I'd like to know how to change the behaviors of the power button of the MacBook Pro to have "turn off display" function. (As far as I know, default setting of a single press of the button gives you nothing or switching users depending on situations.)

I noticed a similar question was asked many years ago in the link below.

How do you change the behavior of the power button in Lion?

However, this terminal tip is outdated (press to sleep is not default anymore) and I want to have the display turned off instead of hibernating the whole system or popping up a dialogue. My university Ethernet disconnects any hibernated devices and that's why I'd just like to have the display off (and locked simultaneously).

(I added "turn off display" button at the far-right side of the Touch Bar, but it's definitely a waste of Touch Bar real estate. More Touch Bar space for scribbling videos is desired...)

As I couldn't find anything that satisfies my situations above, let me ask you all. 🙇🏻‍♂️

2 Answers 2


Unfortunately, what you're asking cannot be done.

In fact both issues have been brought up before, numerous times here on Ask Different so it's technically a duplicate, but it's difficult to do a "double duplicate" so, see below for supporting links on each topic.

However, this terminal tip is outdated (press to sleep is not default anymore)

The terminal tip that you referenced is not applicable to this question because it's about configuring the power button to put your Mac to sleep, not "turn off the display(s)." Those are two very different actions. The power button has to do with controlling the state of your Mac: on/off/sleep. The display's state of being on/off is not a setting you can control outside of "power."

Additionally, commands are not outdated simply because they're dated. They become dated when it no longer functions in subsequent changes like OS or hardware updates. Currently, the power button still controls sleep/hibernation. See: https://support.apple.com/guide/mac-help/log-out-sleep-restart-or-shut-down-mchlp2522/mac

  • Thank you so much for answering my question in detail!
    – Hiroshi728
    Commented Jan 21, 2021 at 13:20
  • I didn't know the power button of the Touch Bar is only capable of controlling the state of the system itself, not the state of the internal display and no software tweaks to get around to have it control the display state. Thank for the links. None of them explains my situation individually, but gave me a lots of insights when they come together.
    – Hiroshi728
    Commented Jan 21, 2021 at 13:22

As far as I know there's no Apple supported method of changing the power button behavior like that.

  • Including terminal commands?
    – Hiroshi728
    Commented Oct 29, 2020 at 13:23
  • I know there aren't any settings in the system preferences.
    – Hiroshi728
    Commented Oct 29, 2020 at 13:24
  • Yes, including Terminals commands.
    – jksoegaard
    Commented Oct 29, 2020 at 18:48

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