Use This App to Control External Displays From Your Mac

When you use an external display with your Mac, you’re forced to fiddle with clumsy buttons on the monitor to adjust brightness, volume, and other display settings. Needless to say, it’s not ideal. If we’re stuck with poorly designed hardware settings on our monitors, there must at least be a way to change those same settings via software. Fortunately, now there is.

Use Lunar to manage your monitor settings

Lunar is an application that lets you control your monitor settings right from your Mac. One of the most convenient options allows you to adjust the brightness levels on all external monitors—intuitive control from macOS itself. If you have multiple monitors set up, you can use the app to turn off displays you’re not actively using so that you can automatically turn off your MacBook display when it’s connected to external monitors.

You can also switch between displays, dim the monitor’s brightness below its lowest point for a really dim display, or even increase the brightness above 100% if you need to. You can use your Mac’s brightness and volume keys to control these settings on your monitor, which removes a layer of friction. If you prefer customizable keyboard shortcuts, the app also lets you use a variety of hotkeys to control various options.

When you use Lunar, you need to connect to a modern monitor to get the most out of its features. If you are using it with TVs or older monitors, some features may not work because Display Data Commands (DDC) is sometimes not supported 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 restarting Lunar once to see if the issue persists.

How much does Lunar cost?

The app lets you use many of its features for free, so you can try it out to see if it works with your setup. While it works well with Mac desktops like Mac Studio or Mac mini, Lunar has some features that only work with MacBooks. For example, one of its paid features allows you to use the ambient light sensor on your MacBook to automatically adjust brightness levels across all monitors. While this is good, most people will be more than happy to use only the free features. If you want, you can buy the pro version of Lunar for $23, which comes with a 14-day free trial that you can check out first.


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