6

I have a workplace setup for my Macbook Pro 15" (2011) that is actually two workplaces. One is the Macbook itself, for sitting. The second, right next to it, is a standing desk with an external monitor, keyboard, and mouse.

This works great - I can work on the standing desk, and when my legs get tired, sit down for a while and continue seamlessly on the Macbook.

The only painful point in the transition is that I have to physically disconnect the external display (an Acer 23" display connected through a MiniDP-to-HDMI cable) when sitting down, so the Macbook display becomes the main (and only) desktop again.

Given that I may do this several times a day, this is bound to wear out the connector over time, something I'd like to avoid.

Is there a more sustainable (software-only?) way to disconnect / deactivate an external display?

All I can find on the Google is about the other way round (turning off the internal Macbook display).

4
+25

There are two solutions I can think of:

SwitchResX has a number of features including "disable display" which should deactivate it until the software turns it back on. From their FAQ:

SwitchResX includes a function to remove a display from the System's list of managed display. This means the display in question, once deactivated, will not be visible from the System or from any application. Only SwitchResX will be able to activate the display again.

Another simple solution is to use a power plug with a remote switch. It's an easy, non-invasive solution that will get the job done without having to install software or have daemons running that could interfere with your display. macOS will not detect the display if the power is cut (though it will if it's in "standby" or "sleep")

enter image description here

Both solutions cost about the same (less than $20USD). SwtichResX has a 10 day free trial and the power adapter comes with a 30 day return. The software has the benefit of being elegant; but the switch, though a bit crude, has the advantage of you knowing for sure you display is disabled because it's physically off.

  • I can't remember Windows OS without "Show Desktop only on X" ( i.imgur.com/cngoYoE.png ) in Display Settings. It's been with us forever. Why do I have to install external software (or even hardware!) for such a simple task? Unfortunately I'm not willing to use physical switches and SwitchResX doesn't work at all, I've tried it before, in my case "disabling" the second display means it just displays nothing but the display is still on, not in standby mode. Also using SwitchResX I have this issue: apple.stackexchange.com/q/301822 Is it a problem in *nix systems to implement it? – Wordpressor Oct 28 '17 at 10:22
  • I had to build a digital signage system and had to move from Mac to a cheap PC because of the way Apple handled video. Speaking directly with an engineer at the time (school system with 1000s of Macs, we had engineering support) he said that Apple's philosophy is that it just works and they assume when you plug in a display, you want it to work. What this comes down to is wanting a Mac to do what it was never designed to do. – Allan Oct 28 '17 at 12:45
2

If the work is not GPU intensive you might try to manually switch from the Discrete graphic card to the Integrated (Intel HD Graphics). Should work for all 2008-2012, 15-17" dual-GPU MacBook Pros. By installing gfxCardStatus you can do this from the menu bar.

1

While not the best option for the op having to physically disable the display I think that is the best option. I was able to get a Geeni multiplug that I can enable each monitor individually through Google Home.

I tried the SwitchResX suggested here and it was the worst experience. I have a 2017 Macbook Pro with 4 monitors connected plus the internal display and as soon as I disabled one of the monitors, SwitchResX turned off every display and no matter what I did they never re-enabled. In the end I unplugged the 4 monitors which enabled the internal display. Then I plugged them again which did nothing and as I was looking for solutions each monitor slowly started coming back 2-3 minutes apart from each other.

Needless to say I ended uninstalling SwitchResX and sticking to using the multiplug through voice.

If you need one just search amazon for WiFi outlet. I found mine at Marshalls but I haven't seen one there ever again.

0

You can just close the lid of your MacBook if you want to disable the display of this one. It is called clamshell mode: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201834

  • Hmm - when you say “this one” are you meaning the external display will turn off? I think you mis-read the question, but don’t want to jump to conclusions. This seems to be a way to get the main screen (integrated / not external) as the one to work from, not to disable that screen entirely by shutting the clam shell. – bmike Feb 4 at 16:44
  • Ups sorry - yeah slightly misunderstood the question since the display I am working with (27") is my main display and the laptop kind of external one ^^ – blackjacx Feb 4 at 18:38

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .