On El Capitan, is it possible to display picture just on an external monitor, and not on the laptop's screen? I want to close my laptop and use it as a desktop, and I have every other piece of external periferals (wireless mouse, keyboard and external monitor) needed.

2 Answers 2


Depends on whether you need the MacBook to be opened or closed.

If it can be open, simply dimming the screen all the way will turn off the MacBook's screen.

If you'd like it to be closed, there's a free app from the Mac App Store called Caffeine that should do the job.

  1. Download Caffeine
  2. Allow it to reside in the Menu Bar (on the right side, to the left of the time and date)
  3. Connect external monitor (set up as separate monitor, not mirroring)
  4. Enable Caffeine
  5. Close your MacBook

At this point, I've found that sometimes the external monitor goes black. If that's the case, repeat steps 4 and 5 and try again.

  • I have to take issue with "minulet bar" in #2. As far as I know, the top graphic element in the OS X UI is the called the Menu Bar and the far right side of the Menu Bar is for Menu Bar Extras, e.g, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Sound, etc., and Menu Bar Items, e.g Spotlight, Notification Center and applications such as Little Snitch Agent, gfxCardStatus and the app you've mentioned, Caffeine. It is not called the "minulet bar"! That said, if you have a link to Apple Developer Documentation that calls it that, I'd be interested in reading it and stand corrected. Apr 21, 2016 at 20:25
  • @user3439894 According to this Apple support page, we're both wrong, and it is in fact called the Status Menu Bar. Apr 21, 2016 at 20:31
  • That is not official Apple Developer Documentation. Also if you read through the Menus section of the OS X Human Interface Guidelines you see the nomenclature to which I was referring. Additionally if you use the Accessibility Inspector it corroborates the use of the terms I've mentioned. That said, saying Status Menu Bar is far better then "minulet bar". :) Apr 21, 2016 at 20:40
  • @user3439894 Well, Apple Developer trumps Apple Support, I suppose. After reading from that link, I stand corrected. Apr 21, 2016 at 20:48
  • Caffeine prevents OSX from going into sleep mode, dimming screens or showing a screen saver. If you use it your computer will burn more energy for no gain, and be left un-secure as the automatic locking will not take place. This is really poor advice. Read @Chris answer.. and just plug your monitor in. May 3, 2016 at 19:44

If you have another keyboard and another mouse you can close your MacBook Pro :

If an external display is detected and the MacBook is plugged to the power, you can close it without any software.

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