How to control the brightness and volume of a connected monitor on a Mac.
How to control the brightness and volume of a connected monitor on a Mac
When using apple computers with an integrated display (MacBook or iMac) the user has no difficulty in adjusting the brightness of the matrix backlight. If you connect a second monitor or use a fixed Mac mini/Mac Pro monitor When paired with a third-party display, you lose a convenient way to adjust image brightness.
You have to go to the display settings and use the awkward buttons on the front or back of the monitor. It is curious that the Cupertinos completely ignore the Display Data Channel (DDC) protocol to communicate between the signal source and the matrix, and still do not use any software dimming method for unsupported displays.
In the following I will tell you about a recent finding of mine that solves the described problem and definitely deserves to be integrated as a macOS system chip.
How to set up convenient brightness and volume control in macOS
1. Download the free app MonitorControl from GitHub.
2. Install the utility and give all necessary permissions on first boot. It will be necessary to add MonitorControl allow list for Universal Access along the path System Settings – Security & Protection – Privacy.
3. Once there, locate the app indicator in the menu bar and go to Settings. There, activate the item Begins at logonso that the utility works after restarting the Mac.
You now have the ability to control many of the parameters of a connected monitor at the system level. Everything will work exactly the same as, for example, with the main matrix of a MacBook or the screen of an iMac.
The utility works fine with the default settings, but I still recommend that you explore the application’s options. On the home page, you should pay attention to the following options:
▶ Enable smooth glow transition – Enables a smoother brightness transition effect of the monitor backlight.
▶ Combines regulation by hardware and software – Activates two built-in regulation mechanisms. One works at the hardware level for monitors with DDC protocol support, and the second is software in the form of a trivial light filter superimposed on the image.
The combination of the two modes of operation not only allows you to adjust the brightness on any connected screen, but also to obtain additional minimum backlight values that were not originally intended by the manufacturer of the matrix.
▶ Synchronize brightness changes of built-in apple displays – Enables automatic adjustment of external display brightness based on data from the primary display light sensor on Mac computers.
▶ Allow zero brightness via software or combined dimming – The option activates a mode to completely turn off the backlight of the monitor without turning it off and putting the computer in standby mode. This can be useful if you need to turn off the screen while time consuming processes are running.
On the tab. Application menu you can find these useful parameters:
▶ Show volume slider in menu – enables the volume slider for screens with additional speakers or headphone output.
▶ Show contrast slider in menu – Enables matrix contrast adjustment on supported displays.
▶ multiple screens – allows you to customize the application menu display when working with multiple screens.
The menu display options are also activated here.
You can enable the current levels of brightness, contrast and volume to be displayed as a percentage or add notches for certain slider positions.
Keyboard section has these parameters:
▶ Brightness and Contrast – This unit allows you to configure standard or third-party keys to control the brightness or contrast of the monitor’s backlight. This is convenient because you can have two control units at the same time (for the standard matrix and for the connected external monitor).
▶ Volume control – Similar parameter block for adjusting the audio control keys of an external display.
In the last block of options Shows to see the characteristics of the connected monitor, how to control the brightness and a block with additional parameters for advanced users.
It’s a solid set of features packed into a small, free utility for macOS. I consider it a real godsend for those who regularly use their Mac with an additional monitor or display.
Depending on the type of display and its support for the DDC standard, the MonitorControl utility can control displays connected in Sidecar mode, additional displays via third-party apps and even some TVs via AirPlay.
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