Turn off screen by dimming

I’m used to turning off my screen by dimming it all the way to zero. But I guess recently that has changed? I can’t seem to turn off my laptop screen anymore by just dimming it all the way. Any idea on how to turn off my screen through dimming?

Hi @bojohnson02! Can you please elaborate a bit more what do you want to achieve?

Specifically why options to automatically turn off the screen after some period of inactivity don’t work for you (that’s what I use)?

Maybe you have an external monitor plugged in and you want you laptop screen to be powered off while you work on external monitor? Or you want to be able to manually switch off the laptop screen right away? Or something else entirely?

There are certain situation I’ve had in the past where I’d like to turn my laptop screen off but keep it running. An example is connecting a TV and watching films or shows on the TV, but not having to keep the laptop screen on, but still have it on.

Basically the situations you mentioned.

Brightness control may depend on the following:

  • BIOS/EFI firmware version.
  • Kernel version.
  • Kernel boot parameters.
  • Loaded kernel modules.

Usually it is very specific, depends on the laptop model and hard to troubleshoot.
I don’t want to disappoint you but the described behavior seems more like a bug.
Because in most cases you shouldn’t be able to turn off the screen that way.

There are some Gnome Shell extensions which may be helpful:

You can also search for other similar extensions with the following keywords: display, monitor, screen.

That’s good to know that it was probably just a bug in the first place. Thanks for the links to the different extensions, I’ll take a look at them.

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You didn’t mention what model laptop you’re using.

I had one laptop where dimming the screen fully would turn the screen backlight off. Note that the screen itself (pixels) was still on, and that could be seen by looking at it in sunlight or with a flashlight. Most laptops don’t behave that way and have a minimum backlight brightness without turning it off.

On the other hand, there’s usually a function key that turns the screen off. That might be more what you’re looking for.

Additionally, I’ve encountered one laptop that has an unmarked (only mentioned in BIOS) “stealth” mode key combination which turns off the screen and all lights/LEDs without turning off the system.

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This gets my vote! @bojohnson02, for the purpose you describe that’s the best solution. I’ve just tested it (on a Gnome DE), this hotkey cycles through display configurations with a beautiful screen overlay: Mirror – Join Displays – External only – Internal only. It basically made exactly for the purpose you want to use it for. :slight_smile:

I’ve seen such a key on all the notebooks I’ve had in my hands (which is not that many, but more then ten). It usually is on some of [F1]-[F12] keys and usually has a screen label/icon on it (sometimes clear and sometime quite symbolic). On some notebooks you have to press [Fn]+[one of Fx keys], for example on a Dell I have access to at work it’s [Fn]+[F8], on an HP it looks like [Fn]+[F4].


There are a couple more things you can try, if you don’t have such a key.

  1. Turn off suspend when notebook lid is closed feature and close your notebook’s lid. On most (all?) of the laptops I’ve seen it forces them to turn off the built-in screen, but the with above mentioned setting they remain running and display to external monitor. Opening the lid turns on the built-in screen again.

    To turn off the setting in a GUI - if you’re using Gnome DE, then you need to install Gnome Tweak Tool:

    sudo dnf install gnome-tweak-tool
    

    Run it by searching for tweak in launcher, and on the main settings page there’s an option Suspend when notebook lid is closed.

    There’s also a way to do the same from the command line without installing GUI tool, but I don’t remember it from the top of my head.

  2. More clunky way but without closing the lid. You can go to display settings and temporarily switch display mode to Single display display and choose external one. This is basically what the hotkey @fasulia mentioned does, but with you doing it manually through settings. Setting it back to “Join displays” turns the built-in one back on.

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I don’t know the old behavior of brightness, if there was one.
But if you want to use the external monitor only, and turn off the laptop screen, using GNOME you can use only one display and turn off the other one.

Go to Settings -> Displays, then in Display Mode select Single Display. Here select the display you want to keep on (the external one). Apply. The laptop display turns off.
At least it works for me.

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I’m using a Lenovo Yoga, and I can’t find a screen function button. But I really like @nightromantic’s idea, which I’ve implemented so I can just close my laptop and still have things running. And @alciregi’s plan for when I connect to an external screen works well also.

Can you please tell me which model you have and/or post here the screenshot of your keyboard? We need upper row of keys clearly visible with labels on them readable.

For example on this picture

of some Yoga model the key we’ve talked about should be on [F10] – judging from the label on the key alone.

Depending on the manufacturer’s preference and/or settings it may work either by itself – i.e. just press [F10] – or with Fn key – [Fn]+[F10].

@nightromantic It’s the Lenovo Yoga710-15ISK.

Judging by the photos from Lenovo’s site on your model it should be F10 too.

Can you check it with and without holding Fn?

Also please check if other hotkeys are working: F1 to mute/unmute sound, F2/F3 for changing volume, F7 to toggle aeroplane mode, etc.

So the volume buttons work by holding Fn+[F1,F2,F3], or the brightening and dimming buttons work by holding the Fn key down first. But the F10 button doesn’t seem to work with or without holding the Fn key first.

They all work the same, i.e. it should be [Fn]+[F10]. And I might be wrong about the button, or it simple may not work under Linux for some reason.

Well then you’ll have to use some of other ways @alciregi and I suggested.

Also there may be a way to do switching between two monitors from the command line (I’ve seen some suggestions), but I’ve never done that myself, you’ll have to test it yourself.

Gotcha, yeah I’ll probably use the methods you suggested previously.

The key should be F10, I’ve found some confirmations, and I’ve found some reports about it not working or partially working under Linux on some Yoga models. I’m not sure if there’s a workaround to make it work.

Ow… stumbled upon it almost by chance. Please try [Windows key]+[P].

In Gnome’s keyboard shortcuts it’s called [Super], not [Windows] :slight_smile:

I just tried the [Super]+[P] but it doesn’t work.

[Super]+[P] on my desktop PC displays the same overlay I’ve seen earlier on a laptop, I can’t turn off monitors with it but can succesfully change between Mirrored mode and Join Display mode.

It’s no use for me on a PC, but it’s built into Gnome it seems.