Precisely Adjust Display Brightness

Jul 1, 2010 - 8 Comments

precisely adjust brightness on mac

Hold down the Option+Shift keys while you adjust screen brightness to precisely adjust the displays brightness by allowing you to have 64 levels of varying brightness vs the default 16.

The incremental adjustment allows for precision when setting a screen brightness level, offering tremendous control over exactly how bright or dim you want the Mac display to be.

As you can see in the screenshot, this is done by breaking each brightness step into four stages. I find this kind of precision really useful on my MacBook Pro when in dimmer lighting conditions, but it works on desktop Macs too, and with just about every version of OS X.

You can do the same type of precise adjustments when changing your Mac volume levels too, which also offers the incremental controls through the same keyboard modifier trick.

Note that new versions of OS X still allow for this feature, but with Lion through Yosemite a slightly different modifier key is required for the incremental precision adjustments using the function keys for volume levels and brightness levels on the newest Mac keyboard.

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Posted by: Manish Patel in Mac OS X, Tips & Tricks


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  1. Patricio says:

    The same procedure is valid for volume control!


  2. Patricio says:

    oops, the information was there already…sorry.

  3. Anthony J says:

    Hmm I can get it to work for the volume but not the backlight, does something need to be changed in my settings?

  4. John A says:

    Does not work on 10.5.x

    only on 10.6.x

    ..volume works on both

  5. […] eye fatigue on late nights in front of my Mac. I let Flux adjust the displays warmth, and then I manually adjust the display brightness to a lower […]

  6. nixoninajar says:

    won’t work on Mac OS X 10.7 Beta 1

  7. Classified says:

    Doesn’t work on Lion

  8. […] you remember how you could make small and precise 1/4 incremental changes to brightness and audio volume in Mac OS X Snow Leopard by holding down the Option key? Many thought this feature […]

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