Turn off the Mac's volume/brightness screen overlays/HUDs

22 January 2016, 04:33

Whenever you adjust the screen brightness or audio volume on a Mac you’ll see a small grey box overlay appear showing the current setting. This is sometimes known as a head-up display, or HUD.

Some people find it annoying, especially if they’re watching a movie because it can obscure the screen for several seconds before it disappears.

Here’s how to turn it off.

Turning off temporarily
To turn off the on-screen volume and brightness displays, open a Terminal window (you’ll find it in the Utilites folder of the Applications list) and paste in the following, which should be copied and pasted as a single line:

 launchctl unload -F /System/Library/LaunchAgents/com.apple.BezelUI.plist

Restoring the overlay/HUD is easy: you’ll just need to log out and back in again, or simply restart your Mac.

Turning off permanently
To turn off the on-screen volume and brightness displays permanently, again open a Terminal window (as described above) and paste-in the following, which again should be copied and pasted as a single line:

 launchctl unload -wF /System/Library/LaunchAgents/com.apple.BezelUI.plist

To turn them back on again, open the Terminal window and paste-in the following, which again should be copied and pasted as a single line, before logging out and back in again, or restarting your Mac,:

 launchctl load -wF /System/Library/LaunchAgents/com.apple.BezelUI.plist


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Leave a comment...

Only yesterday I was thinking it was time these overlays could be made smaller now.

Michael Quinn · Feb 3, 02:49 AM · #

It appears that this no longer works with macOS Sierra. Any chance of an alternative workaround? This was an EXCELLENT tip, allowing me to turn up or down the volume during a presentation, without having the audience ever see the bezel. Thanks!

dm · Oct 3, 06:09 PM · #

I second dm’s comment – if you can post a way to address this for Sierra, my students and I would really appreciate it!

— Dave M. · Oct 16, 10:48 AM · #

Is there any way to do this on Sierra? Seems the bezel file is gone.

For a company so obsessed with subtly, the heads up displays are such an awful design feature. It’s shocking that you can’t turn them off.

— Mark · Nov 2, 04:11 PM · #

I want this for Sierra too. I am doing time-laps recordings of my work and I keep forgetting that I can’t change volume or screen brightness while doing this.

My Guess is Apple see this as a form of brand badging and don’t want it to be hidden lest someone makes their own theme and pass it off as something else in some TV show or Movie. Wouldn’t be the first time. I think this is the #1 reason we are only given rudimentary appearance changing preferences. There are some really cool things that would require a single checkbox and label. But no Apple stick with the annoying thing that you can’t turn off because it’s distinctive to them.

— EkDor · Nov 26, 10:03 PM · #

 
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