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I run two external displays off my macbook pro 16" but when I'm not working, I much prefer disconnecting from them and using my MBP as my sole screen. Constantly disconnecting them from the ports is a pain in the butt (since i have one plugged into each side of the computer) and I fear it will wear on the jacks. I figured turning off the display's power would do the trick...but it does not. The displays go black (obviously) but the macbook still thinks its connected to them and I can still mouse off screen etc. What's the hack here?

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One option is to use SwtichResX

SwitchResX is the most advanced tool for Apple computers to take control of any screen connected to the Mac. No matter whether a MacBook Screen, an external monitor, a Retina display, a TV set or a beamer: SwitchResX can handle them all – if you want, straight from the menubar, a contextual menu or both. It's that easy!

It works as you need.

  • I had a friend who used this a while ago and said it was super finicky with more than one display. Do you have any experience with it and it is smooth? – jldriver Feb 20 '20 at 17:42
  • To be honest, what I saw is that it doesn't turn off but it puts the monitor in black. but it works as we want. Give a try. In addition, a guy made a code and shared in Github, it was working few years ago, but I haven't smoked a test on it. You can go through it too github.com/Eun/DisableMonitor/releases – Udhy Feb 20 '20 at 17:49
  • I don't really care so much if the monitors are off or black, but I care that they are disconnected, i.e. my macbook screen goes back to being the only screen, with the resolution and sizing I have set for that and my mouse stops at the edges of its screen etc. – jldriver Feb 20 '20 at 18:05
  • It's also a matter of no longer using the GPU, more importantly – jldriver Feb 21 '20 at 0:01
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Yeah, this is annoying. I use my external monitor for meetings, but otherwise prefer just the macbook screen. The mouse goes off the screen, and notifications go to the turned-off monitor.

The best I've come up with is making it easy to unplug the monitor with this outlet switch: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07QKPBZX1/. It works because the outlet is right by my chair.

With this setup (laptop via usb-c to docking station; docking station to monitor via hdmi) I can keep everything connected and just click one switch for monitor on/off.

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