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

10.7: Adjusting display brightness with multiple displays Laptop Macs
This is more of an FYI than a deep hint. Apparently in Lion, you can now adjust the screen brightness of your Mac even if it's the secondary display in a dual monitor setup.

I'm using an i7 15" MacBook Pro, and before Lion, if my laptop was set as the secondary display, the brightness buttons on my Apple external keyboard didn't work. The brightness buttons only worked if the display was set as the primary display. Now it works if the laptop is a secondary display.

[crarko adds: This is pretty specific. If folks would be kind enough to try a few other configurations and post the results, that could help this prove to be more generally useful.]
    •    
  • Currently 2.11 / 5
  You rated: 3 / 5 (9 votes cast)
 
[25,619 views]  

10.7: Adjusting display brightness with multiple displays | 14 comments | Create New Account
Click here to return to the '10.7: Adjusting display brightness with multiple displays' hint
The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
10.7: Adjusting display brightness with multiple displays
Authored by: neofactor on Jan 18, '12 08:23:05AM

Under Snow Leopard - I did not have any issues having my MacBook Pro 15 2.2 i7 change brightness using the extended keyboard. So... Lion behaves the same for me.. just works.

Not sure why you had a different experience. Glad it is working now for you.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Yup
Authored by: hunterhicks on Jan 18, '12 08:26:17AM

I noticed the exact same thing. 2.2 Santa Rosa C2D with an external monitor set as the primary.
Buttons now work on my wired aluminum keyboard when they didn't in the past.



[ Reply to This | # ]
10.7: Adjusting display brightness with multiple displays
Authored by: howard-ny on Jan 18, '12 08:27:27AM

Lion, MacBookPro Core 2 Duo with Apple Cinema Display, Apple (wired) external keyboard.

Here's what I discovered: The external keyboard controls the external display's brightness, regardless of which display was set to the primary (menu bar).



[ Reply to This | # ]
10.7: Adjusting display brightness with multiple displays
Authored by: capacity on Jan 18, '12 08:39:04AM
I can confirm that this works (same setup), but I have no recollection of pre-Lion behavior.

Two asides:
1) This qualifies as one of our two hints for the day? Eesh, Mac OS X Hints must be hurting.
2) It is almost impossible to post a comment here. I haven't been able to post my comment because keep getting told that I can't post because I need to wait 45 seconds between comments, but I haven't made a comment yet!

[ Reply to This | # ]
10.7: Adjusting display brightness with multiple displays
Authored by: lieb on Jan 18, '12 08:50:04AM

I use a 2011 Macbook Pro 15" as the primary display with an external Apple monitor and a USB keyboard. I find the keyboard will adjust the brightness on the secondary display only, but the MBP keyboard will adjust it's display. A little inconvenient to reach over to the laptop keyboard, but it is good to be able to adjust both displays independently.



[ Reply to This | # ]
10.7: Adjusting display brightness with multiple displays
Authored by: Herbyh on Jan 18, '12 09:10:05AM

I can adjust the brightness of my Macbook with my external keyboard even when I have a second monitor attached.

It doesn't matter which of the two screens has the menu bar and the dock (if that is what you mean by primary screen) or if they are synchronized.



[ Reply to This | # ]
10.7: Adjusting display brightness with multiple displays
Authored by: pagaille on Jan 18, '12 11:07:49AM

This leads to a question : how do I set (choose) the primary monitor ? ;-)



[ Reply to This | # ]
10.7: Adjusting display brightness with multiple displays
Authored by: sblowes on Jan 18, '12 11:12:42AM

Hold down option and hit one of the brightness keys to pull up the display settings in System Preferences (bonus hint!), then under the Arrangement tab, drag the white menu bar to whichever screen you want to be your primary.

---
To err is human, to moo is bovine



[ Reply to This | # ]
10.7: Adjusting display brightness with multiple displays
Authored by: babaloo on Jan 18, '12 12:27:43PM

In System Preferences go to Monitors > Adjust (or something alike, I run a German system).
Then drag the menubar from the currently primary monitor to another one.



[ Reply to This | # ]
10.7: Adjusting display brightness with multiple displays
Authored by: ButchAnton on Jan 18, '12 12:09:28PM

This works in 10.6 (Snow Leopard) as well.



[ Reply to This | # ]
10.7: Adjusting display brightness with multiple displays
Authored by: Lri on Jan 18, '12 10:25:45PM

Also ctrl-F1 and ctrl-F2 usually change the brightness on the other display (or external display on 10.7).



[ Reply to This | # ]
10.7: Adjusting display brightness with multiple displays
Authored by: Creggor on Jan 21, '12 02:33:12PM

Now THAT is something I never knew- Thanks!



[ Reply to This | # ]
10.7: Adjusting display brightness with multiple displays
Authored by: theOtter on Apr 30, '12 05:26:17AM
Now the question is how to change the brightness on a tertiary display. My 17″ MacBook Pro (Early 2011) is hooked up to a dual Thunderbolt Display configuration. So far, hereís what Iíve found:
  • F1 on the MacBook keyboard: decrease brightness on built-in display
  • F2 on the MacBook keyboard: increase brightness on built-in display
  • ^F1 on the MacBook keyboard: decrease brightness on Thunderbolt Display 1
  • ^F2 on the MacBook keyboard: increase brightness on Thunderbolt Display 1
  • F14 on the Apple Pro Keyboard: decrease brightness on Thunderbolt Display 1
  • F15 on the Apple Pro Keyboard: increase brightness on Thunderbolt Display 1
Unfortunately, there doesnít seem to be any way to change the brightness on Thunderbolt Display 2. Iíve tried every combination of modifier keys and F14/F15 I can think of; the only ones that do anything are ⌥F14 and ⌥F15, which each bring up Displays in System Preferences. Unfortunately, thereĎs not even a slider for TBD2! Thoughts?
---
Aunque el mono se vista de seda, mono se queda.


[ Reply to This | # ]
10.7: Adjusting display brightness with multiple displays
Authored by: Ruprik on Feb 09, '13 04:40:13PM

On an Apple Cinema LED display, be sure that the USB port is plugged into your Mac and use shift F1 (display dim) and shift F2 (display bright) for the external monitor, just F1 and F2 for the primary monitor (or laptop display). On the Thunderbolt display, this works the same but no USB cable is present (or required).



[ Reply to This | # ]