One of the perks of using an LG UltraFine Display is its integration with macOS. Instead of a cumbersome, off-putting on-screen display setup, you can control the brightness and volume of the LG UltraFine 4K or 5K Display directly from your Mac.
Controlling the display’s volume using a Touch Bar shortcut on the MacBook Pro is simple and straightforward, but what if you wish to control the display’s brightness from the Touch Bar as well?
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As you may have noticed, and as we pointed out in our hands-on look at the LG UltraFine 5K Display, adjusting the brightness from the MacBook Pro’s Touch Bar will only adjust the brightness of the MacBook Pro’s display itself.
Instead of having to always go to System Preferences → Displays in order to utilize the brightness slider, you can combine the Touch Bar brightness buttons with a modifier key to direct your commands to the LG UltraFine Display.
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Step 1: Tap the chevron button on the Touch Bar to open the extended Control Strip to reveal the two brightness buttons.
Step 2: Hold the Control (⌃) key on your MacBook Pro’s keyboard, and tap the brightness up or brightness down button. By holding Control, you’ll notice the brightness change on your LG UltraFine Display instead of the MacBook Pro’s internal display. Unfortunately, you can’t use the brightness slider while holding Control to adjust the external display just yet.
A fix for delayed brightness adjustments in 10.12.4 beta
I’ve noticed that in previous versions of macOS, employing this shortcut would result in a delay between key presses and the resulting brightness adjustments on the external display. However, with the latest macOS 10.12.4 beta, Apple has implemented a fix. On 10.12.4, brightness adjustments using the keyboard shortcut are nearly instant as one would expect them to be.
If you’re using your MacBook Pro in clamshell mode with an external keyboard like the Magic Keyboard, then the built in keyboard shortcuts for brightness will do the job. However, if you like to use your MacBook Pro as a keyboard while connected to the LG UltraFine Display, then this tip might save you some time.
I’m hoping that macOS will eventually employ the use of the LG UltraFine Display’s built in ambient light sensor. It appears that the hardware is there (on both the 4K and 5K models) to accommodate such a feature, but there’s no presence of an automatically adjust brightness setting in the Display preferences for the LG UltraFine.
For more coverage of the LG UltraFine 5K Display, be sure to watch our full hands-on video: