Clamshell Mode Battery Powered?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by owensky, Jul 7, 2013.

  1. owensky macrumors member

    Feb 4, 2012

    I am sorry if this has been discussed elsewhere but I was hoping someone has a "trick". Everything I've read has said that you have to be connected to a power source for clamshell mode. I don't like the idea of leaving my computer plugged in all the time, so is there a hack to make clamshell run off the battery power?

    Thanks in advance.
  2. bkribbs macrumors 65816

    Jan 15, 2012
    first, laptops are meant to be plugged in a lot. Just drain it fairly low once every few weeks and according to apple you should be fine.

    Second, I would find that hard to believe. Have you ever tried clamshell on battery?
  3. TonyHoyle macrumors 6502a

    Sep 14, 2007
    Manchester, UK
    Clamshell doesn't work on battery - it's confused me a couple of times with the office macbook when the power cable fell out and I didn't notice until the third time of 'why the f.. does this keep shutting down?'

    I wonder if something like NoSleep would do the trick.
  4. owensky thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 4, 2012
    Yes I have tried it on the battery and it just shuts off the external monitor. I also tried caffeine and it doesn't seem to work. I guess I will just leave it plugged in and drain it every once in a while. Thanks for the tips.
  5. Qaanol macrumors 6502a

    Jun 21, 2010
    Ugh, they still haven’t fixed this? I recommend you file a bug report And next time you are in an Apple Store, tell the employees that this is a serious problem impeding your workflow.

    Anyway, on my 2007 MBP running Snow Leopard there is a mode very similar to clamshell, but with the laptop open. The built-in display is off, and the picture only goes to the external screen just like clam-shell. The only differences are that the laptop is physically open, and it continues to work even if you unplug the power cord.

    I have a distinct feeling I’ve heard that Apple eliminated this mode some time ago, so it might not work on your machine. I mention it because there are two ways to enter this open-clamshell-mode: one is from normal clamshell mode (with power cord in) where you open the machine and then you can unplug it.

    The other is, with the cord not plugged in at all, and the laptop displaying to both screens, I am able to, with precise timing, close the lid then quickly open it again, then just as the waking-up sounds begin, close it again, then a moment later open it again, at which point the picture goes entirely to the external screen and the laptop is in open-clamshell mode.

    But again, I think Apple killed this behavior. The ideal should be, to have a checkbox in System Preferences, either under Displays or Energy, to the effect of “Allow clamshell mode on battery power”, and another for “Exit clamshell mode when lid is opened”.

    They could set the defaults however they like, but those of us who like clamshell mode, and may or may not want to use the built-in keyboard and trackpad for it, would have that option.
  6. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    There's nothing wrong with leaving it plugged in while in clamshell mode. Run on battery whenever you need to and plug it in whenever you can. You can plug or unplug any time you need to, regardless of the charged percentage, and you never need to completely drain your battery. Just make sure you don't run on AC power exclusively, as your battery needs to be used regularly to stay healthy.
    The link below should answer most, if not all, of your battery/charging questions. If you haven't already done so, I highly recommend you take the time to read it.
  7. sofianito macrumors 65816


    Jan 14, 2011
    I have the same issue with my late 2007 17" MBP in clamshell mode running Snow Leopard. If I unplug the power cord, the external screen goes into sleep state. Moving the mouse or pressing keyboard switches on the display, but then it is switched off immediately. If I open my MBP lid, the dual display works fine. The same issue happens with Mavericks DP2. It looks like a bug that has not been fixed yet...
  8. thundersteele macrumors 68030

    Oct 19, 2011
    I don't think it is a bug, although I understand that it can be an unwanted feature ;)

    If you look at the Apple support site, it clearly states that in order to operate in clamshell mode, you need to be connected to an external display, keyboard/mouse and to the power supply. So it's not a bug...
  9. owensky thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 4, 2012
    Hello again,

    Since the only way to use clamshell is to have it plugged in I have just been keeping my Macbook open and turned the brightness all the way down and I'm fine using it like that but the problem is the mouse seems to be switching betweens the displays all the time. Is there a way so the external monitor is the only monitor, even if the Macbook is open?

    Thanks for all the replies
  10. Gav2k macrumors G3


    Jul 24, 2009
    Seriously close the lid and leave the power connected ;)
  11. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    Agreed. It's not that difficult to just run in clamshell while plugged in, then unplug and run without clamshell a few times a week, to keep the battery healthy.
  12. gonca macrumors regular

    Nov 15, 2011
    This is tricky.. On my macbook pro mid 2010 with Snow Leopard it doesnt need power with caffeine on to work just fine. But on macbook pro late 2013 running Mavericks and it doesnt work the same way. It sucks.. Sometime I 'd like to plug mac to TV in living room but didnt want to have to bring cables all the time..

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