It's better to burn out then to fade away
July 26, 2008 6:23 PM   Subscribe

MacBook Pro screen weirdness - feature or bug?

I just bought a MacBook Pro two weeks ago. Haven't used a Mac since college (I think I mentioned this in my last question about Macs). When I am on battery power, the screen will modulate in brightness - fading in and out occassionally. It never really goes dark, but about every 3 minutes it will fade briefly then flare back up to normal brightness. Is this a setting I don't know about - some kind of power saving thing? Or is there something wrong and I should be concerned?
posted by spicynuts to Computers & Internet (6 answers total)
Best answer: The screen brightness changes relative to the ambient light in the room. I've also notices that how bright your screen currently is affects it... so if you open a bright, white window on your screen, the screen will tend to react by getting brighter overall since there is more ambient light.

You can turn it off in System Preferences -> Display.
posted by whiskeyspider at 6:33 PM on July 26, 2008

Response by poster: Whew..awesome! Thanks, man!
posted by spicynuts at 6:36 PM on July 26, 2008

Changes in screen brightness can also inadvertently be triggered by moving a hand over the light sensors, which are I believe located in the grilles to the left and right of the keyboard.
posted by squid patrol at 8:48 PM on July 26, 2008

The behavior that whiskeyspider describes is especially noticeable when the ambient light in the room is dark. You can also provoke this behavior by holding your hands or an opaque object near the top row of keys. Turn it off as s/he describes.
posted by brianogilvie at 9:00 PM on July 26, 2008

I think what you are describing is different than the automatic light sensor brightness adjustment.

It's a power saving feature, it can be turned off under Energy Saver, and then select "Settings for: Battery". I think the relevant setting is "Automatically reduce the brightness before display sleep."
posted by kenliu at 9:43 PM on July 26, 2008

Response by poster: Kenliu, no it was what whiskeyspider said. Also, the other information about the sensors is greatly helpful. Thanks everyone!
posted by spicynuts at 8:20 AM on July 28, 2008

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