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When you use an external display with your Mac, you’re forced to fiddle with clunky buttons on the monitor to adjust brightness, sound levels, and other display settings. Needless to say, it’s not ideal. If we’re stuck with badly-designed hardware settings on our monitors, there should at least be a way to change those same settings via software. Fortunately, now there is.
Use Lunar to control your monitor settings
Lunar is an app that lets you control your monitor’s settings directly from your Mac. One of its most convenient options allows you to adjust the brightness levels on all external monitors—something that feels intuitive to control from the macOS itself. If you have a multi-monitor setup, you can use the app to turn off displays you’re not actively using, so you can automatically turn off the MacBook’s display the moment it’s connected to external monitors.
You can also switch between displays, reduce monitor brightness below its lowest point for a truly dim display, or even increase the brightness above 100% if you need. You can use the Mac’s brightness and volume keys to control those settings on your monitor, which removes a layer of friction. If you prefer custom keyboard shortcuts, the app lets you use a bunch of hotkeys to control various options, too.
When you’re using Lunar, you’ll need to be connected to a modern monitor to make the most of its features. If you use it with TVs or older monitors, some features may not work because the Display Data Commands (DDC) feature is sometimes unsupported on certain ports. Lunar uses DDC to help you set brightness levels, and if your monitor or Mac blocks these commands on certain ports, the features may not be available. Switching to a different port may help you get around this problem. You can also try quitting and relaunching Lunar once to see if the problem persists.
How much does Lunar cost?
The app allows you to use many of its features for free, so you can give it a shot to see if it works with your setup. Although it works well with desktop Macs such as the Mac Studio or the Mac mini, Lunar has some features that work only with MacBooks. For example, one of its paid features allows you to use the ambient light sensor on your MacBook to automatically adjust the brightness levels on all monitors. While this is good to have, most people will be more than happy to use the free features alone. If you want to, you can buy the pro version of Lunar for $23, which comes with a 14-day free trial for you to check out first.
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