I'd like to turn off my iMac display while connected to it via a remote desktop session. I'm using TeamViewer or LogMeIn, and unfortunately the screen stays on during those sessions when it really doesn't need to be on.

Is there any way to set the screen to off while in use?

Note: I don't want to put the display to sleep because that will only last until I start typing or move the mouse.

  • 2
    Seems this is yet another example of Apple knowing better than you what you should be able to do with your computer... :-(
    – Michael
    Dec 26, 2012 at 15:14
  • The solution I finally went with was to tape a piece of black plastic over the screen.
    – Michael
    Dec 26, 2012 at 16:44
  • Possible duplicate of How to keep monitor off when logging in remotely
    – svandragt
    Apr 20, 2016 at 8:42

4 Answers 4


You can try RedScreen (I don't have an iMac to test it). I read that it can not only decrease the screen brightness beyond OS X defaults (like others do) but also control the screen backlight. You can bypass the default red tinting mode and just use these brightness controls.

  • On my 2006 iMac it won't dim the backlight more than System Preferences will. With red on and brightness (non-backlight) it helps, but it would be great if it could flat out turn off the backlight as well, as my display is messed up (lots of vertical lines that are unaffected by any settings and still at full brightness) and I only want to use remote access anyway.
    – Michael
    Dec 26, 2012 at 15:12
  • 2
    I ended up using Shades and that does a very good job of darkening the screen completely by lowering the gamma. The screen is still on, but it appears that's a limitation of the iMac. Dec 26, 2012 at 16:27

You could turn the brightness on the machine all the way down, which will effectively blank out the screen until the brightness is set up again.

  • 3
    Unfortunately that does not work on an iMac. I'd be happy to do so if the brightness would go all the way down to nothing. The best I can make it is dimmer but the screen remains on. Aug 14, 2012 at 0:17
  • Can you try Control+Shift+Eject and let me know if that works?
    – hiiambo
    Aug 14, 2012 at 12:33
  • 2
    No luck with that either. That puts the iMac to sleep, but it wakes up immediately afterwards while there's an active remote desktop session Aug 17, 2012 at 14:37
  • So looking around I haven't found a reliable way to turn the display "off". The best that I can seem to manage is to sleep it, which will turn it back on with any sort of activity.
    – hiiambo
    Aug 17, 2012 at 15:10

If you would not mind using Voice Over, VO has the option of turning the screen black, called screen curtain. You must have VO on to use the screen curtain. To turn Voice over on use command f5, to enable screen curtain press VO (control and option) shift f11, to turn the screen back on use the same key combination. I am not sure how this will work while screen sharing. The information can be found on Apples site, the link is below.


  • I discovered that the key combo does not work when typed remotely, it must be typed from a physically attached keyboard. Which I guess is just as well, because this also blanks the remote display when using a remote desktop, which makes it all pointless anyway.
    – Michael
    Dec 26, 2012 at 15:07

fwiw, i found Shady did the trick for me. slightly different use case though, in mine i'm trying to turn off the internal screen which is broken. which is impossible with an imac, as we all know. but Shady (free! but support the devs!), even if it mightn't completely turn off the screen, makes it so dark i can't see the flickering bastard.

originally foudn it here: https://mac-how-to.gadgethacks.com/how-to/lower-screen-brightness-your-mac-below-default-0168430/

direct link to shady dev page: https://instinctivecode.com/shady/

  • the App seems to be discontinued
    – n1000
    Nov 27, 2018 at 19:22

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