Macbook pro connection to monitor: Connect a display to your Mac

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How to connect a monitor to MacBook Pro

(Image credit: Arian Darvishi via Unsplash)

If you have one of Apple’s top-end laptops, you may well be wondering how to connect a monitor to MacBook Pro. The latest MacBook Pros offer unprecedented power and they boast fantastic Liquid Retina XDR displays too, but at 16in even the largest MacBook Pro is rather small for many creatives to work on, especially if you need to work across various panels or windows at the same time.

Connecting your MacBook Pro to an external monitor is the obvious solution, but it’s not always so straightforward. Apple’s changed the MacBook Pro’s ports so many times over the years that how you connect a monitor, and even how many monitors you can connect, varies depending on your device. In the guide below, we’ll walk you step-by-step through how to connect a monitor to MacBook Pro for the latest models, and also answer some of the most frequently asked questions about connecting a monitor to a MacBook Pro.

Not yet chosen your screen? Then see our own guide to the best monitors for MacBook Pro. And, depending on how many monitors you want to connect, you might also want to choose the best dock for MacBook Pro to expand your connection options.

How to connect a monitor to MacBook Pro

Any MacBook Pro can be connected to at least one external monitor as all models have a port that can support video output. How you do that will depend on which device you have, and you’re likely to need either a USB-C monitor or an adapter or dock. Below we’ll look at how to connect a monitor to the most recent models.

01. Identify your MacBook Pro

The 2021 MacBook Pro 14 (Image credit: Apple)

It should be fairly simple to connect a laptop to a monitor, right? Just plug in a cable, and you’re good to go. And it is that simple (almost), but you’ll need to know what MacBook Pro you have, and more specifically what ports it has for video support. 

Over the years, Apple’s changed the selection of ports it includes on its top-end laptops. If you’re not sure what MacBook Pro you have (we don’t blame you; there have been so many iterations), then go to the menu (the Apple icon and ‘About This Mac’. Double-click your serial number and press Command-C to copy it. In your browser, go to Apple’s Tech Specs page, click the Search Tech Specs bar, and press Command-V to paste in your laptop’s serial number. Click Search, and then click the specs page for your Mac. Here’s you’ll find details on your laptop’s ports.

02. Choose the right cable

The 2021 MacBook Pro 14 and 16 have an HDMI port and two Thunderbolt 4 ports you can use to attach an external display (Image credit: Apple)

The latest M1 Pro and M1 Max MacBook Pro 14 and 16 (released in October 2021) have Thunderbolt 4 ports and an HDMI port, so you have two options to connect a monitor. The Thunderbolt 4 cables are backwards compatible and can be used to connect to a display using a Thunderbolt 4, Thunderbolt 3 or USB-C cable. If you have a monitor that doesn’t have a USB-C port, see our guide to the best USB-C monitors to find one or use an adapter or dock as required. You can also use the HDMI port to connect an external screen – particularly useful if you want to connect to a TV to set up an entertainment centre.

The 2020 M1 MacBook Pro 13 doesn’t have an HDMI port but has either two or four Thunderbolt 3 / USB-C ports. You can connect just one external display using either a Thunderbolt 3  or USB-C cable. Again you can use an adapter or a dock if you have a monitor that doesn’t support this connection type. MacBook Pros from 2017 to 2019 also have Thunderbolt 3 ports so the same applies to those. Make sure you choose a cable that’s long enough to go from the back of the display to your port on the Mac. 

03. Connect your monitor

This is the easy bit. Once you’ve got the right cable and an adapter if you need one, you’re ready to connect. Plug your monitor into the power, then connect your display to your Mac. If you’re using an external keyboard and mouse, you can close your MacBook’s in-built-in display once you’re connected – you might have to press a key or click your mouse to wake up the external display.

If you find that the external display doesn’t turn on after you connect it, try connecting your display while your MacBook is turned off, then switch your MacBook on. Still no luck, then double-check your cables are properly connected, and check your software is up to date. Finally, in System Preferences > Displays, you can press the Alt/option key to bring up the ‘Detect Displays’ button. Click on ‘Detect Displays’, and this should cause your Mac to see the external monitor. For more help with potential problems see our guide to how to fix a black screen on MacBook Pro.

