I enjoy the Mac OS X brightness auto-adjustment on my MacBook Air, but I would usually prefer the screen dimmer than the level it decides on. This would also conserve some charge.

I don’t suppose there is a way to bump it down a few notches? (I have searched for this and found nothing, so I assume the answer is no. But it is difficult to pick keywords that will produce relevant rather than almost-relevant results so there is a slim chance that I am overlooking it, and I shall remain hopeful yet.)

This would be in 10.7.4, in case that is relevant.

1 Answer 1


You can use Shady.

The way it works is that it...

...pull(s) a virtual shade over your screen ... dimming the display to a more comfortable level.

Shady will save your shade level and restore it next time you launch the app.

As it's just a virtual (but effective) dimming method, I doubt that this saves much energy, but I cannot confirm this as LED displays should consume less power if displaying darker colors.

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  • You have quite the collection of menu bar items. I recognize Shady (leftmost), gfxCardStatus (fifth from the left), and the OS X VPN item (rightmost), but what are the other 4?
    – Cajunluke
    Commented Jul 11, 2012 at 19:32
  • @CajunLuke From left to right: 1. Shady, 2. Boom equalizer, 3. Radium Radio, 4. HandsOff Firewall, 5. gfxcardstatus GPU switching, 6. FastScripts Script Management 7. OSX VPN service
    – gentmatt
    Commented Jul 11, 2012 at 19:49
  • 1
    As you mentioned, Shady doesn't adjust the brightness of displays but just draws a transparent black overlay over them. I don't know how much it affects energy consumption either, but it also makes the backlights of displays relatively more prominent.
    – Lri
    Commented Jul 12, 2012 at 6:11
  • I’m accepting this answer on grounds that it is apparently the only option. That does not mean I’m satisfied. I’d simply like auto-adjust to leave the display 2–4 notches dimmer than it does, and don’t need to extend the range of brightness at the lower end. Having the backlight blast away only to be shaded down by blackening every pixel is a hack, though one that will sometimes be useful to me regardless. I hope a real solution shows up someday. Commented Jul 14, 2012 at 4:56

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