Does anybody know a way to sleep the Thunderbolt display if I don't need it for a short time? Like if I'm going to watch TV, normally I've just got my MacBook Pro's display turned on, while my old external then got turned off.

I'd like to do the same with the Thunderbolt display - to sleep it, or at least turn off the display, but still keep the screen on in my MacBook Pro.

I don't care if I need to use a program or something to do so. I would just like to be able to actually sleep the Thunderbolt display because there's no power off button.


SwitchResX lets you disable an unused display via a handy menubar item (bottom of page). This should cause your Thunderbolt Display to sleep.

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  • Cool, can anyone confirm that this actually works, which option do you select to turn off your display here? madrau.com/functions/menus/files/pasted-graphic-6.png – MrDaniel Sep 4 '12 at 18:58
  • The Display is active one. – Ingmar Hupp Sep 5 '12 at 2:48
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    I have tried this on a Maverick iMac. It does disable the Thunderbolt display but that only means the mouse cannot move there. The display was still displaying. – Andrew J. Brehm Jan 27 '14 at 18:36

Unplug the thunderbolt display cable from your macbook.

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  • Taking out the cable is kind of annoying, if I need to do that a lot of times – Zerpex Aug 9 '12 at 7:24

I don't know how to put just one display to sleep, but you could put both of them to sleep by pressing control-shift-eject. On 10.8, the power key can be substituted for eject on laptops without an eject key.

You could also try decreasing the display sleep times in the energy saver preferences.

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  • I could sleep the displays indeed, but I only want to sleep my TB display, and not the macbook pros display itself. – Zerpex Aug 9 '12 at 7:24

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