How to Use a MacBook or MacBook Pro with the Lid Closed and Hooked to an External Monitor
Updated on 2/10/2012: You can easily use the MacBook, MacBook Air, or MacBook Pro in what’s commonly called clamshell mode, when the laptop lid is closed but the machine is hooked up to an external monitor, keyboard, and mouse, effectively turning your portable Mac into a desktop. Doing this is easy, here’s how to get into clamshell mode on system boot and when waking from sleep.
Activating Clamshell Mode On System Boot
* Hook up your external keyboard, mouse, power supply, and display
* Boot your MacBook and once you see the Apple logo, close the machines lid
* Mac OS X will now continue to boot using the external monitor as it’s main display, and your laptop closed
Using Clamshell Mode When Waking from Sleep
* Be sure the external keyboard, mouse, power supply, and display are hooked up to the MacBook, MacBook Air, or MacBook Pro
* Put the machine to sleep and close the lid
* Keeping the lid closed, hit any key on the external keyboard to wake the MacBook/Pro from sleep
* Mac OS X will now use the external display as the primary monitor
Clamshell mode works in Mac OS X 10.7, Mac OS X 10.6.8, and before.
Important notes on running a MacBook or MacBook Pro with the lid closed in clamshell mode:
Both the MacBook and MacBook Pro use the keyboard as a way to aid in the dissipation of heat, keeping the machine in clamshell mode reduces the cooling efficiency so be sure that the MacBook/Pro has adequate ventilation otherwise. The ideal situation of running a Mac with the lid closed is to use a laptop stand or something similar that increases the airflow around the machine. Insuring adequate airflow will reduce the likelihood of the machine overheating. You may notice the fans on your machine running more often when the computer is operating with the lid closed.
Personally, I like to keep my MacBook Pro’s screen open so I can benefit from the increased productivity of dual monitors, I just turn the larger external display into my primary screen.
Image via flickr