Working on one screen can get pretty crowded. You could be typing up a document while doing some research online all while watching a YouTube video. Here your options are either to make everything really small or constantly switch between windows, both of which are unfavorable options. If this is an issue for you, you may want to consider getting an additional monitor for your Mac. So, here’s a guide to everything you need to know.
To get started, you’re obviously going to need to pick out a monitor. Newegg has a great guide that’s super detailed. I will link it below. But, here are something’s you want to look out for, the marketed use case, physical screen size, resolution, shape, display technology, and mounting options. Most importantly, however, is making sure you get a monitor that you can easily plug into your Mac. Chances are if you’re reading or watching this, the other details probably don’t matter as much.
The connection you’re most likely to run into is HDMI, commonly found on monitors and TVs. But, HDMI isn’t the only port you will find on your monitor. You may find monitors with DisplayPort, HDMI’s rival in the computer field, or USB-C/ThunderBolt 3. You may even run into an older connection like a blue trapezoid with 15 pins. This is a VGA port. Or its younger brother, DVI, a long white rectangle with a variety of pin arrangements.
Then, unless you have a monitor and Mac with an HDMI port, you’re going to need an adapter to connect your display to your computer. If your Mac is from the past 6 years, you definitely have a USB-C port. So, you will need an adapter that can adapt this port to a connection on the back of your monitor. For instance, if your external monitor has a blue VGA connection, look for a USB-C to VGA adapter. If your external monitor has a white DVI port, look for a USB-C to DVI. You get the idea. If you’re going the USB-C route, you may want to consider some sort of USB docking station or hub that would make reconnecting your portable device like a laptop easier.
However, if you’re looking to connect an older Mac to a display, look for a port labeled with a lightning bolt. This is likely a Thunderbolt 2 port. If you have one of these you will need an adapter that adapts that port to a connection on the back of your monitor. For instance, you may need a Thunderbolt 2 to HDMI adapter, if you have HDMI on your external monitor.
If your Mac doesn’t have an HDMI, USB-C, or Thunderbolt 2, chances are your computer is really old. You’re looking at either Thunderbolt 1 or Mini Display Port. If you go back far enough, you may even find a VGA port on your device. But, if you fall into any of these categories, you may want to consider an upgrade.
Lastly, if you’re deep into the Apple ecosystem, you may have an AirPlay display you can use as an external monitor. You can check out my last video for more on that. However, working with a wireless display is never the best option for long-term use.
If you got lost during any part of that, leave a comment below of what computer you have and what you plan on using the monitor for, and someone will help you out. Also, while down there, you can hit the thumbs up and subscribe for more videos like this.
Now that you have your monitor and it is connected to your Mac, you should see something appear on it. If not, try double-checking that the cables are snuggly plugged in and ensure you’re on the correct video source. You may want to check your monitor’s manual for more.
At this point, you probably want to make some adjustments to how your Mac sees and works with your external display. To do this, open System Preferences either from your dock or from the Apple menu. Then open the Display preference pane. The entry screen shows all your connected monitors and their arrangement, and hovering over them will identify them. From there, you can drag and drop the displays, rearranging them until they match how they are aligned on your desk.
Right-clicking a display will give you more options. You can make that screen your main display or extend it, aka make it an additional screen. Finally, you can mirror your display so it copies your main display. At the bottom of that right-click menu is display settings, which you can also access through the button at the bottom of the window.
Here, you will get a list of your displays on the sidebar and its perspective setting on the left. In the first dropdown, you can, again, choose how you plan on using that display. The next option is resolution, which is likely set to default for display. You can change it to scaled if you want to make adjustments. Next, you have your color profile options. This changes the color of your screen based on different profiles, but you are likely ok with the default settings. The last drop-down is to change the rotation. So, if you’re someone who does a lot of vertical work like typing documents or surfing the web, you may want to change your screen’s rotation by 90 degrees and then physically rotate your display portrait. This way you have more vertical space to work with. And, that’s it for the Display Settings.
Now, let’s look at some of the other buttons at the bottom of the window.
First, you have Add Display. This drop-down gives you a selection of wireless displays such as an AppleTV with AirPlay or an iPad with SideCar. Skipping display settings, you get to Universal Control. However, I’ve already made videos on each of these features. So I will link them below.
This brings us to Night Shift, a feature that makes your display colors warmer by removing blue light illuminated from your display. Originally, it was suspected that less blue light at night could improve your sleep. Today, some have disputed that claim. In the popup, you can set Night Shift to turn on automatically based on a set schedule. Then, at the bottom, you can use the slider to choose how warm you want your display to be when the feature turns on. But, if you do have it set to turn on automatically, you can temporarily disable it either by toggling the manual button in this popup or the easier option is to disable it using the control center.
And that’s how you connect to an external display on your Mac and adjust its setting. With it all set up, you can now move your cursor from one screen to the other or drag a window, files, images, text, and more along with it.
Thanks for watching! If you found it helpful, click that thumbs up button and subscribe, as it really helps out the channel. While down there, you can also check out all the helpful links and resources in the description. Also, while there, you can check out all the other places you can find Apple Guide online. Once again, thanks for watching, and I will catch you in the next one!
More from Apple Guide:
- “Stream Your iPhone to the Big Screen with AirPlay” — https://appleguideweb.com/stream-your-iphone-to-the-big-screen-with-airplay%EF%BF%BC/
- “Vlog: How to Use Universal Control” — https://appleguideweb.com/vlog-how-to-use-universal-control/
- “Continuity of the Apple Ecosystem (Part 1)” — https://appleguideweb.com/continuity-of-the-apple-ecosystem-part-1/
Check out these helpful links on this topic:
- Newegg: “How to choose the best computer monitor” — https://www.newegg.com/insider/how-to-choose-the-best-computer-monitor-buying-guide/
- Apple Support : “Connect a display to your Mac” — https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT202351
- Apple Support: “Use an iPad as a second display for a Mac” — https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT210380