Connecting an external monitor to your Mac

Whether for work or personal use, the extra display space opens up a world of possibilities. Whatever the reason, if you connect an external monitor to your Mac, you can achieve more and face fewer limitations than single monitor settings.

In this article, we’ll look at connecting an external monitor to your Mac and show you how to set up your iPad. We’ll also discuss what you need before you get started.

Before you begin: find the right adapters or cables

Of course, you’ll need an external monitor as a minimum, although the right cables or adapters are needed, depending on the age of your Mac. A good hdmi cable is a necessity for Macs from around 2012, although some of these models use other connectors.

MacBooks with a built-in DisplayPort require their own compatible adapters and cables to connect to an external monitor.

A Thunderbolt cable is required for all external monitors designed for the MacBook. USB-C connectors, of course, are needed dongleja connect all.

Thunderbolt 3 compatible monitors are also a good choice because these cables charge your laptop while using it as an external monitor. Apple has a guide helps you choose the right cable for your computer.

Connecting an external monitor to your Mac

Assuming you have all the right cables, physically adding an external monitor is simple: plug it into the right port and the monitor should mirror everything on your MacBook.

At this point, you need to arrange two monitors so that you can switch between the monitors. You can do this by going to “System Preferences” either from the Apple logo on the toolbar or through Spotlight Search.

Next, select the Views panel. When a pop-up window appears, click Organize. You should see rectangles that represent your screens. The main screen shows a white border at the top. From there, you can do the following:

  • Mirror your screen. This is perfect if you need more space without multiple windows.
  • Use separate screens. If you deselect Screen mirroring option, you can expand your desktop with another screen.

For optimal performance, the best positioning is to align the monitors to their physical position. If the external monitor is in front of you and your MacBook is on the right or left, arrange the monitors this way by dragging the rectangles until they’re in the right place.

To make your second screen the main screen, drag it to the left of the screen by clicking the white bar. Note that your main screen will be the one that receives application notifications. The dock also appears on any screen where the mouse cursor is located.

Using the sidecar feature with iPad

The iPad may not be considered a traditional display, but you can use the sidecar feature from macOS Catalina. This This feature enables the iPad to act as an additional display for the computer.

For this to work, you need a supported macOS computer. You also need an iPad with iOS 13 or later. These include the iPad Pro, iPad 6th generation or later, iPad mini 5th generation and iPad Air 3rd generation.

The sidecar configuration is the same for wireless and wired connections. Using a wired connection is as easy as using a USB-C or Lightning cable to connect the two.

To activate the sidecar, make sure iPad is on and close to your MacBook. On your MacBook, find the AirPlay button near the menu bar in the upper-right corner of the screen.

In this drop-down menu, you should see the iPad you want to use as an external monitor.

Click iPad and your devices should connect and get started. You can now move windows from your MacBook to iPad to use as a secondary display.


It is always a good idea to save more space on the settings screen. In some industries and applications, more space is vital. Connecting an external monitor to your Mac can expand your screen and make room for your projects.

As working from home is becoming more common, the demand for second monitors is new. We’ve put together several portable screens for you to check out. Are you considering an external monitor, and if so, why? Tell us in the comments section below!

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