waking/opening the lid?

I'd like to leave it open for (theoretical) heat issues, as well as because the mic/speakers work better with it open. And I only have room on my desk for my external monitor.

Firstly, my MBP is not in a very convenient location to open/close the lid often to do this. So i just want to leave it open all the time, and turn the LCD on/off via software/command. Dimming is a lame solution here.

Secondly, if i sleep my MBP, the LCD comes back on when i re-awaken it. I sleep the MBP very often when i walk away from the desk, and when i come back the LCD kicks on again. This makes it inconvenient for me since i'd have to close/wake/open all the time.

So, I'd like some software/command that I can manually toggle on/off the lcd display whenever an external display is connected.

ideas?



[ Reply to This | # ]
Use a MacBook with the main display off, revisited
Authored by: akdenton on Feb 18, '11 01:10:37AM

Anyone know how to turn the display back on once it has been turned off without restarting?



[ Reply to This | # ]