how to connect external monitors with your mac

Using multiple displays can increase productivity as it will take you much less time to complete tasks that require moving between screens. Your Mac is designed with multiple ports that allow you to connect external monitors as added displays.

That means you have more than 1 display using extended desktop mode! Take advantage of the boost to multitasking by extending your workstation or workspace by adding external monitors to your Mac.

After just a few minutes of setup, you can enjoy multiple full screen displays that can be easily managed through Arrangement and Mission Control. This tutorial will show you the right way to connect external monitors to your Mac.

Prerequisites

You will have to connect your monitors and configure them to create multiple display. Check these prerequisites before you begin to add an external monitor to your Mac:

1. Identify the ports on your Mac. The Thunderbolt can be used to connect the displays. A Mini DisplayPort can also be used to connect displays using the Mini DisplayPort cable.

2. Choose a monitor with HDMI-in instead of VGA to experience the highest quality outputs in pixels.

3. Check the video output ports on your Mac to make sure they are working

4. Check to see if you will need an adapter to connect the monitor. To connect to Mac, you will need a Mini Display Port-to-adapter adapter.

5. Most newer Macs allow up to 3 external monitors. Yet, some Macs limit the user to only one external monitor. Check your Mac to see how many displays are supported by your model on the Apple Specifications page. Most devices will allow only up to 3.

6. Go to Apple > About This Mac > Support > Specifications. Then go to Graphics > Video Support and Camera on the page. The number of displays that you can use on your Mac will be listed under Video Support and Camera.

7. Make sure your monitors are powered ON

Arrange Your Monitor Display

For the sake of order, you should arrange your monitor displays so that they are in the order of your current setup. You can move apps or windows around until the presentation makes sense for your activities. Set one monitor as the primary display. To arrange your monitor display, follow these steps:

1. Go to Apple > System Preferences > Displays

2. Select Arrangement

3. Choose a primary display and arrange any external displays by dragging one display at a time in the order that you want them.

4. As you select a display, a red box will appear around it. To change the primary display, drag the white bar in the window to another display.

Turn On Extended Desktop Mode

Once you have connected the monitor(s) to your Mac, you must decide how you want to arrange your new display. Turn on extended desktop mode to use more than one monitor with your Mac. To turn the mode ON, follow these steps:

1. Make sure your Mac will be able to handle multiple displays at once.

2. Check to make sure your external monitor is connected to your Mac

3. Go to Apple > System Preferences > Displays > Arrangement. Or, go to Settings > Displays > Arrangement. The Arrangement feature allows you to adjust the layout for your monitors to represent how they will present on your desk and the side of the screen you will use to switch between displays.

While the displays are touching each other in the Arrangement window, move the displays in whichever positions you like. The white bar in the window represents the menu bar.

4. Once you have positioned your displays, the screen should black out and reappear as saving your new changes.

5. Make sure that the checkbox for Mirror Displays isn’t checked.

6. Decide on the resolution that is best for your Arrangement

Note: The dock and menu bar inside the Arrangement window will only appear on the primary display. Also, the primary screen must log into macOS first.

Use Video Mirroring

Video mirroring is a capacity to share content between more than one display device. Some devices support video mirroring with the use of a cable, while others are limited to a wireless connection. You can use video mirroring as the setting to manage your monitors. Video mirroring sets all of your monitors to show the same windows and apps at the same time. To turn video mirroring ON, follow these steps:

1. Make sure that your monitor(s) is connected to your Mac and that it’s powered ON.

2. Go to Apple > System Preferences > Displays

3. Select Arrangement. While the displays are touching each other in the Arrangement window, move the displays in whichever positions you like.

4. Make sure the Mirror Displays checkbox is checked.

Note: If your device(s) don’t support video mirroring, you may still have the HD video output capacities. You will be able to share content from certain applications.

Use AirPlay to Manage External Monitors

Using monitors is one way to extend your display. However, rather than search for additional monitors you can use your Apple TV to project information as the second display. Use Apple TV to mirror your Mac display to the TV. Or, you can even use the TV as a separate monitor display.

AirPlay is an app by Apple that enables the user to share videos as well as music, photos, and other types of content between Apple devices and Apple TV 4K, speakers, and Smart TVs. AirPlay is very simple to use to share content. To use AirPlay mirroring and Apply TV to manage your display outputs, follow these steps:

1. Turn your TV ON

2. Select the TV icon from the menu bar, then choose the Apple TV. (If you don’t see the TV option in the menu bar, go to Apple > Displays and select Show mirroring options in the menu bar when available)

3. You may be prompted to enter your AirPlay passcode on the TV screen. If so, enter the AirPlay passcode on your Mac.

4. Now you can mirror your display using the TV as a separate display. To use your TV as a separate display, choose the TV icon and then choose Use As Separate Display. To mirror the display, choose the TV icon and choose Mirror Built-In Display.

5. Turn OFF AirPlay by selecting the TV icon and choosing Turn AirPlay Off.

Use iMac As Second Monitor

You can also use an iMac OS X 10.6.1 or later as the secondary monitor in your display for Mac or MacBook with the right equipment. Take advantage of a larger screen without a new purchase! The larger display is created with Target Display Mode. To make the connection, you will need a Mini DisplayPort or Thunderbolt adapter which is compatible with iMac or MacBook, along with a connecting cable. If you are using Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) then use the Apple Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) to Thunderbolt 2 Adapter.

Once you have the proper equipment, configure the iMac as your second monitor by following these steps:

1. Turn on the iMac and log in to the Mac.

2. Connect the devices by plugging the cable into the adapter on your MacBook and the corresponding port on the iMac

3. Once you have finished making your settings, you must log in to both devices.

4. Press Command + F2 on the iMac keyboard to activate Target Display Mode.

5. Your iMac will now be used as another monitor and will display on the desktop of the connected Mac.

6. To exit the setup, press Command + F2, put the Mac on Sleep, or disconnect the cable.

For More Support

If you were not able to create a dual monitor system with your Mac after following the steps in this tutorial, you can find support in the Apple forums, contact Apple Support, or visit the Genius Bar for more assistance.