04. Adjust your display

In the Arrangement tab, you can drag your external monitor to where you want it to meet your main screen. (Image credit: Apple)

Finally, with the monitor now connected you can adjust and arrange your display. In the display configuration options in ‘System Preferences’, you can set how the displays are arranged, turn screen mirroring on and off, and adjust colour, resolution, and more.  

Go to ‘System Preferences’ via the toolbar shortcut or search for it in Spotlight Search. Click on ‘Displays’ and then ‘Arrangement’. Here you can drag the boxes to adjust how the monitor displays your screen. It might take a bit of trial and error if you’re using multiple displays. The main display where your desktop icons and app windows appear will be indicated with a white menu bar (see the image above). 

If you want to use your external monitor as an extension of your MacBook screen rather than to simply view what you’re seeing on your laptop, make sure the ‘Mirror Displays’ box isn’t checked. Check this box if you want to view the same thing you see on your laptop screen. You can select ‘Show mirroring options in the menu bar when available’ to see a status menu in the menu bar that makes it quicker to turn mirroring on and off.

To adjust resolution, in ‘Display’ you can select ‘Best’ to use the best resolution your monitor can offer or ‘Scaled’ to match the display to your MacBook Pro. Max resolution is good for film or for tasks that need the space, but scaled will often make it easier to drag apps across the screens. There are also options to select if you’re using an angled or vertical in the ‘Rotation’ menu, and you can adjust colour and brightness. For this, we’d recommend using one of the best monitor calibrator tools.

What monitor should I choose for MacBook Pro?

MacBook Pros are incredibly powerful laptops for their size, and the latest models can drive impressive displays. There’s no problem handling 4K and the M1-chipped devices can even drive a 6K display at 60Hz (and more than one of them if you have the M1 Pro or M1 Max 2021 MacBook Pro 14 or 16).

You can usually pretty much any monitor you chooset, but there are a few things to consider. A USB-C monitor wil be the best choice since all recent MacBooks have compatible Thunderbolt 3 or 4 ports, whereas only the latest 14in and 16in Macbook Pros have HDMI ports. And, remember that USB-C monitors can also deliver power via that USB-C cable to charge your laptop.

If you’re planning to use your MacBook Pro for creative work, you’ll want wide colour gamut coverage – 97% DCI-P3 or higher. You’ll also want to go for a resolution to match your laptop’s. A 24in – 32in 4K monitor will generally provide a similar viewing experience to the display on one of the recent MacBook Pros.

How many monitors can I connect to MacBook Pro?

How many monitors you can connect to your MacBook Pro depends on which model you have – or rather on which chip you have. If you have the 2020 M1-chipped MacBook Pro 13, you can only connect one external display, and even using a dock won’t allow you to add more, so you might want to choose a wide screen if you need a lot of space.

However, the 2021 M1 Pro MacBook 14 and 16 can drive up to two external displays with its Thunderbolt 4 (USB-C) and HDMI ports, and the M1 Max chip can drive up to four. To check which chip you have, go to the Apple menu > About This Mac.

(Image credit: Apple)

How do I use AirPlay?

If you have an Apple TV or an AirPlay 2–enabled smart TV, you can also use your TV as a display for your MacBook by using AirPlay Mirroring. This lets you wirelessly send what’s on your Mac display to an HDTV with Apple TV.

You’ll need to make sure your Mac and Apple TV are on the same network. Click the Screen Mirroring icon in the Control Centre (two horizontal rectangles overlaid), then choose your Apple TV. To select whether your desktop matches the size of the Mac screen or the TV screen, click the AirPlay status icon then choose This Mac or Apple TV. The AirPlay status icon in the menu bar will turn blue when you’re using AirPlay Mirroring.

(Image credit: Apple)

Can I close the lid on my MacBook Pro while using an external monitor?

By default, closing the lid on your MacBook Pro puts is to sleep. If you want to use your MacBook Pro via an external monitor while the lid is closed, you’ll need to change some settings. Go to System Preferences > Battery > Energy Saver > Power Adapter, and move the slider to Never. For this to work, you’ll need to have a keyboard and either a mouse or trackpad connected to your MacBook Pro or it will still sleep when you close the lid.

