Control the brightness and contrast of your external monitors, and even let these settings be managed automatically based on the time of day or ambient light
If you have your Mac connected to an external non-Apple display, it’s a bit annoying having to rely on the old-fashioned buttons at the side of the monitor for controlling brightness and contrast. Software control is still possible, but it requires a specialized app.
Lunar is just that app. It allows you to change your external monitor’s brightness and contrast with simple hotkeys, as well as automate the settings based on the time of day, ambient light, and other devices.
Control brightness and contrast via software
If your external monitor supports DDC, it is usually possible to change its brightness, contrast, or volume from the app. However, this isn’t guaranteed to work, as some Macs, adapters, and docks may be incompatible with the DDC protocol. Please check this list if you run into any issues.
The advantage of Lunar’s method of controlling brightness/contrast is that it changes the same settings modified by the physical buttons on your monitor instead of applying a software overlay, which is what a lot of similar apps do.
Just like with Apple displays, you can use hotkeys to increase or decrease brightness, contrast, and volume, as well as set them to a certain value with a single key combination.
Adaptive brightness based on time of day or ambient lighting
Lunar can change your monitor’s brightness setting automatically based on the time of day in your location. The curve factor, location, and steps are all customizable, and you can even add exceptions to maintain different settings for specific apps.
Alternatively, the app can change brightness based on readings from an ambient light sensor. If you don’t have this kind of device, you can also sync your MacBook’s brightness setting to all connected monitors, thus taking advantage of the laptop’s built-in sensor.
Workaround for M1 Macs
Since the new Apple Silicon Macs lack DDC support, it is not possible to use the same method to control monitor brightness. The workaround is to change the software gamma tables in order to darken the image, which requires your monitor’s brightness and contrast to be set to the highest value using the physical buttons. This isn’t an ideal solution, and it makes controlling volume impossible.
Another option is to use a Raspberry Pi, which receives DDC commands and then sends them to your monitor, but this is obviously not a solution for most users.
Overall, Lunar is worth a try if you want to have easier control over your external monitor’s brightness and contrast. It has a bunch of interesting features and helpful shortcuts, and you can try it out freely to make sure it works with your device.