Drop Monitor Brightness To Zero, Reduce Energy Costs [OS X Tips]

Drop Monitor Brightness To Zero, Reduce Energy Costs [OS X Tips]

Just think of all that time you spend managing your monitor. There are Energy Saver preferences, Screen Savers, and the like to keep your energy usage lower and less costly. Today’s tip is the most easy and least time consuming way to do so that we’ve seen.

Take a look at your keyboard. If you have one of the more recent Apple-brand wired keyboards, it looks a lot like the one above. It will still work, though, if you have another type, including the Apple wireless keyboard.

To reduce your monitor’s brightness to zero, simply press the keys Shift-Control-Eject. Your monitor’s brightness will drop to zero, looking like you just turned off your MAc. You didn’t, though, as everything is running under there just fine. You’re not putting the Mac to sleep, or even sleeping the monitor. Just, you know, making it zero bright, if that’s even a term.

Let us know what you think of this simple tip in the comments below.

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  • Lorenzo Puppo

    Simple and effective, I always do that on my MBAir, when I leave it for a short while.

  • Joe Gillick

    Works Great! Click any key to bring the lights back on.

  • Barry_Dwyer_

    Think my way is easier:

    System Preferences > Mission Control > Hot Corners
    Change the top right hand hot corner to  “Put Display To Sleep”
    You just have to park you mouse pointer now in the top right hand side of the screen to sleep the screen.
    Saves power when you’re on battery on a macbook, but more handy if you want a bit of privacy quickly when someone appears. Also, very useful for protools/music when you want to concentrate on listening to something without being distracted by the screen.
    Easier than keyboard command and you can do it with one finger!
  • Paul Lloyd Johnson

    Like someone else said hot corners can do this too. I have my top left corner as my display sleep corner and have done for years!

  • Lance Hall

    Can someone explain why doing this disables my ability to remote into my mac from another mac on my LAN? Screen off = No remote fun. Screen on = No problems. 

  • joewaylo

    or if you’re like me and have a Mac Mini hooked up to a television but not using it right now, just turn the TV off and you’ll save money on electricity.

  • xMoonDevilx

    Got a real easy one….press and hold the Dim button (of brightness and dim icons on typical Fn buttons) until screen goes black. Press/Hold the Brightness button to get it back.
    Hot Corners works fastest and easiest though.

  • Thom Drew

    For years in OS X I’ve been doing a similar thing by using hot corners, which in Lion is under:

    System Preferences > Mission Control > Hot Corners
    You can then choose “Put display to sleep” in your preferred corner, so when you shove the cursor in said corner, the display will go to black.
  • Walter Disney
    I have to disagree with the article that this command is not “even sleeping the monitor” for that is exactly what it is doing since the behavior to restore screen brightness, moving the mouse or pressing a key, is exactly the same as either using the hot corner sleeping option or setting your display to sleep after a certain time in the Energy Saving settings. If it really were making it “zero bright” then to recover you would have to hold down the Increase Monitor Brightness key (F2) until the brightness level matched your previous setting. That would be a much less useful feature so be thankful it is really sleeping the display. 
    As for why someone would choose this over the hot corner method, I would say it’s main advantage is that is far more difficult to accidentally invoke this feature via key command than it is to inadvertently park your mouse in a screen corner.
  • Arnie

    This is bogus.

    Every single discussion about dimming an imac monitor ends in either ctr+shift+eject, hot corners or energy saving preferences (all variations on the same action).

    THE PROBLEM is that any use or combination of the functions above (at least for me!) results in a NETWORK ACTIVITY DROP! Yes, I have tried every combination of the settings in the energy saving preferences. Yes! I have even tried running the Caffeine app. To no avail, the network activity monitor shows activity drops as soon as the monitor goes black.

    The main reason, I assume, people want to leave a computer on, but kill the monitor completely, is to DOWNLOAD OVERNIGHT (or various other less common uses).

    So lets cut to the chase – why the #$@# is there no way to simply reduce brightness to 0%? I’m looking at you, Apple. And in liue of apple giving a @#$#, is there such thing as a developer that has a) realized the actual problem here, and b) solved it be creating an app or script that ACTUALLY, SIMPLY reduces the backlight to zero.

About the author

Rob LeFebvreAnchorage, Alaska-based freelance writer and editor Rob LeFebvre is Cult of Mac's Culture Editor. He has contributed to various tech, gaming and iOS sites, including 148Apps, VentureBeat, and Paste Magazine. Feel free to find Rob on Twitter @roblef

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