How do I use an iPad as a second display for MacBook Pro?

You can also use your iPad as a second display for your MacBook. It’s not exactly going to give you a lot of extra screen space, but it can be useful as a screen extension, to work more closely on detailed tasks or if you want to use your iPad as a graphics tablet with the Apple Pencil. To do this, you can use the Sidecar feature with macOS Catalina or later and a compatible ‌iPad‌ running iOS 13 or later. The easiest way is again via AirPlay.

Click the ‌AirPlay‌ icon (the rectangle with a triangle in it) at the top of the Menu bar and if you have a compatible iPad it will show up on the list. You can mirror your display or move your pointer over the full-screen button of a window and choose to move that window to your iPad display.

Read More:

  • The best stands for MacBook Pro and MacBook Air
  • The best mouse for MacBook Pro and Air
  • The best MacBook Pro cases

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Joe is a regular freelance journalist and editor at Creative Bloq. He writes news and features, updates buying guides and keeps track of the best equipment for creatives, from monitors to accessories and office supplies. A writer and translator, he also works as a project manager at London and Buenos Aires-based design and branding agency Hermana Creatives, where he manages a team of designers, photographers and video editors who specialise in producing photography, video content, graphic design and collaterals for the hospitality sector. He enjoys photography, particularly nature photography, wellness and he dances Argentine tango.

How to connect MacBook to monitor at your home or office

Every time Apple introduces a new MacBook, they improve the display. Whether it be the pixel density, brightness, or support for colors, the MacBook display gets better almost every year.

Many don’t bother with the built-in screen much, instead opting to treat their MacBooks as desktop computers tethered to an external monitor or two. Who could blame them? The MacBook monitor may be one of the best attached to a laptop, but even the largest size is underwhelming stacked next to a big desktop display.

Desktop monitors come in a ton of sizes, orientations, and support far more features than a MacBook screen can (or should). Depending on your use case or needs, connecting your MacBook to a monitor may be the perfect desktop environment for you.

How to connect an external monitor to a Mac

Before you connect MacBook to monitor, it’s best to know which MacBook external monitors you can use. Not all monitors work with all MacBooks, so arranging your perfect setup may require you to reconsider which monitor (or monitors) you use.

Here’s how to check which monitors your MacBook supports:

  1. From your Mac menu bar, select the Apple logo at the top left corner
  2. Choose “About This Mac” from the menu
  3. Choose the “Support” tab from the top of the window that appears
  4. Tap on “Specifications” next to Mac Resources

This opens a webpage with details on the number of displays your MacBook supports under the “Video Support or Graphics” section.

Apple notes that MacBooks with Apple Silicon chips are currently limited to one external display linked via one of the Thunderbolt/USB 4 ports; a happy feature for those who wish to connect MacBook Air to monitor as you can use any port. The Mac Mini can support a second external display via its HDMI port. (We expect this will change as Apple Silicon matures and finds its way to the MacBook Pro.)

Once you understand just which monitors – and how many – you can connect, simply make sure your external monitors are connected to a power source (if necessary) and connect them to your MacBook via the wired connection available to you depending on the year your MacBook was made.

Configure your external monitor

Whether you’re using an external monitor as your only monitor or in conjunction with your MacBook monitor, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • You can arrange your MacBook monitors however you like. In the steps below, we outline how to arrange your MacBook and external monitors. Once you know how to connect a MacBook to a monitor, configuring them is the next step.
  • Close your MacBook and keep working. Once you connect MacBook to monitor, you can choose to shut its lid to make the external monitor your only display. This will keep your MacBook powered on and awake – just remember to make sure it’s connected to a power source, or is throughput charging via the monitors connected to power.
  • You will have the same options and settings. Display brightness, warmth, and Night Shift are all customizable when you connect an external display or two. Install DisplayBuddy to unify your settings across multiple monitors. 

Here’s how to configure your external monitor for use with any MacBook:

  1. Plug in your external display to a power source
  2. Plug your external display into your MacBook
  3. Ensure the external display (or both, if you’re able to use two displays) is active and on
  4. Open System Settings/System Preferences
  5. Access Displays.  

