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

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Identify the ports on your Mac

If you’re not sure which port to use with your external display, hard drive, camera, printer, iPhone, iPad, or other device, the port shapes and symbols in this guide should help. 

Information about these and other types of Mac ports is in the specifications for your Mac:

  1. Choose Apple menu  > About This Mac, double-click your serial number, then press Command-C to copy it.
  2. Go to the Tech Specs page, click the Search Tech Specs bar, press Command-V to enter your computer’s serial number, then click Search.
  3. Click the specs page for your Mac.

Thunderbolt 4

These Mac models have Thunderbolt 4 ports:

  • Mac Pro (2023)
  • Mac Studio (2023)
  • Mac mini (2023)
  • MacBook Pro (14-inch, 2023)
  • MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2023)
  • Mac Studio (2022)
  • MacBook Pro (14-inch, 2021)
  • MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2021)

You can connect external displays and other devices that connect using a Thunderbolt 4  cable, Thunderbolt 3  cable, or USB-C cable. You can also connect a USB-C charge cable to charge your laptop, or a USB-C to Lightning cable to charge your iPhone or iPad. If you have a device that doesn’t connect to this port, you can use an adapter to connect it.

If you have a Mac Studio with M1 or M2 Ultra, you can also connect a display or Thunderbolt device to the Thunderbolt 4 ports on the front of the computer.

Thunderbolt / USB 4

These Mac models have Thunderbolt / USB 4 ports:

  • MacBook Air (15-inch, M2, 2023)
  • MacBook Air (M2, 2022)
  • MacBook Pro (13-inch, M2, 2022)
  • iMac (24-inch, M1, 2021)
  • MacBook Pro (13-inch, M1, 2020)
  • MacBook Air (M1, 2020)
  • Mac mini (M1, 2020)

You can connect a single external display and other devices that connect using either a Thunderbolt 3  cable or USB-C cable. You can also connect a USB-C charge cable to charge your laptop, or a USB-C to Lightning cable to charge your iPhone or iPad. If you have a device that doesn’t connect to this port, you can use an adapter to connect it.

On iMac (24-inch, M1, 2021), the  symbol appears above each Thunderbolt / USB 4 port. To connect a display, use either of the ports with the Thunderbolt symbol .

Thunderbolt 3

These Mac models have Thunderbolt 3 ports:

  • iMac (Retina 5K, 27-inch, 2020)
  • iMac (Retina 5K, 27-inch, 2019)
  • iMac (Retina 4K, 21.5-inch, 2019)
  • iMac (Retina 5K, 27-inch, 2017)
  • iMac (Retina 4K, 21.5-inch, 2017)
  • iMac (21.5-inch, 2017)
  • iMac Pro
  • Mac Pro (2019)
  • Mac Pro (Rack, 2019)
  • Mac mini (2018)
  • MacBook Air (Retina, 13-inch, 2020)
  • MacBook Air (Retina, 13-inch, 2019)
  • MacBook Air (Retina, 13-inch, 2018)
  • MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2020, Two Thunderbolt 3 ports)
  • MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2020, Four Thunderbolt 3 ports)
  • MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2019)
  • MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2019, Two Thunderbolt 3 ports)
  • MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2019)
  • MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2019, Four Thunderbolt 3 ports)
  • MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2018)
  • MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2018, Four Thunderbolt 3 ports)
  • MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2017)
  • MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2017, Four Thunderbolt 3 ports)
  • MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2017, Two Thunderbolt 3 ports)
  • MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2016)
  • MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2016, Four Thunderbolt 3 ports)
  • MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2016, Two Thunderbolt 3 ports)

Use these ports with displays and other devices that connect using either a Thunderbolt 3  cable or USB-C cable. You can also connect a USB-C power adapter and cable to charge your laptop computer. If you have a device that doesn’t connect to this port, you can use an adapter to connect it.

USB 3

These Mac models have USB 3 ports:

  • Mac Studio (2023)
  • Mac Studio (2022)
  • iMac (24-inch, M1, 2021) with four ports
  • MacBook (Retina, 12-inch, 2017)
  • MacBook (Retina, 12-inch, Early 2016)
  • MacBook (Retina, 12-inch, Early 2015)

On Mac Studio models with M1 or M2 Max, use the USB 3 ports on the front of the computer with external devices that connect using a USB-C cable. To connect an external display, use the ports on the back of the computer with the Thunderbolt symbol .

