3 Ways to adjust brightness of External Monitor on Mac

adjust brightness of external monitor on mac

Working on an external monitor is by far a big productivity booster. But it can become the opposite of it very easily if you are not able to manage the brightness of that external monitor. Luckily if you are a mac user, there are a number of ways to do so. Whether you are using Apple’s own display as an external monitor, or a third-party one.

In this guide, I’ll be showing you the ways by which you can adjust the brightness of your external display on a mac PC.

adjust brightness of external monitor on mac

How to adjust the brightness of external monitor on Mac

There are a number of ways to do so and based on the monitor (is it from Apple or from another company) you can use the one that works for you. With that said, here are the methods that you can use to get control over the brightness of your external monitor.

Method 1: Use buttons on the Monitor

A very simple way to get adjust the brightness of your monitor is to use the buttons available on it. They are located either on the edge of the bezel or at the back, depending on which monitor you are using. The monitor comes with its own little firmware that can be accessed via physical buttons. This firmware can be used to adjust various things on the monitor like the color temperature, frame alignment, and also brightness.

Method 2: Make the external monitor as primary

If you are using a Macbook or other mac PC of some sort with an official Apple monitor as an external monitor, then you can make your Apple monitor the primary one to get the brightness control on that monitor right from your keyboard or the control center. Here’s how to make the external monitor the primary one.

Step 1: Open System Preferences on your Mac and go to Displays.

displays system preferences
displays system preferences

Step 2: On the Display settings window, right-click on the external monitor showing there and checkmark the Main Display option.

checkmark main display

Alternatively, you can also drag the white transparent bar from your main mac display to the external Apple monitor to

drag white bar to change the main display 1

Once done, you’ll now be able to adjust the brightness of your external Apple monitor just the way you were previously adjusting the built-in display.

Note: If you are using a third-party monitor, then please skip this method as it will not work for you.

Method 3: Use a third-party app

The third method is to use a third-party app on your mac that can provide you the control over the brightness of your other connected monitors. There are a lot of apps out there but I have featured a couple of them that are reliable and safe to use.

1. Lunar

When adjusting the brightness of the external monitor comes to mind, the Lunar app is the one that gets the most amount of suggestions from the experts. The app is free to download and comes with 14-days of free trial to know if the app is good enough for you or not. The app comes with an extreme load of features and customizations that is not just limited to the display brightness but also the volume control for the external monitors. You can control multiple monitors at the same time and sync their brightness all along.

lunar app

2. DisplayBuddy

Another app that works really well and offers extremely seamless brightness control over external monitors is the DisplayBuddy app. The app comes with a 7-day of free trial which is more than enough to find out how the app is. The app allows the user to adjust the brightness not just from the on-screen brightness sliders but also from the keyboard shortcuts. You can also customize these shortcuts as per your convenience for different external monitors.


3. ExternalDisplayBrightness

The next app on the list is completely free but also offers a really limited set of features. The app, after installation, automatically acquires the default brightness control keys (F14 and F15) so that they can be used to control the brightness of the external monitor. You can customize these keys as per your convenience on your Apple keyboard.


4. MonitorControl

This one is my personal favorite and I use it personally. It is called the MonitorControl app and is completely free to download and use for a lifetime. The app just needs to be dragged to the mac’s Applications folder for installation. Now just open it and allow it to the accessibility if you want to use the keyboard shortcuts as well.


Bottom Line

And there you go! This is how you can adjust the brightness of your external monitors on your mac PC. If you are using an Apple display as an external monitor then you can just make it the primary one so that the brightness keyboard shorts start working for that display. If you are using a third-party monitor then you can use the monitor’s own physical keys to adjust the brightness. And lastly, you can opt for some third-party apps to get the job done.

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Posted by
Bhanu Pratap

Hi! I am Bhanu Pratap, co-founder of Yorker Media Group. A die-heart fan of tech and keeps track of every little happening of the same. When not writing, I usually keep myself busy on YouTube making and exploring new and awesome tech content.

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