PC AccessoriesMonitor

How To Hook Up a MacBook to a Monitor

Apple Laptop And Monitor

With all of their exquisite specs and valuable qualities, MacBooks still have a small laptop screen. You’d agree if you’ve been working on a large project or gaming. Apple isn’t oblivious to this. It allows you to hook up your MacBook to external monitors.

Quick Answer

Firstly, look up the input ports of your MacBook and your monitor. If your MacBook has a port compatible with the monitor input type (which will be HDMI, VGA, DVI, etc.), you can just buy that port, and you’re good to go.

If that’s not the case, you’ll have to buy an appropriate adapter and a connecting cable. After you’ve got all of the accessories, connect the adapter to the MacBook. Then, attach the cord with the monitor and adapter. 

This article will take you through connecting an external monitor to a MacBook. Also, we’ll touch on the different configurations for an external monitor.

Step#1: Get the Required Accessories 

You should have the accessories to connect an external monitor to your Macbook.

Apart from Retina MacBook Pros, none of the MacBooks have an HDMI or a DP port. For other MacBooks, you’ll need an adapter to connect them to a monitor. 

Most modern monitors have one or more HDMI ports. Others that don’t have HDMI monitors have DisplayPort (DP), mini-DisplayPort (mDP), VGA, or DVI. You can look at your monitor’s back to identify which port it has.

Depending upon the input type of your monitor, you’ll need to buy USB-C to HDMI adapter, USB-C to DP adapter, etc. You can look up the appropriate adapter for your MacBook here.

Also, you’ll need an HDMI or DP cord (depending upon the input type of your monitor) to connect your monitor to the adapter.

Step#2: Connect Your MacBook to an External Monitor

After you’ve got all the required accessories, you are all set. For simplicity, we assume your monitor has an HDMI port. Follow these steps.

  1. Power on your MacBook.
  2. Connect the USB-C to HDMI adapter to your MacBook’s USB-C  port.
  3. Connect the HDMI cord to the adapter.
  4. Find the HDMI port at the back of your monitor and connect the HDMI cord there.
  5. Turn on the monitor if you haven’t already.
  6. If your monitor doesn’t connect, go to the input screen and switch the input type to “HDMI”.

It should effectively connect the MacBook to the monitor. Now, you can use it as one big screen to move things from your laptop to the monitor’s screen. 

Step#3: Configure the Display

After connecting the monitor to your MacBook, the system, by default, is in the “Extended Display” mode. It means both screens act as one larger screen. So, you can drag from one screen to the other.

Arrangement Settings

You can change the screen arrangement settings using the “Display” tab. Here’s how to open it.

  1. Hit “System Preferences” in the Apple menu. It is located at the top left of the main screen.
  2. Open the “Display” tab from the resulting menu.

In “Display”, you can change several things like the screens’ scaling, resolution, and color. In the “Arrangement” tab, you’ll see boxes representing different screens in the system.

When a monitor is connected, two boxes will appear. The larger one represents the monitor, and the smaller one represents the MacBook. Make sure these boxes are in the same order as the MacBook and monitor are physically.

If the MacBook is on the left of the monitor, then place the smaller box in the “Arrangement” tab on the left of the larger box. It will ensure you navigate to the other screen when you go there. 

Mirror Display

The screens are in extended display mode by default, but you can change that. If you want to mirror whatever is going on on your MacBook screen to the monitor, just tick the box reading “Mirror Display” at the bottom of the “Arrangement” tab in the “Display” window.

Now, you’ll see that whatever action you take on the MacBook is mirrored on the monitor.

Monitor as the Main Display

You can also set the monitor screen as the main display. To do so, just drag the “Display” window to the monitor screen. You’ll see the main controls shifting to the monitor screen.

Also, you can work on the monitor screen and close the MacBook screen after connecting it to a power source.


In short, you can easily connect a MacBook to a monitor using an appropriate adapter and connecting cord. In most cases, a USB-C to HDMI adapter and an HDMI cord would do the job. To ensure it, you can check your MacBook and monitor’s specs.

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