MacBook Pro + external monitor: open windows don't move to laptop screen when turning off monitor

felixen

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Apr 13, 2009
753
62
I just got my new MBP recently and am now using a HDMI-HDMI cable with a USB C - HDMI hub in my Macbook to connect to my monitor. I just noticed that when I turn off my monitor, all my files and windows will still stay on it as if the desktop was still extended. I can also still move the mouse over as if the desktop was still extended.

With my MacBook Air connected with a DisplayPort cable, it'd be so when I turned off the monitor, everything would immediately move back over to my Macbook screen. But now I need to actually pull out the HDMI cable for that to happen.

Does anyone know if there's something I can do to fix this? It's quite annoying as I always have the HDMI cable in, and sometimes just need to do something quick on my Macbook and I don't want to turn on the monitor for that.
 

Appledoesnotlisten

macrumors member
Dec 2, 2017
70
18
I am trying to fix this as well.
We have 4 MBPs and it’s happening only to 2017 15”. Upgrade to the latest OS did not help.

15” 2012, 15” 2015 and 13” 2018 are fine. I suspect that it has something to do with discrete GPU.
 
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felixen

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Apr 13, 2009
753
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I am trying to fix this as well.
We have 4 MBPs and it’s happening only to 2017 15”. Upgrade to the latest OS did not help.

15” 2012, 15” 2015 and 13” 2018 are fine. I suspect that it has something to do with discrete GPU.
Strange. Mine is a 2018 13" on Mojave. I was wondering if it's due to the HDMI-HDMI connection rather than using DisplayPort like I did before
 

vemac575

macrumors regular
Feb 18, 2018
150
55
The only thing I can add, is that it happens with my 2012 Quad Core mini. Because of that, I am pretty sure it is not about the HDMI or DP. Probably a setting or something.
 
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felixen

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Apr 13, 2009
753
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It really sucks. I hope someone will see this and know what the reason is
 

felixen

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Apr 13, 2009
753
62
So far the best solution I've found is to use the CMD + brightness down shortcut to enable mirroring. This will bring all the content from the display over to the Macbook screen. However, doing so will mess up the screen format / aspect ratio on the Macbook as it will by default be set to optimize for the monitor. So I'd need to open Settings > Screen > select optimize to Macbook in order to get a proper aspect ratio. Which is also quite a hassle.

This is a ridiculous issue to have and I really can't find any good solutions.
 

mikzn

macrumors 65816
Sep 2, 2013
1,439
705
Vancouver
this has been driving me nuts for years - even when I open an excel file that was previously closed on the extended monitor window, it opens next time as if the monitor was there and it can't be seen on the main monitor :mad:

Thanks for posting this - hopefully someone has a simple trick to fix - resolve this PITA issue
 

felixen

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Apr 13, 2009
753
62
What I don't get is why only some computers are affected. My MacBook Air never had this problem with the exact same monitor.

I just found this little program but I'm not sure if I dare to use it again: https://github.com/Eun/DisableMonitor/releases

I gave it a quick try and it disabled BOTH the MacBook Pro screen and the monitor which freaked me out. But luckily I got the screen back on by rebooting. I'd hate to do something that permanently disables my screen or something so I haven't messed around with it again - but I guess if there's a way to quickly disable an external screen (without having to unplug), then all content would jump over to the Mac's screen. Alternatively, I'm even considering getting one of those HDMI cables with a remote control to turn the cable on/off. Just ridiculous it even has to come this far.
 

puma1552

Suspended
Nov 20, 2008
5,559
1,917
Sort of a sidebar, but I really wish there was a setting where if I am connected to my external, and I close my lid, it would sleep the computer and display just as it would sleep the computer if it wasn't connected to an external. Instead, it just stays awake like clamshell mode. As someone who for the most part docks their machine, I've always hated having to manually sleep the machine from the Apple menu before closing the display.
 

felixen

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Apr 13, 2009
753
62
Sort of a sidebar, but I really wish there was a setting where if I am connected to my external, and I close my lid, it would sleep the computer and display just as it would sleep the computer if it wasn't connected to an external. Instead, it just stays awake like clamshell mode. As someone who for the most part docks their machine, I've always hated having to manually sleep the machine from the Apple menu before closing the display.
You mean that if you have your MacBook connected to a screen and you close the lid on the MacBook, it doesn’t go to sleep mode? For me, if I have my MacBook connected to the screen and the screen is on, and I then close the lid on the MacBook, then the MacBook goes to sleep and the screen goes dark (due to the Mac going to sleep).
 

puma1552

Suspended
Nov 20, 2008
5,559
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You mean that if you have your MacBook connected to a screen and you close the lid on the MacBook, it doesn’t go to sleep mode? For me, if I have my MacBook connected to the screen and the screen is on, and I then close the lid on the MacBook, then the MacBook goes to sleep and the screen goes dark (due to the Mac going to sleep).
Correct. It used to back in the day, but now it just goes into clamshell mode. Has for the last X versions of MacOS.
 

felixen

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Apr 13, 2009
753
62
Correct. It used to back in the day, but now it just goes into clamshell mode. Has for the last X versions of MacOS.
Very strange. Seems that multiple areas of extended screen behavior varies from computer to computer.
 

felixen

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Apr 13, 2009
753
62
$5 PayPal bounty to whoever knows how to make my MacBook disconnect the extended screen whenever I turn off my monitor using the power button on the monitor :D