This is where things get dynamic. With more than one external monitor connected, your MacBook screen will open multiple windows. 

Your MacBook will always be the ‘main’ display when it’s open and available. If you have an external monitor connected, it will open up a second menu that is unique to that monitor; only your primary monitor will have the “arrangement” and “Night Shift” options available. Because a second monitor is how to extend screen on Mac, Night Shift settings will be reflected there as it’s a system wide feature.

Arrangement is controlled via the primary monitor because how you arrange monitors is always dependent on their relationship to that primary monitor. You can have them side by side, or stacked. If you drag one monitor over the other in the arrangement field, it will mirror the displays.

However you arrange them, know your mouse or trackpad cursor will follow that arrangement; a side by side arrangement, for instance, will allow you to drag your cursor off one screen and onto the other arranged next to it. This helps an external monitor feel like a true extension of your MacBook screen, or for two external displays to work in unison.

Tip: Want your display brighter? You can always double display brightness with Vivid! It works like Magic with M1 MacBook Pro and Pro Display XDR. 

Using an external monitor can cause your MacBook to work harder than it’s used to. All the pixels being pushed around and colors changing can be taxing on your machine. This is why you need iStat Menus.

iStat Menus for Mac makes its home in your Mac’s menu bar, only appearing when you click on its icon. From there, it surfaces a handy drop-down menu that gives you details on your network, CPU, memory, and sensor performance. Hover over any section and iStat Menus will provide even more detail on what’s happening with your Mac. 

Which port to use on my Mac

This is dependent on both your Mac and the monitor you have. 

Modern MacBooks use Thunderbolt connections, which have the USB-C connection. Any monitor that works via a USB-C cable should work with your MacBook.

To connect to your MacBook, a good rule of thumb is to use the port (or ports) closest to the rear of the MacBook. These are considered ‘power’ ports and were designed to support external displays. Some lower-end displays may work on the other ports as well.

For a Mac Mini, iMac, or Mac Pro, other connection types like HDMI may be available. 

Adapters to use to connect the monitor to a Mac

There are a wide variety of adapters that may be available to you. HDMI to USB-C, USB-C to DVI, VGA to USB-C, USB to USB-C, USB-C to DAV – the possibilities seem endless.

Be sure to purchase any adapters from respected retailers. Read the reviews; someone may note their adapter wouldn’t work for the same purpose you need it for. Not all adapters are created equally, so try to find one with great reviews and user feedback that’s positive.

You may want to try a different cable, too. Instead of an adapter, search for cables that may work for your monitor to Mac setup instead.

Common problems

There are a few common issues with using an external monitor with your MacBook:

  • The monitor doesn’t turn on. Remember to try different ports, and default to the ones at the rear of your MacBook.
  • The monitor isn’t where you want it to be. If your monitor physically sits to the left of your MacBook and you want to extend the display in that arrangement, remember to follow the steps above to get into System Settings and arrange your displays properly.
  • The MacBook won’t work when you close the lid. Remember that your MacBook only supports an external monitor being the only display when it’s connected to a power supply. You may be able to keep it connected to power via your monitor, but that’s not a sure bet.

There may also be some settings keeping your external monitor from working properly. This is why it’s a great idea to download CleanMyMac X. 

CleanMyMac X keeps your Mac working in perfect condition, and has a deep clean function that resets system settings for you. If there’s something blocking your monitor from working with your Mac, chances are CleanMyMac X can find and fix the issue.

Beyond monitor settings, CleanMyMac X is excellent at ensuring your Mac stays free of unwanted or unnecessary files, provides a way to delete apps from your Mac completely with a few taps, identifying and removing malware, viewing your storage in a visual graph, and optimizing your Mac for speed. It’s the app every Mac owner should have.

No matter how many monitors you have, the menu bar will display on each screen. Why not keep it nice and tidy with Bartender?

Bartender hides your menu bar icons behind a single three-dot menu, allowing you to rearrange those icons however you like. If you’re a keyboard warrior, Bartender supports hotkey switching, and the ability to navigate through apps using the keyboard arrow keys. You can also set commands to launch your favorite apps with a few keystrokes!

