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Can't use only the external monitor, leaving macbook open on Lion

6008 Views 12 Replies Latest reply: Jan 31, 2013 8:57 PM by blairg23 RSS
andreaoo Calculating status...
Currently Being Moderated
Jul 21, 2011 7:11 AM



  • macbook pro 15-inch, Early 2011
  • external samsung monitor, attached using HDMI to Thunderbolth adaptor


Previous Situation


With Snow Leopard I was able to keep the macbook screen open but turned off and use only the external monitor. This way I was able to use the front camera to make conference having everything only in the external monitor.


Current Situation


With Lion as soon as I open the macbook monitor the image splits between the two monitors and I'm not able to set the extenal one as only one.

MacBook Pro, Mac OS X (10.7)
  • mamamamam Calculating status...

    I would like to add my dislike to this situation too.


    I want to use my external monitor and when I open the lid on my MacBook Pro 13inch, with the external monitor already running, I want the MBPro dislplay to stay off. But no it turns on automatically as a second display.


    I have made my external monitor the primary etc.

  • hamer313 Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)

    We are all debayting this here:



    Submit a bug report and hopefully apple will listen


    We live in hope right?


    There are some interim fixes avaialble to do with using 'SwitchResX' but they are only interim...

  • Gontzal Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Same issue here :-(

  • Linda Custer Level 2 Level 2 (315 points)

    I agree -- I absolutely hate this behavior.


    One thing you can do, though. Get a simple magnet (like from your refrigerator) and put it on the left edge of the top of the Mac while open, just to the right of the keyboard and trackpad. You'll find a place where, if you leave the magnet there, the screen will blank allowing you to use *just* the external screen.

  • singularity999 Calculating status...

    So frustrating... and so lame.  Please fix it, Apple!




    <Edited by Host>

  • Jonathan UK Level 1 Level 1 (45 points)

    Support today quoted Apple's engineers as saying it is "expected behaviour" under Lion for the MBP's internal display to reactivate upon opening the lid, even if you want to use only your external display. A new version of the clamshell mode-related knowledgebase article (replacing HT3131) is due shortly confirming this.


    This is despite:


    - the obvious temperature-related benefits that were achievable (under Snow Leopard) by opening your MBP lid whilst continuing to output solely to, say, a 27" cinema display
    - potential wifi connectivity benefits of having the lid open
    - the waste of energy and inefficient use of graphics processing power in needlessly running two active screens (ie if running your MBP in clamshell mode would otherwise make it too hot and/or noisy or you need it open for wifi)
    - the negative longer-term impact on the battery and other components from running the MBP any hotter than it needs to be.


    To have any hope of getting the previous behaviour back, we need to lobby Apple to change how Lion handles clamshell mode. Options available to them include changing Lion's expected behaviour or adding a user-selectable option within System Preferences.


    If you haven't already submitted feedback, please do so below. Now the situation has been clarified as intentional, user feedback has become all the more important.


  • mamamamam Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    "Expected Behavior". What a load of rubbish, not one user (uses of this feature) was expecting this behavior when they upgraded/installed Lion.

    I do believe that apple builds its software for the end user??? So why change something like this that has no benifit and only upsets the end user??? Not a logical approach.


    What next!

  • Jonathan UK Level 1 Level 1 (45 points)

    1. Potential solution: Apple wants your forum feedback


    Please see a post in the following thread and reply to it as you wish. Apple has reportedly requested us to provide evidence in support of our desire to have the "open lid with screen off" option reinstated (eg the significance of operating temperature differences, levels of reduction in wifi reception, etc). They may then address our concerns with a Lion update.



    2. The madness of magnets


    This is very worrying. It's madness that Apple owners should feel obliged to experiment with passing magnets over the top of their premium-priced computers and sticking them on here, there and everywhere in the hope of finding short-term workarounds. The sooner this problem is fixed at source (ie within Lion), the better!

  • zz2k9 Calculating status...

    yes i find this very frustrating.. with so many options to customize the user settings, why have they

    on purpose have apple not kept an option for external display as a primary and only option? i mean what use is Lion and all the fullscreen features if it is not implemented on dual displays properly, at least let the end user who paid good money to use a simple function as single display. for god sakes even Windows has it! my mac can do so much but not this? why apple? Give us the options .. NOW! leave the iOS alone and help the mac users who have been asking for this a long time. And no, i will not provide a valid reason as to why i need this feature. there is no conversation, just do it now. Windows users will be laughing that we cant even do simple external only display. I want this option so i can save gpu resources, RAM allocation and heat preventation. more than enough incentive, clamshell mode is the silliest thing ive seen a macbook pro used for. Tim Cook, listen to the mac users, they are the people to care about. Stop giving absurd time and resources for iphone when the mac isnt even complete and you know full well what the mac users want and need ! and its not unrealistic, only simple! forget making XYZ number of stores around the world and focus on software development for mac. jheeze it was the sole reason i ditched a PC, and now when the time comes for a simple need, oh look, i cant do it. money has really gone to the companies head recently. sad that OS X is being mainstream-ised. right, my rant is over.

    a reasonable request from a realistic individual.



  • Godoy12 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    So, for Lion users, it's possible to just use the external display with the lid open:


    1. In Mission Control Preferences activate one Hot Corner to put the display to sleep.


    2. Connect the external monitor and plug in the power source to your computer.


    3. Move the mouse to the Hot Corner to put the display to sleep.


    4. Close the lid and wait a few seconds.


    5. Open the lid and voila!


    Take care!

  • FORESTCY Calculating status...


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