On iMac (four-port model only), use the USB 3 ports with external devices that connect using a USB-C cable. To connect an external display, use either of the ports with the Thunderbolt symbol .

On MacBook, use this port with displays and other devices that connect using a USB-C cable. You can also connect a USB-C power adapter and cable to charge your laptop computer. If you have a device that doesn’t connect to this port, you can use an adapter to connect it.

HDMI

These Mac models have an HDMI port:

  • Mac Studio introduced in 2022 or later
  • 14-inch MacBook Pro models introduced in 2021 or later
  • 16-inch MacBook Pro models introduced in 2021 or later
  • 13-inch MacBook Pro models introduced in 2012 through 2015
  • 15-inch MacBook Pro models introduced in 2012 through 2015
  • Mac mini introduced in 2010 or later
  • Mac Pro introduced in 2013 or later

Use HDMI with displays and TVs that connect using an HDMI cable.
   

SD card

These Mac models have an SDXC card slot:

  • Mac Studio introduced in 2022 or later
  • 14-inch MacBook Pro models introduced in 2021 or later
  • 16-inch MacBook Pro models introduced in 2021 or later
  • 13-inch MacBook Pro models introduced in 2011 through 2015
  • 15-inch MacBook Pro models introduced in 2011 through 2015
  • Mac mini introduced in 2011 through 2014
  • 13-inch MacBook Air models introduced in 2013 through 2017
  • 27-inch iMac models introduced in 2010 or later
  • 21. 5-inch iMac models introduced in 2010 or later

Use the SD card slot with SD, SDHC, SDXC, MMC, and UHS-II media cards, such as those used by digital cameras.
  

Ethernet

Use Ethernet  with networks and devices that connect using an Ethernet (RJ45) cable.

On some iMac models, the Ethernet port is located on the computer’s power adapter. If your Mac or power adapter doesn’t have an Ethernet port, you can use an Ethernet adapter.

Power

Use the power port on your Mac laptop to connect your computer to AC power using a USB-C to MagSafe 3 cable and USB-C power adapter, MagSafe 2 power adapter, or MagSafe power adapter. Some Mac laptops have a dedicated charging port while others use only USB-C ports to charge.

Learn how to identify your Mac power adapter and how to fast charge your MacBook Air or MacBook Pro.

MagSafe 2 and MagSafe power adapters are not compatible with MagSafe 3.

Audio

Use Audio-Out —  or  — with headphones, speakers, and other audio-output devices that connect using an audio cable that has a 3. 5 mm (1/8 inch) audio jack. On Mac laptops introduced in 2021 or later and Mac Studio, you can connect high-impedance headphones to the 3.5mm audio jack.

Use Audio-In  with a microphone or other audio-input device that connects using an audio cable that has a 3.5 mm (1/8 inch) audio jack.

 

USB-A

Use these ports with devices that connect using a USB-A  cable. USB ports are sometimes known by the USB specification of the port, such as USB 2 or USB 3. 

  

Left to right: power, two Thunderbolt, USB-A, and Audio-Out.
 

Thunderbolt

These Mac models have Thunderbolt or Thunderbolt 2 ports:

  • MacBook Pro introduced in 2011 through 2015
  • MacBook Air introduced in 2011 through 2017
  • Mac mini introduced in 2011 through 2014
  • iMac introduced in 2011 through 2015
  • Mac Pro introduced in 2013

Use these ports with displays and other devices that connect using a Thunderbolt  cable.

Thunderbolt and Thunderbolt 2 are not the same as Mini DisplayPort . They have the same shape, but use different symbols on the cable and port. However, this port does support Mini DisplayPort for video output, so you can use a Mini DisplayPort cable to connect a Mini DisplayPort display.
   

Mini DisplayPort

These Mac models have Mini DisplayPort:

  • MacBook Pro introduced in late 2008 through 2010
  • MacBook Air introduced in late 2008 through 2010
  • Mac mini introduced in 2009 and 2010
  • iMac introduced in 2009 and 2010
  • Mac Pro introduced in 2009 through 2012

Use this port with displays that connect using a Mini DisplayPort  cable.

Mini DisplayPort is not the same as Thunderbolt or Thunderbolt 2 . They have the same shape, but use different symbols on the cable and port.
  

FireWire

FireWire 400 FireWire 800

Use FireWire  with devices that connect using a FireWire 400 or FireWire 800 cable.

