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This app can double the brightness of your MacBook Pro

The MacBook Pro‘s screen brightness is a hardware control with a well-defined maximum setting, yet there is an app that can unlock tons of display intensity that would otherwise never be seen.

The Mac app is called Vivid and while it sounds too good to be true, it really works to double brightness system-wide. The way it can achieve this is by tricking MacOS into seeing everything as high dynamic range content.

The Vivid app has a free split-screen mode that demonstrates double-brightness on half the screen of a 2021 MacBook Pro.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Since the key to this technique is to use HDR, no visible change will be seen unless using a Mac that supports greater than normal brightness for HDR content. That narrows its usefulness down to the 2021 MacBook Pro 14-inch or 16-inch models which feature XDR mini-LED backlit displays with an incredible, sustained maximum brightness level of 1,000 nits. That’s more than twice the standard 500-nit intensity level. Apple’s Pro Display XDR is a high-end monitor that can also reach 1,000 nits of brightness when displaying HDR content.

To try it out for free, simply visit Vivid’s website to download and drag the app to the Applications folder. The app can be used in split-screen mode for free or purchased for 20 Euros, which is a little over $20. While it can be installed on any Mac, the app only brightens XDR screens.

After opening the app, tapping the brightness key (F2) when display intensity is already at maximum reveals a secondary brightness bar below the system bar that represents the extended brightness available with the Vivid app, providing 10 more degrees of brightness that push into XDR levels.

Vivid app adds a second brightness bar to a 2021 MacBook Pro.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

This is equivalent to watching an HDR movie or editing an HDR video on a MacBook Pro all day long, meaning the battery level will drop more quickly with extended brightness enabled.

The developer indicates the app doesn’t force a MacBook Pro to do anything it wasn’t designed to do, however, it might increase display temperature by 5% to 10%. Combined with a high ambient temperature, a MacBook Pro XDR display could reach a temperature that would cause brightness to be limited. That means the XDR display should automatically protect itself from any heat damage.

Some apps might show inaccurate colors when using Vivid to increase display brightness beyond the normal levels but having the ability to turn up brightness beyond maximum is a nice treat when trying to use a MacBook Pro outside. Overcoming glare and reflections can be quite difficult and Vivid is a clever solution that really works.

Alan Truly
Alan is a Computing Writer living in Nova Scotia, Canada. A tech-enthusiast since his youth, Alan stays current on what is…
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