Ambient Keyboard/Display Brightness?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by w00t951, Nov 7, 2011.

  1. w00t951 macrumors 68000


    Jan 6, 2009
    Pittsburgh, PA
    My previous 2008 MacBook Pro had excellent ambient brightness control. When I was in a normally lit room, the display would be at maximum brightness and the keyboard would be off. When the brightness dimmed a bit, the brightness would correspondingly dim and the keyboard would stay off. When it was too dark to see the keyboard, the display was very dim (like 30%) and the keyboard would be at around 60% brightness.

    With my current early 2011 MacBook Pro, the ambient brightness control is absolutely terrible. When in a normally lit room, the keyboard is still lit up. The display is at around 80%. When some vague shadow moves across the computer, the display dims by 20%. I have to be in full sunlight to get the keyboard brightness to turn off and the display brightness to go to full. What happened to my awesome display control? I tried resetting the SMC, but that didn't do anything.

    Can anyone help with this and explain why Apple made this change?
  2. snaky69 macrumors 603

    Mar 14, 2008
    Afaik the only difference Apple made was to place the ambient light sensor in the display bezel instead of underneath the speaker grilles.
  3. hamis92 macrumors 6502

    Apr 4, 2007
    There is another difference. On the non-unibody MacBook Pros (as well as PowerBook G4s) there are two ambient light sensors, one under each of the speaker grilles, instead of just one next to the iSight camera.

    Both sensors are monitored constantly, and the sensor that receives more light is used to adjust display brightness and keyboard backlight. This makes it easier for the computer to be aware of the actual ambient light level and not be distracted by these vague shadows.

    I noticed the same thing when I had an unibody MacBook Pro. The keyboard backlight would hardly ever turn off by itself.

    Edit: as to why Apple made this change… The unibody speaker grille holes are way smaller than they were in earlier models. That might have something to do with it.
  4. mape2k macrumors regular

    Apr 18, 2011
    It's especially annoying when windows or other strong light sources are behind you. If you shift you head, you will sometimes cover the ambient sensor and sometimes not, causing a constantly changing display brightness! Madness!

    I hope they will come out with a better solution in future MBP, even though I won't upgrade until 2-3 years.

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