iMac brightness FAQ: Is there a way I can control the iMac monitor brightness more than the standard iMac brightness control allows?
I bought a new iMac last year, and in general I like it. In fact, the only thing I can think of that I don't like is that my iMac is too bright. Even at the lowest brightness setting, the iMac display is too bright, especially when I'm working at night. (Makes me wonder if there will be an iMac brightness lawsuit one day.)
Fortunately this "iMac brightness" issue seems to be a well-known problem, and you can get free software to help with the iMac brightness control more than Apple allows with Mac OS X.
A few months ago I downloaded a free application named Shades that works really well. With Shades, you can easily control the iMac brightness, and reduce the brightness below the lowest iMac brightness settings, taking it down to levels that won't burn the retinas out of your eyes at night.
iMac brightness - Using Shades for iMac brightness control
The Mac Shades application installs easily, and once it's running you can control your iMac brightness it in a number of ways. One way to control the iMac brightness with Shades is through a slider menu that you can set up in your OS X menu bar. To control the iMac display brightness, click the Shades icon in the Mac menu bar, and then move the slider nugget up and down to control the brightness.
I use my iMac a lot, so a better/faster way for me to control the iMac brightness is through two Shades keystroke settings. I can just press [Alt][+] to increase the Mac display brightness, or [Alt][-] to reduce the brightness.
iMac brightness app - A note about Mac contrast control
An interesting note I just realized is that on all the Macs I've bought, there is no contrast control. For instance, on the MacBook Pro I'm typing on right now, you press [F1] to reduce the brightness, and [F2] to increase it, but there is no "contrast" setting.
I've never thought about this until now, but I guess the Apple/Mac designers decided it wasn't necessary to have both controls, and I have to say, I haven't missed it. I probably wouldn't have even thought about this, except I just worked on my sister's Windows computer over the Christmas holidays, and was fooling with the brightness and contrast on a Gateway monitor.
I give the Apple designers credit for making this "simplification" decision, and just as importantly, for making the software and hardware work in a way that I didn't miss this control.
iMac brightness - summary
Getting back to my iMac brightness control discussion ... Shades has been a good application to fix the iMac brightness problem. You can download Shades for free on the Charcoal Design website.