I have two external monitors with my MacBook pro. I'd like to keep the MacBook lid open for speaker quality - listening to music, but have the same result as it would be closed with external monitors. Changing the brightness of the laptop screen to None does not eliminate the unnecessary screen.

Is this possible to blank the screen while the lid is up and the keyboard is clear?

  • What version of macOS are you running?
    – Todd
    Commented Oct 25, 2020 at 22:18

3 Answers 3


So, basically, you want to be in closed clam shell mode but keep the lid open so you can hear the speakers better.

Unfortunately, there's no command that will disable a monitor.

Use a magnet to trigger the lid sensor

You didn't identify which MacBook Pro, but it's not really necessary. Simply slide a small magnet (a refrigerator magnet will suffice) around the the outer rim of the top case (where the keyboard is) until the screen shuts off. That's where the sensor is located. This will work will all Mac laptops.

Use External Speakers

A better option, IMO, is to use quality external speakers. There's a limit to how "good" internal speakers sound and a speaker no more than 2 inches (5cm) in diameter driven at a few measly watts isn't going to give you quality sound. Get a USB DAC (Digital to Audio Converter) and connect some quality speakers - it will make a substantial difference in what you're hearing.

  • This is exactly the solution i'm looking for, but without a magnet. Instead a command in terminal.
    – Kamil
    Commented Oct 25, 2020 at 21:04
  • There is no command in Terminal to turn off a monitor.
    – Allan
    Commented Oct 25, 2020 at 21:05
  • Thank you for your clarification : )
    – Kamil
    Commented Oct 25, 2020 at 21:11

Unless I'm missing something you should be able to turn the brightness on your macbook to zero making the monitor "turn off".

  • Lowering the brightness to the minimum value may disable the screen of the MacBook, however the desktop remains, as well as the windows located on the internal monitor as well.
    – Andrew
    Commented Aug 9, 2023 at 12:06

ISTR that there have been a few applications which have offered this as a minor, side, unsupported feature… but the only one I can recall/find now is Displays:

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Just to be clear, here is how the developer describes this feature:

When at least two monitors are connected, you can disable any monitor except the main monitor. WARNING: this is an experimental feature, please use it at your own risk.

I am not 100% sure what is meant by “main monitor” but I am assuming that it means the monitor which has the menu bar/dock.

I have not tried this feature and therefore cannot speak to its effectiveness or safety from my own experience, therefore I can only echo the developer’s words: “use at your own risk.”

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