How to Adjust Your Mac’s Screen Brightness, Manually and Automatically

mac brightness adjust

macOS comes with the ability to adjust screen brightness manually and automatically. I usually set it to auto-mode as the system automatically sets the brightness bar based on the environment around. The brightness adjustment options vary based on different Macs and third-party keyboards. macOS also offers Energy Saver option which changes screen brightness based on the power delivery and battery percentage.

In this post, we are going to talk about several ways to adjust the screen brightness of your Mac manually and automatically. We will also talk about the trick to change the screen brightness of your MacBook using the Terminal commands. Let’s get started.

Adjust Mac’s Screen Brightness Manually and Automatically

Use Keyboard Keys 

If you are using the MacBook then you can use the F1 and F2 keys to manually decrease and increase the brightness respectively. For desktop Mac users, you will find the same options on the F14 and F15 keys of the Apple keyboard to change the screen brightness. The brightness keys are usually represented by the Sun logo on them.

Upon pressing the keys, you will find the brightness overlay appearing on the Mac screen. Adjust the option based on your preference.

Using Touchbar

If you own a MacBook Pro with a Touchbar, you can use simply slide the drag the sun-like icon to adjust the brightness of the display.

For Third-party Keyboards

If you are using any other third-party keyboard for your Mac desktop, then you won’t be able to see the same options as the above. In that case, you can manually adjust the screen brightness from the Mac Settings menu. Follow the steps below to act.

Step 1: Tap on the little Apple icon at the upper left corner and select System Preferences. Alternatively, you can open the System Preferences using the Spotlight Search (Command + Space) menu.

Step 2: Go to the Display menu in the System Preferences section.

brightness slider

Step 3: Here, you can adjust the brightness slider for your liking.

The above method will only let you control the screen brightness of your Mac or MacBook. You cannot use it to adjust the screen brightness of an external non-Apple display connected to your machine. For the external monitor, you will have to adjust its brightness using buttons that are usually located below the display panel.

Automatically Adjust Brightness Mac’s Screen Brightness

If your MacBook or Mac has an ambient lighting sensor, then you will see the Automatically adjust brightness option under the same menu – System Preferences -> Display. Enable the option and the device will adjust the brightness automatically based on the surrounding light.

mac auto brightness

Use Terminal Commands to Adjust Brightness

If you know your way around Terminal, it is easily the most powerful tool on a Mac. The below-mentioned method is suitable for power users. And if your MacBook’s F1/F2 keys have stopped working, then you can use this trick to increase or decrease the screen brightness.

Step 1: Open Terminal using the search menu at the upper right corner or use the Command + Space keyboard shortcut.

Step 2: Type Terminal in it and hit the return button. Alternatively, you can go to the launchpad and open the Terminal app from the Other folder.

Step 3: Type the following command.

osascript -e ‘tell application “System Events”‘ -e ‘key code 144’ -e ‘ end tell’

masOS terminal

The command will increase the brightness by one bar on the device. To lower down the brightness by one bar, use the command below and hit the return key.

osascript -e ‘tell application “System Events”‘ -e ‘key code 145’ -e ‘ end tell’

Before making the change, the OS will ask you to give the required permission to let the Terminal make system-level changes. Head to System Preferences -> Security & Privacy -> Accessibility and enable the option for Terminal.

allow permission

Which option did you find the most-suitable to adjust the Mac screen brightness? Sound off in the comments section below.