Learn more

Information about products not manufactured by Apple, or independent websites not controlled or tested by Apple, is provided without recommendation or endorsement. Apple assumes no responsibility with regard to the selection, performance, or use of third-party websites or products. Apple makes no representations regarding third-party website accuracy or reliability. Contact the vendor for additional information.

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Connect to HDMI from your Mac

Mac computers can use an HDMI cable or adapter to connect to a TV, display, or other HDMI device.

 

Connect your HDMI device

Mac computers that have any of the following ports can connect to HDMI devices:

  • HDMI port: Connect directly to HDMI with an HDMI cable. For 8K connections, use an Ultra High Speed 48 Gbps HDMI cable such as the Belkin UltraHD High Speed HDMI cable.
  • Thunderbolt 4, Thunderbolt 3, or USB-C port: Connect to HDMI with an adapter such as the Apple USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter.
  • Thunderbolt 2, Thunderbolt, or Mini DisplayPort: Connect to HDMI with a Mini DisplayPort to HDMI adapter or cable such as the Belkin 4K Mini DisplayPort to HDMI Adapter.

 Identify the ports on your Mac

Check specifications

Mac computers that have a built-in HDMI port support these video and audio specifications:

  • Up to 8K at 60Hz on compatible Mac models.
  • Up to 4K at 240Hz on compatible Mac models.
  • Up to 4K at 60Hz on compatible Mac models.
  • Up to 4K at 30Hz on compatible Mac models.
  • 8-channel/24-bit audio at 192kHz, Dolby Surround 5.1, and traditional stereo.
    Some Mac computers with HDMI ports don’t support multi-channel audio. Check the tech specs for your Mac.
  • HDCP-encrypted playback from iTunes and QuickTime Player (version 10). Safari in macOS Sierra or later also supports HDCP-encrypted playback, if the web page is HTML5-enabled and the content is FairPlay Streaming-enabled and delivered using Media Source Extensions or HTTP Live Streaming. To play HDCP content on an external display, HDCP playback requires an HDCP compatible display.
  • HDR on compatible Mac models.

If using an adapter, check the specifications of the adapter to learn about supported resolutions and other details.

Up to 8K at 60Hz

You can connect a display with a resolution of up to 8K at 60Hz to the HDMI port on these Mac models:

  • MacBook Pro introduced in 2023
  • Mac mini (2023 with M2 Pro)
  • Mac Studio introduced in 2023
  • Mac Pro introduced in 2023

Up to 4K at 240Hz

You can connect a display with a resolution of up to 4K at 240Hz to the HDMI port on these Mac models:

  • MacBook Pro introduced in 2023
  • Mac mini (2023 with M2 Pro)
  • Mac Studio introduced in 2023
  • Mac Pro introduced in 2023

Adapters aren’t supported for these resolutions and refresh rates. Connect displays directly to your Mac for best results.

Up to 4K at 60Hz

You can connect a display with a resolution up to 4K at 60Hz to the HDMI port on these Mac models: 

    • Mac Studio introduced in 2022 or later
    • Mac mini introduced in 2018 or later
    • Mac Pro introduced in 2019 or later
    • MacBook Pro introduced in 2021 or later

    Up to 4K at 30Hz

    You can connect a display with a resolution up to 4K at 30Hz to the HDMI port on these Mac models: 

    • Mac mini introduced in 2012 through 2014
    • Mac Pro introduced in 2013
    • MacBook Pro introduced in 2012 through 2015

    If your HDMI display isn’t detected

    Learn what to do if your Mac doesn’t detect your HDTV, display, or other HDMI device after making the connection.

    If your display isn’t showing the whole picture

    If the video on your HDTV or display extends beyond the borders of the screen, fix overscan or underscan on your TV or projector. The underscan slider appears for only some configurations and resolutions.

    If your Mac goes to sleep while a video is playing or paused, you might see an HDCP error. Quit the app that is playing the video, then open the app again.

    If your HDMI device isn’t receiving audio

    If your HDMI device isn’t receiving audio from your Mac:

    • Choose Apple menu > System Settings (or System Preferences), then click Sound. In the Output pane, make sure that your HDMI device is selected.
    • If you’re connecting from a Mac mini, disconnect any audio device from your computer’s headphone jack.

    Mac computers don’t support using CEC (Consumer Electronics Control) to control HDMI devices.

