automatic brightness not working well

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by dcorban, Jun 20, 2012.

  1. dcorban macrumors 6502a

    dcorban

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2007
    #1
    I am coming from a 2008 aluminum MacBook which I bought on day zero. The automatic screen brightness on it works perfectly. When I am in a dark room, the brightness goes down significantly, so I am not blinded. When I am in a bright room, the brightness goes up. The keyboard backlighting was equally consistent and worked great.

    I now have a 2012 Air and the automatic brightness doesn't seem to work as well. Specifically, it seems far too bright in a dark room. I use it in a pitch black room and the brightness goes down a bit, but no where near as low as on my MacBook. I have to manually turn it down further.

    I never notice the keyboard backlight change. It also never seems to turn off, even when I am in direct sunlight. This is how it worked on my MacBook.

    I know the sensor is working, at least partly, because if I am in a bright room, I can cover the sensor with my finger and the screen dims a little.

    Is this the expected behaviour? Does the keyboard backlighting never turn off automatically? Is your screen dimming enough in the dark? I literally never, ever, had the need to manual adjust my screen or keyboard brightness on my MacBook.
     
  2. pellets007 macrumors 6502a

    pellets007

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2009
    Location:
    New York
    #2
    The same thing happened to me. I had a 2008 Alu MacBook before it crapped out and the sensor was perfect. For me, it's far too sensitive on the MacBook Air. I also experience the same issue that you do.

    I just turned it off.
     
  3. dcorban thread starter macrumors 6502a

    dcorban

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2007
    #3
    I did some more testing this morning.

    I restarted the computer and brightness was around 1/8. Walking from room to room had no effect. I went outside in the sun and the brightness went to maximum. Standing in the shade, it went to 7/8. I also noticed that the keyboard backlight was disabled at this point. Going back inside, the brightness is now at 3/8. If I stand by the door it goes up a bit.

    In general, either the hardware sensor, or the software, is not nearly as sensitive as on the MacBook. It adjusts much more slowly and doesn't go to the extremes as easily. As a test, I booted up my old MacBook. In the same room, the brightness is at max while my Air is around 3/8. If I cover the sensor on each, the Air very slowly goes down to almost minimum, while the MacBook almost instantly goes down to 3/8.

    Maybe Apple was just overzealous in their attempt to minimize the brightness swings this time.
     
  4. dcorban thread starter macrumors 6502a

    dcorban

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2007
    #4
    I think I have discovered the problem. The system remembers where you have manually set the brightness, and tries to stay around that level even when moving from bright to dark rooms.

    I manually set the brightness to 5/8, waited a minute, then went outside in the sun. As expected, it adjusted to max. However, when I came back inside and sat down, it only went down to 5/8 again. I guess earlier when it was going down to 3/8, it was just trying to get back to my manual setting (I had set it to 3/8 this morning while in my dark bedroom). Even if I completely cover the sensor, the brightness now only goes down to about 4/8.

    On the MacBook, it used the full range of brightness and completely ignored any previous manual settings. I could use the automatic feature to completely control the brightness at all times. Now, with the Air, the automatic feature instead tries to maintain the user-selected brightness level as much as possible.

    I'm not sure which style I prefer. I did like not having to ever touch the brightness buttons, although I admit it was occasionally too dim in certain situations. I would prefer that the Air dim much more when in completely dark rooms, and maybe the sensitivity of the sensor should be increased a bit.
     
  5. Jobsian macrumors 6502a

    Jobsian

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2009
    #5
    It's off for me, the constant shifts are too intrusive.
     
  6. pellets007 macrumors 6502a

    pellets007

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2009
    Location:
    New York
    #6
    I agree that it's too intrusive. I preferred the sensor on the MacBook, but it's not a big deal.
     
  7. mitty macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 21, 2010
    Location:
    Melbourne
    #7
    Same issue here. I wonder if Apple might issue a patch or something, it's quite annoying. I don't mind having to adjust it manually but I never had to do it on my 3yo MBP, it worked perfectly there.
     
  8. itsamacthing macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2011
    Location:
    Bangkok
    #8

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