I have a Macbook Pro connected to two external displays via a docking station. With the lid open, it will use all three, with the primary set to one of the external displays, let's say display 1. If I close the lid, the internal display shuts off, which is great. However display 2 now becomes primary, and all the windows on display 2 move to display 1 and vice versa. I open the lid, and it switches back. Not that big a deal just a mild annoyance, but I have not found any information about how to make it stop.

Catalina 10.15.6, MacBook Pro 15 inch 2018

Radeon Pro 560X 4GB

Intel UHD Graphics 630 1536 MB

  • You should configure the displays for different scenarios(closed macbook, not closed). I noticed before that even my resolution would change on the external display if I closed my macbook. Commented Aug 17, 2020 at 9:40
  • @whiraj How do I do that? I don't see anything in preferences, and the only results I get are for how to keep the Mac awake when the lid is closed, which is working fine.
    – nasch
    Commented Aug 17, 2020 at 13:57
  • 1
    just do it once you are in that mode - e.g. when the lid is closed set up your displays in the Display preferences You have done that already but you need to repeat the process for when the macbook display is shut. Commented Aug 17, 2020 at 14:46
  • Well what do you know, I think that worked. At least so far. I could have sworn I had already tried that but a few opens and closes and it holding steady so thank you! If you would like to post an answer I will accept it.
    – nasch
    Commented Aug 17, 2020 at 15:44

1 Answer 1


You need to set the display layout in each scenario. For example set the display arrangement when the macbook screen is opened and you should do it once again for when the laptop display is shut.

That should do the trick.

  • What if I dont have an external keyboard and mouse? I.e. I can not change any settings while the lid is closed. I just want to watch a movie.
    – qqqqqqq
    Commented Aug 2, 2023 at 18:17

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