    Information about products not manufactured by Apple, or independent websites not controlled or tested by Apple, is provided without recommendation or endorsement. Apple assumes no responsibility with regard to the selection, performance, or use of third-party websites or products. Apple makes no representations regarding third-party website accuracy or reliability. Contact the vendor for additional information.

    Published Date: 

    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:

    Adapters:

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

    Cables:

    • 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

    Procedure:

    • 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.

    Conclusion

    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 two or more monitors to a Mac with an M1 and M2 processor

    MacBooks are great computers that have become a familiar work tool for many. but sometimes the diagonal of the screen for comfortable work may not be enough. When I was a student, the 21.5-inch display on my AiMac helped me a lot. It was possible to comfortably place several open windows on it and did not have to constantly switch between them. At the same time, my classmates everywhere complained about the small screens of their laptops. But if necessary, from any Mac, it doesn’t matter if it’s a Macbook or a desktop computer, you can display image on external monitor .

    One of the monitors can be rotated freely.

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    Here are just the basic versions of computers on M1 and M2 processors do not support more than one external screen by standard means. In this article, we will tell you how to connect more than one additional monitor to any Mac with M1 and M2 processors.

    How many monitors can be connected to a MacBook

    Newer Macbooks support multiple screens at once.

    It should be noted right away that for Macs with M1 Pro , M1 Max, M1 Ultra, M2 Pro and M2 Max processors, this problem is irrelevant. They support two or more monitors. For computers based on these chipsets, the display capabilities are as follows:

    M1 Pro up to three external displays – two at 6K, 60 Hz, one at 4K, 60 Hz
    M1 Max up to four external displays – three of which are 6K, 60Hz and one display up to 4K, 60Hz
    M1 Ultra up to four external displays 6K, 60Hz via USB-C and one 4K 60Hz display via HDMI
    M2 Pro up to three 6K 60Hz external displays, one 8K/60Hz external display or 1 4K 240Hz display via HDMI
    M2 Max up to four external displays – three at 6K, 60 Hz and one at 4K, 60 Hz, or a total of three of which two at 6K, 60 Hz and one external display at 8K, 60 Hz, or one with resolution 4K and 240Hz via HDMI

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    As you can see, in its most productive processors, Apple provides users with more options for displaying images on external screens. Note that the M1 Ultra still supports more additional monitors than the recent M2 Max. That is why the owners of any Mac on these chipsets should not even bother with further actions.

    How to connect a monitor to a Macbook

    Macs with base processors M1 and M2 are not so rosy. Either for the sake of performance, or for some other reason, computers based on these chipsets are limited in the number of supported monitors. For all models, it does not matter whether it is MacBook Pro or MacBook Air , only one external display with a resolution of up to 6K and a frequency of 60 Hz is declared. And even with the upgrade to M2, nothing has changed in this limitation. But thanks to third-party software, it can be easily bypassed. See how one of the users hooked up to his Mac on M1 multiple monitors:

    If you want to also or just be able to connect at least two screens, then you will need additional equipment. Therefore, you will have to purchase some kind of USB-C hub that supports a large number of different connections.

    Buy USB-C hub ORICO

    Buy USB-C hub Wavlink

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    Pay attention to the prices. Due to the fact that the hub must be certified by DisplayLink, you will have to overpay. Do not try to save money on them and do not buy nonames for a penny. In the most harmless case, it simply won’t work with an external monitor, and in the saddest case, it will kill your expensive MacBook. Still, the screen is not a flash drive.

    How to connect a second monitor to Macbook

    After all the necessary hardware is prepared, you need to download and install the appropriate software on Mac :

    • Follow this link and download the DisplayLink application installer.
    • Accept the license agreement and the application will quickly install on your computer.

    • Install it on your computer and run the application.
    • This is what the screen recording request looks like.

    • DisplayLink will ask for permission to record the screen. Be sure to provide it through “Protection and Security”.
    • Give the appropriate permission in the settings.

    • Restart DisplayLink Manager.
    • Connect screens to your Mac and go to “Monitors” in System Preferences to set up desktop layout.

    If everything is done correctly, the image will appear on all screens. You just have to choose on which screen the status bar will be located. Many probably have a question why DisplayLink Screen recording access. Everything is very simple. Since Macbooks have a limit on the number of displays that can be connected, DisplayLink does not display the picture directly, but by capturing the image. There are no delays with this connection method, and the recording itself is not sent to any servers for processing.