My MacBook Pro screen is broken so that I can only see blurred edges and cannot use it at all. I have an external monitor arranged with the menu bar and all other apps working fine but every time I go to System Preferences, it tries to open on the laptop screen instead. I can't figure out any way to get that window back and even my Display preferences are in that same menu I can't see.

I need my laptop open for the keyboard and mouse so I am at a loss.

1 Answer 1


Even though the monitor is broken, macOS doesn't know this and it's still being detected as the main display which is where System Preferences opens to.

One easy solution is closed clamshell mode.

When the lid is detected as shut, you get one screen. A magnet placed by the top case can trigger the closing if the damage prevents you from actually closing things.

A strong magnet used to be bad for floppy storage and hard drives that didn’t have shielding but now everything Apple makes basically has small strong magnets and any fridge type magnet won’t harm things other than sleep mode. You need an external keyboard and pointer for this to work long term, though.

  • I do need my laptop's keyboard and mouse but I've heard magnets are bad for my computer can you please elaborate? Your idea may be my solution Apr 3, 2020 at 20:59
  • I added Apples article that mentions which devices you can safely use to locate your magnet placement to trigger a sleep, but you will likely wake it again using the keyboard.
    – bmike
    Apr 3, 2020 at 21:14

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