Stupid But Useful Mac Trick: Turn Off Internal MacBook Pro Screen With a Magnet
We’ve shown you how to disable the internal display of a Mac laptop running OS X Lion or later with sleep or with the help of a command line trick, those are the recommended approaches but not everyone has gotten them to work on their Macs. An alternate and peculiar option left in our comments shows us how to turn off an internal MacBook Pro screen by using a magnet. Yes, like a refrigerator magnet. The result is basically the opposite of clamshell mode, where the MacBook is left open but the internal display is disabled, allowing an external display to become the only screen. Generally speaking you should exhaust all other possible methods of turning off the internal screen before resulting to rubbing magnets on a computer, but this is an interesting enough hardwarehack to mention.
Before we relay the instructions, here’s a valid warning: magnets can cause damage to electronic components and hard disks, it’s generally not a good idea to use magnets around computer hardware of any sort. We don’t recommend this method and are relaying instructions for informational purposes only so proceed at your own risk. If you screw something up we are not responsible.
OK with the risk? Then you’ll need an external keyboard and mouse attached for this to work.
- Find a small flat refrigerator magnet, the type that frequently comes in junk mail and with pizza orders- do not use a strong magnet for this task
- Connect an external display to the MacBook
- Carefully slide the magnet around the outside rim of the MacBook to find the sleep inducing spot, you’ll know you have found it because the MacBook immediately goes to sleep
- After sleep, press a key on the external keyboard to wake the Mac up
- The external display should now be active as the primary screen while the internal display stays off, allowing you to use the Mac only with the secondary display
This presumably works the same way as the sleep method, though quite a few commenters on Apple’s Discussion Boards claim the traditional sleep approach doesn’t work for them and, believe it or not, many are swearing by this magnet technique.
Thanks to Richard for the interesting tip left in our comments.