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Old Jul 3, 2013, 04:35 PM   #1
pickaxe
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Is there a simple way to use only an external display?

After a lot of Googling it seems there is no native way to disable the MBA's display and make an external attached display primary (why?)

I've seen some hacky solutions around, but they don't seem to work on my 2013 MBA. I suspect this is because sleeping the display on this unit also sleeps the OS (again, why?)

So any simple way to do this?
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Old Jul 3, 2013, 04:39 PM   #2
Sebct
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can't you just turn the brightness down?

are you using external keyboard/mouse?
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Old Jul 3, 2013, 04:45 PM   #3
kohlson
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http://support.apple.com/kb/ht3131
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Old Jul 3, 2013, 04:53 PM   #4
jmoore5196
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Clamshell mode is about as simple as it gets. As I type this post, my 11" MBA is closed and tucked into a TwelveSouth BookArc.
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Old Jul 3, 2013, 05:03 PM   #5
pickaxe
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Clamshell is not a good solution because I like the keyboard and trackpad, because I don't want to clutter my work desk with external input devices and because of heat concerns.

Turning off the backlight is not a good solution because I'm still in dual display mode - with screen boundaries and other crap like that.
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Old Jul 3, 2013, 05:10 PM   #6
jmoore5196
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So let me see if I understand this ... you want to use the keyboard and trackpad, but not the display which is something like three inches away?

While I admire your unwillingness to compromise, wireless keyboards and trackpads are very handy things to have around.
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Old Jul 3, 2013, 05:20 PM   #7
NewbieCanada
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Although not ideal, I think clamshell with an external Apple keyboard and Magic Trackpad is as close as you can get to what you want.
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Old Jul 3, 2013, 05:23 PM   #8
flynz4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmoore5196 View Post
Clamshell mode is about as simple as it gets. As I type this post, my 11" MBA is closed and tucked into a TwelveSouth BookArc.
At work I use my MBA in clamshell with a 27" ACD. At home, I use the same MBA with my 27" ATD. It works perfectly with both. For each desk setup... I have a BT Kbd, BT Magic Trackpad and a BT Magic Mouse. Works perfectly.

I get the full 2560X1440 on both desks.

/Jim
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Old Jul 3, 2013, 05:41 PM   #9
tann
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmoore5196 View Post
So let me see if I understand this ... you want to use the keyboard and trackpad, but not the display which is something like three inches away?

While I admire your unwillingness to compromise, wireless keyboards and trackpads are very handy things to have around.
I think it's fine to want to work on an external display but not have the computer in clamshell mode.

You could do this in pre-Lion OS X versions! It's one thing I didn't like they took away.
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Old Jul 3, 2013, 05:53 PM   #10
pickaxe
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Originally Posted by jmoore5196 View Post
So let me see if I understand this ... you want to use the keyboard and trackpad, but not the display which is something like three inches away?
Umm, yes? I don't want to buy a wireless keyboard/trackpad when I already have perfectly good ones attached to my MacBook. As for not wanting to use the internal display - obviously it's because of the size and resolution. I've been using Windows laptops in "half-open lid, screen off" mode for years and it's very usable.
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Old Jul 3, 2013, 05:59 PM   #11
cmclaughlan
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With my MBA 13 inch 2013 closed I plug in my 30 inch display to the Display Port and USB. Click the keyboard or mouse that are attached to the display and the Mac wakes, never switches on the external display and the external monitor is the primary display.

I've done this forever with all my Mac laptops without any problems, ever.
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Old Jul 3, 2013, 09:31 PM   #12
thelookingglass
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Originally Posted by cmclaughlan View Post
With my MBA 13 inch 2013 closed I plug in my 30 inch display to the Display Port and USB. Click the keyboard or mouse that are attached to the display and the Mac wakes, never switches on the external display and the external monitor is the primary display.

I've done this forever with all my Mac laptops without any problems, ever.
That's not what the OP wants. He wants the internal display to turn off without having to close the lid.

