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I recently removed my internal display from my M1 MacBook Pro (screen was damaged, internaly the connections were fine). After removing the screen and running the MacBook Pro as headless with an external monitor, the laptop still thinks the internal screen is attached. In System Profile, it even says the internal monitor is online.

Kinda a pain in the butt to get the computer into "Display Mirror" mode as some windows open on the "ghost" display.

MacBook Pro, M1 Pro Model: A2442

Any idea why it still thinks it has the screen attached?

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  • Perhaps you haven't removed everything that indicates there's a display to the OS? Or perhaps the OS just assumes that an MBP always has a display.
    – benwiggy
    Commented Jul 4 at 16:32
  • Yeah that’s what I was thinking… but thinking of it now, before removing the monitor it was having issues going into clamshell mode, something with the lid sensor. Had to keep the internal monitor attached and propped open at a 45 degree angle in MacOS recovery. Only way it put the laptop in clamshell mode. Might need to figure out where the lid sensor is….
    – B07
    Commented Jul 5 at 18:21
  • This probably needs an edit unless you don’t have a specific problem you want to address other than opinions why the OS behaves like you reported. You should have seen the lid sensor magnets when you removed the screen but perhaps a photo of your device before or after the removal might help us help you.
    – bmike
    Commented 2 days ago
  • Side note, did some research and the lid sensor is way more complicated than the old ambient light sensor... seems as my lid sensor was out of calibration and it requires a 3rd part hardware tool to correct. Would be the reason not going into clamshell mode but not the reason why LCD is still detected with it being disconnected.
    – B07
    Commented yesterday

1 Answer 1

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Your MacBook Pro likely still detects the internal display because the display's logic board connection remains intact even after removing the physical screen. This causes macOS to believe the internal display is still present.

To address this, you can use software solutions like DisableMonitor or SwitchResX to manage and disable the ghost display. These tools allow you to control and disable the phantom screen, preventing windows from opening on the nonexistent display and enabling easier management of your external monitor setup.

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  • Thanks for the suggestion for SwitchResX. I was not able to figure out how to disable the internal display but it works great for keeping the 2 displays mirrored. I am guessing that the controller board for the internal display is embedded in the logic board of the laptop and can not be removed?
    – B07
    Commented yesterday
  • Yes, disabling the internal display usually requires software solutions like SwitchResX. If you need to keep the internal display off, consider setting the laptop in "clamshell mode" by closing the lid while connected to an external display, which usually requires an external keyboard and mouse to be connected as well.
    – lostmarien
    Commented yesterday
  • I would do clamshell mode but there no display on the machine and the lid sensor needs calibration. But thanks again for reminding me about SwitchResX!
    – B07
    Commented 17 hours ago

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