Grab every helper tool on Setapp

CleanMyMac X, DisplayBuddy, Vivid, Bartender, and iStat Menus are just five of the over 240 great Mac apps available for free during a week-long trial of Setapp.  

During your trial, you can use all of the apps in the Setapp catalog for free. When your seven day trial period ends, continued access to the massive (and growing) Setapp suite is only $9.99 per month. It’s an amazing deal, so don’t wait – try Setapp now!


How to connect MacBook to monitor without HDMI?

You can buy an adapter from Apple or any other trusted retailer. For example, you can get a MiniDisplay-to-DVI, MiniDisplay-to-VGA, or HDMI-to-DVI adapter. 

How to connect a second monitor to MacBook?

You should plug in your second display to a power source, then connect it to your MacBook using a cable and, if necessary, an adapter. You can check the connection in System Settings > Displays. 

How to connect MacBook to monitor and close laptop?

On macOS Monterey and earlier, open System Preferences on your MacBook and access Energy Saver > Power Adapter. Set “Turn display off after” to Never. On macOS Ventura, open System Settings on your MacBook and access Lock Screen. Set “Turn display off on power adapter if inactive” to Never. After that, you can use your laptop with a lid closed. 

How to connect an external monitor to a MacBook

Laptops today have replaced desktop PCs for many. With them you can be as mobile as possible and work anytime and anywhere. Especially when it comes to Macbook Air, which have become a legend due to their “airy size” and performance.

How to connect an additional monitor to a MacBook.

Why connect a monitor to a Macbook

Ease of use and mobility are great, but there are many situations when you need to display information on a classic monitor or several.

For example:

  • for more comfortable watching movies and cartoons;
  • for presentations and conferences;
  • for multitasking at the same time. For example, tracking information in several tables at once.

Now that you understand why you need to connect a monitor to your MacBook, it remains to figure out how to do it right.

What you need to connect

An adapter is required to connect the monitor. Which one depends on which model of your MacBook. In the latest line of devices have a Thunderbolt port, older Mini DisplayPort, and very “ancient” Mini-DVI. In some models, you can also find an HDMI connector. The second thing to check before choosing the right adapter or cable is the connector on the monitor to which the connection will be made.

What is the difference between an adapter and an adapter?

The adapter cable has an extremely simple function, it connects two connectors of different configuration, transmitting signals from one pin to another according to a certain scheme. The adapter acts on the signal itself, changing it in the right way.

You may need:


  • Mini DisplayPort to VGA;
  • Mini DisplayPort – DVI.


  • Apple HDMI to HDMI;
  • Belkin Mini DisplayPort to HDMI.

This set will be enough to connect your MacBook Air to most monitors. The undoubted convenience is that any of them can be bought on the Apple website. If you want to save money, you can buy cheaper analogues in ordinary online stores, but their quality may also be noticeably lower. A common mistake is to buy a DisplayPort adapter when you need a Mini DisplayPort – keep an eye on this.

MacBook Airs released prior to 2011 did not support audio over HDMI, so a dongle or adapter must have this feature. If we are talking about connecting the latest Apple Cinema or Thunderbolt displays, then you don’t have to buy anything extra, since they already have built-in cables with the necessary connectors, plus you can recharge the laptop from the monitor via MagSafe.

Operating modes

It’s not enough just to connect the monitor to your MacBook Air, you also need to choose the right mode for it.

There are only three options:

  • video repeater monitors;
  • extended desktop;
  • lid closed mode (system unit).

Video repeat monitors

This mode is most in demand. Its essence is extremely simple. The monitor completely duplicates the image from the MacBook display. This is the same option that is needed for presentations and working with a projector. The limitation is that the resolution of the connected screen cannot be higher than that of the MacBook.

Extended desktop

Not enough screen space on your laptop to fit all the tabs you need? The problem can be solved very easily if you expand it by connecting an external monitor. With desktop mode enabled, you can work on two monitors at the same time. In this case, the main screen is set in the settings, on which the menu bar will be located.

Note. For OS X Mavericks and later, the menu bar will appear on both screens.