OP, I don't think there's a non-wacky solution. Sorry.
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Old Jul 3, 2013, 09:53 PM   #13
jmoore5196
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Parsimony may have served you well as a Windows user, but it's not a particularly Mac-friendly quality. Elegant solutions typically come with a price tag attached; solutions that "just work" command something of a premium.
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Old Jul 3, 2013, 10:09 PM   #14
Pakaku
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Something like... plugging in the external screen, opening up System Prefs, selecting Displays, choosing Arrangement, dragging that little white bar over to the external screen, and turning off the brightness of the internal screen. That treats the external screen as the primary screen, although the internal screen won't be disabled. Will that not work for you?
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Old Jul 3, 2013, 11:01 PM   #15
luisito
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Originally Posted by pickaxe View Post
Turning off the backlight is not a good solution because I'm still in dual display mode - with screen boundaries and other crap like that.
If you are working with dual screens, why is it important to have your main display on the external display? You are looking at both screens anyways, right?
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Old Jul 4, 2013, 02:00 AM   #16
Ollifi
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Is it really true that you cannot shutdown MBA's screen while external screen is plugged without closing the lid? In Windows it's terribly easy, just Win+P.
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Old Jul 4, 2013, 08:30 AM   #17
Ollifi
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Originally Posted by Ollifi View Post
Is it really true that you cannot shutdown MBA's screen while external screen is plugged without closing the lid? In Windows it's terribly easy, just Win+P.
bump
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Old Jul 4, 2013, 12:07 PM   #18
flynz4
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Originally Posted by Ollifi View Post
bump
You asked a question that has already been answered... and then you bumped. it. No... it does not work without any non-whacky solutions (paraphrasing the best answer).

/Jim
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Old Jul 4, 2013, 01:01 PM   #19
MBHockey
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OP, you can do this with SwitchResX.

I do what you want when I'm streaming HD movies through a flash site (netflix, showtime, HBO, hulu, etc.) from my computer but want to watch it on the big external display and don't want to melt my MBA with the lid closed.

Although I do use an external keyboard and mouse, SwitchResX allows me to disable my MBA screen when it is connected to an external display and not in clamshell mode.

http://www.madrau.com/indexSRX4.html
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Old Jul 4, 2013, 01:23 PM   #20
Ollifi
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MBHockey, is there free alternative to that program?

flynz4, could you link me to the solution?

EDIT: Does the http://www.cultofmac.com/176329/turn...air-os-x-tips/ tip1 work for latest Macos?

Last edited by Ollifi; Jul 4, 2013 at 01:30 PM.
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Old Jul 4, 2013, 01:30 PM   #21
MBHockey
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It's shareware; it asks you nicely to donate/purchase it but you can use it forever without paying.
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Old Jul 4, 2013, 01:31 PM   #22
Ollifi
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Originally Posted by MBHockey View Post
It's shareware; it asks you nicely to donate/purchase it but you can use it forever without paying.
ok, thanks for details.

From FAQ:
"When a display is disabled by SwitchResX, the system continues to power it on. There's no way to disable this power from the display, so the backlight will be still turned on, most of the times. SwitchResX will try to turn the brightness to minimal for the displays that include this function, but some displays will still show a powered on background."
So it will actually just dim the screen, not turn off

I cannot understand why it is so hard in Mac. In Windows, it is so simple.

Last edited by Ollifi; Jul 4, 2013 at 01:36 PM.
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Old Jul 4, 2013, 01:36 PM   #23
blesscheese
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I had the same issue...the MBA keyboard is simply better than any exterrnal keyboard (I think the palmrest helps!). Here is my solution:

I do everything that you do to get the MBA working in clamshell mode.

Then (this is the important bit) I *open* the lid of the MBA, and the MBA display is off, whilst the external display is still on. I believe you have to be plugged into the mains for this to work.

This lets me use the MBA keyboard and trackpad. The only issue is, you may have to raise your external display to see it over the MBA display.

Cheers!
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Old Jul 4, 2013, 01:39 PM   #24
Ollifi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blesscheese View Post
I had the same issue...the MBA keyboard is simply better than any exterrnal keyboard (I think the palmrest helps!). Here is my solution:

I do everything that you do to get the MBA working in clamshell mode.

Then (this is the important bit) I *open* the lid of the MBA, and the MBA display is off, whilst the external display is still on. I believe you have to be plugged into the mains for this to work.

This lets me use the MBA keyboard and trackpad. The only issue is, you may have to raise your external display to see it over the MBA display.

Cheers!
That's quite strange.

From Apple support:
Quote:
OS X Lion and later

If you open the lid of your supported Mac notebook computer while in closed clamshell mode, the display will flicker to a blue screen after a few moments then both displays will become active. Close the lid to return to closed clamshell mode.
but
Quote:
Mac OS X v10.6.8 and earlier

If you open the lid of your supported Mac notebook computer while in closed clamshell mode it may appear to have no video. This is expected behavior. When your computer is in closed clamshell mode the built-in display is disabled and all video memory is allocated to the external display for best performance.
Are you using Mac OS X v10.6.8 or earlier ?
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Old Jul 5, 2013, 02:23 PM   #25
blesscheese
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Originally Posted by Ollifi View Post
Are you using Mac OS X v10.6.8 or earlier ?
Yes, using OS X 10.6.8...

It never would have occurred to me that they would have changed that behavior. Oh well, for those on 10.7 & 10.8--> it's not a bug, it's a feature!
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