The brightness keys on my laptop work ok, and gnome shell displays a level bar when changing it.

But the level bar doesn't display any values (absolute nor relative).

How can I retrieve the current brightness value?

Say - e.g. for scripting purposes - to be able to restore it later, in a reliable fashion.

Use case: for example, you created a color profile at a certain brightness level - and after temporarily changing it around you want to go back to this well-defined fixed point.


You can do that via GNOME Settings Daemon which is responsible for configuring the screen brightness (and many other session-wide parameters). To access the brightness settings you'll have to use the corresponding gsd helper: gsd-backlight-helper (use --help to see all options).

To get the current brightness level, run:

/usr/lib/gnome-settings-daemon/gsd-backlight-helper --get-brightness
  • This works. On Fedora 23, it is /usr/libexec/gsd-backlight-helper, btw. Mar 19 '16 at 11:58
  • @don_crissti After plugging my Ubuntu notebook out of the wall, the screen backlight dims to about a half, but gsd-backlight-helper still reports the highest value. Would you know anything about it, please?
    – LogicStuff
    Jul 19 '16 at 12:07
  • @LogicStuff - I can't replicate that behaviour (archlinux+gnome 3.20.2); gsd-backlight-helper always reports the correct values so most likely there's something wrong on your side. Jul 19 '16 at 12:15

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