Now the additional monitor will become a continuation of the main one and you can simply drag objects between them with the mouse. In any of the options for choosing the main monitor, you can use the trackpad or laptop keyboard to enter information.

Extended mode setting


  • connect additional monitor;
  • select system settings in the menu;
  • go to the “Monitors” section;
  • select the “Location” tab.
  • the “Enable video repeating monitors” item must be disabled (there is no checkbox).

How to set the layout of displays

In order to work on two screens as comfortably as possible, you need to adjust their relative position so that the windows between them move either vertically or horizontally to one side. It’s easy to do. On the “layout” tab, you can see a schematic layout in the form of blue rectangles, and their size will be proportional to the resolution. By dragging the rectangles with the mouse, you can set the desired location.

System unit

At a stationary workplace in the office or at home, you can use your MacBook Air as a system beech of a regular PC. To activate the mode, just put your MacBook into sleep mode and close its lid.

Since there will obviously be no access to the keyboard, in addition to an additional monitor, you will have to purchase a mouse and an external keyboard. It is recommended to connect a charger so that the battery does not run out at the most inopportune moment. OS X does not support waking from sleep on command from Bluetooth devices in the default settings. Therefore, you need to activate this option in advance.

Can I connect a TV

Yes. In order to quickly connect a modern HDTV or Apple TV, add a status menu and designate the connected device as the main device. The selection menu will appear upon connection, for this you need to check the box “Show video replay options in the menu bar, if available” in the settings. After that, you can watch your favorite movies and any video from your Macbook on the big screen.

How to connect 2 monitors to Macbook Air

If one additional monitor is not enough for you and you need to connect two monitors to your Macbook, then there will be no problems only with new models that have Thunderbolt and an HDMI port. Some Macbook Airs have 2 Thunderbolt at once, so theoretically you can connect not 2, but 3 additional monitors at once, although performance will drop significantly, which will be very noticeable when running different videos on each. For older models, you will have to come up with “collective farm” solutions, and if you manage to connect two monitors, then in video replay mode, and not desktop extension.

What Apple Says

There are several official documents regarding connecting external monitors to the latest models of the MakBook Pro line. They are talking about connecting monitors with a resolution of 4K and 5K via a USB Type-C connector. So, the 15-inch MacBook Pro can work with two additional 5K monitors or four 4K ones at once. But for 13-inch models, the number is 2 times less. The company also confirmed support for the Dell UP2715K monitor with a resolution of 5K and a diagonal of 27 inches.


Many users are unaware of how convenient it is to work on multiple monitors at once, because they have never tried it. Meanwhile, the efficiency of work, when primary, active tasks are displayed on one monitor, and everything secondary – chats, monitoring, etc., on the other, is several times higher. Especially if you use programs such as Mission Control, which make managing applications on different screens even more convenient.

Learn how to connect an additional monitor to your MacBook Air with our tips and enjoy. If you have any questions or technical problems, write about it in the comments and we will help to solve them.

🎓 How to connect a MacBook to an external monitor

Monitor for MacBook

He talked about ways to connect a monitor to a MacBook, as well as two options for using this bundle: an extended desktop and a closed lid.

Vlad Gorokhovsky

• 5 min read

If you are thinking about buying an external monitor, first read the article on how to choose the right monitor for your MacBook. In it, I told you what you need to pay attention to so that the macOS interface is the right size. There are many nuances there.

🔥 How to choose an external monitor for your MacBook and not regret buying it

I’ll tell you why the image on an external MacBook monitor is small, large and cloudy. And how to choose a monitor to avoid this.

Mac OS World Vlad Gorokhovsky

This note will discuss how to connect a monitor to a MacBook, as well as three options for using it:

  • Monitor repeater
  • Extended desktop
  • MacBook with lid closed, like system unit

MacBook to monitor options

It all depends on what generation of MacBook you have. In models prior to 2015, Apple used a Mini DisplayPort connector. Models after 2015 only have USB-C connectors.

In both cases, you will need to use a special adapter to connect your MacBook to an external monitor.

