Using an external monitor with Mac

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Sometimes the built in display on your MacBook just isn’t big enough. Perhaps you are doing some work and you need more screen real estate, or maybe you want to watch a movie on your TV screen, for example. Don’t worry; connecting your Mac to an external display is not hard at all.

First of all, you have to make sure that you have the proper cables. If you want to use your TV as an external display, chances are you’ll be using a HDMI cable to do so. In case you are using a monitor as an additional screen you have to check what connections it supports.

 Once you’ve connected an external display to your Mac you have three options:

1. Mirror displays

If you choose this option the same image will appear on both your built-in display and external monitor. It is useful if you want to watch a movie on a bigger screen or to give a presentation.

To set up display mirroring, choose System Preferences from the Apple menu (top left of your screen), click on Displays, then choose Arrangement tab and finally check “Mirror Displays” option.

mirror-displays-mac

2. Extended display

This feature is very useful for a lot of people. It creates one continuous desktop from two screens, which means you can move your applications and files from one screen to another. If you want to get some work done this is probably the best way.

To set up this feature all you have to do is uncheck the “Mirror Displays” option, which we mentioned little earlier. After that you will notice two blue boxes. Each box represents one display.

Another thing you’ll notice is a white bar on one of the boxes. This bar determines which screen is your primary display (where the dock and menu bar are located).  In case you want to change your primary display simply drag the white bar to the other blue box. Make sure to also change the position of the boxes so that they match their physical location in the real world.

extended-display-mac

 3. Closed clamshell mode (for MacBooks only)

Closed clamshell mode is also known as the closed display mode. As you might have guessed it, the display on your MacBook is closed while it is connected to an external display.

The key difference between this mode and the previous two is that now you also need an external keyboard and mouse. Also, for this mode to function, MacBook has to be connected to the power source.  If you open the lid of your MacBook both screens will become active in a few minutes.

 

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