One of my MacBook Airs has a Mini DisplayPort connector, so I connect it with a Mini DisplayPort to DisplayPort, 9 cable0181 which I bought from a local store There is only one USB-C on the MacBook 12, so I had to buy a USB-C to DisplayPort adapter , which also has an additional charging connector

Some monitors support a direct connection with a USB-C wire, and the cable will not only transfer an image from a laptop to a monitor, but also charge a laptop from a monitor. Comfortable.

Which connector to use on the monitor

There are two modern options: DisplayPort (DP) or USB-C. Connecting via HDMI is already best avoided, since HDMI has a frequency limit for higher resolutions. If you go to connect your MacBook to a 4K monitor or TV via HDMI, you will get a picture with a frequency of 30 Hertz. With a DisplayPort connector, there will always be 60 Hertz. But be aware that the macOS interface looks bad on 4K monitors, while it’s better to stay on a 2K monitor.

Here are some suitable cable options for connecting a monitor to a MacBook:

💰 USB-C to DP: Yandex.Market, Rozetka, Aliexpress, Amazon
Suitable for all MacBook Pro 2016 and older. These laptops have 2 or 4 USB-C ports. Such a wire will give 4K resolution at 60 Hertz;

💰 USB-C to USB-C: Yandex.Market, Rozetka, Aliexpress, Amazon
In addition to displaying a picture, it can also charge your laptop, which is very convenient. Of course, if the monitor supports such a connection. When buying a wire, make sure it supports 60-100W display and charging. Cheap wires can often only charge low-power devices like phones.

💰 mDP on DP: Yandex.Market, Rozetka, Aliexpress, Amazon
Suitable for all MacBook up to 2016 release. They have a separate miniDP port;

1. “Video repeat monitors” mode

When the display is connected for the first time, video mirroring of the image will automatically turn on: the laptop screen and the external monitor will have the same picture.

This mode is good for connecting a projector or a large presentation display. But for real work, no.

In Monitor Mirroring mode, macOS sets the same maximum resolution supported by both displays. If you have an 11-inch MacBook Air (1366×768 pixels), then an external 2k monitor (2560×1440) will work at MacBook Air resolution. Of course, the picture will be cloudy and large.

To turn off the video mirroring mode, uncheck the box Enable video mirroring of monitors in:


Turning off video mirroring monitors

2. Extended desktop

In this mode, both displays become one. Unlike video replay, the screens here work independently and maintain their maximum resolutions.

In the screenshot below, the blue boxes represent connected displays. Their size is proportional to the permissions set. The larger rectangle (top) corresponds to my Dell P2418P monitor, and the smaller one (bottom) to my MacBook Air display.

Monitors are in Extended Desktop mode.

A white bar at the top of one of the rectangles indicates the menu bar and determines which display is the main one. To select a different display as your primary display, click on the white bar and drag it to the desired screen.

Displays can be repositioned by dragging their respective rectangles. This is necessary so that the connected displays are ordered according to their true location on the table, so that the cursor moves correctly.

Specify how the displays are located on the desktop and which one should be the main one

In terms of efficiency, this is the best connection option, since both screens are at your disposal at once. By the way, if you put the monitor on some kind of stand above the MacBook, then you can continue to use its keyboard and touchpad, thereby avoiding spending money on buying an external keyboard and mouse.

My Dell monitor acts as my primary monitor and my laptop acts as my secondary

3. MacBook with lid closed

This mode will appeal to those who want to work with an external monitor as the only and main one, thereby making something like a “system unit” out of the MacBook. Convenient if you want to hide the laptop somewhere far away in a drawer, or there is nowhere to place it on the table.

💰 MacBook stand: Yandex.Market, Rozetka, Aliexpress, Amazon

SeenDa Laptop Stand

To wake up your MacBook with the screen lid closed, you need to connect an external keyboard and mouse/trackpad, and be sure to connect the computer to an external power source. Otherwise, when the lid is closed, it will simply “fall asleep”.

If you are using a Bluetooth mouse and keyboard, make sure they can wake up the computer.


This option will allow you to “wake up” the laptop when the lid is closed


Personally, I used the second method (extended desktop) for a long time and continued to use the laptop’s keyboard and touchpad.