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Mac computers: Frequently asked questions about using HDMI

Get the answers to frequently asked questions about using HDMI with Macs.

Which Macs can use HDMI?

These Macs include an HDMI port for easily connecting to HDTV's and other displays. 

  • Mac mini (Mid 2010) and later models
  • MacBook Pro with Retina display (Mid 2012) and later models
  • Mac Pro (Late 2013)

Note: Most Macs without a HDMI port can use an adapter to connect to HDMI devices.

What is HDMI?

HDMI stands for High Definition Multimedia Interface and is an industry standard for connecting high-definition audio and video devices.

Which version of the HDMI spec do Macs with HDMI support?

Mac computers released after Mid 2010 are designed to work with HDMI devices complying with versions 1.0, 1.1, 1.2, 1.2a, 1.3, 1.3a, and 1.4 of the HDMI specification.

Which resolutions are supported on Macs using HDMI?

The HDMI port supports up to 1080p on HDMI connections. With the HDMI to DVI adapter, the HDMI port will work with resolutions up to 1920 x 1200. Mac Pro (Late 2013) and MacBook Pro (Late 2013) also support 4k Displays.

Which type of audio works with Macs using HDMI?

Apple supports 8-channel, 24-bit audio at 192kHz, Dolby Surround 5.1, and traditional stereo output.

What should I do if a Mac doesn't display correctly on a full screen doesn't display any video?

From the Apple () menu, choose System Preferences, then choose Displays from the View menu. Adjust the Underscan setting until the image fills the screen.

How do I open System Preferences if I don't see a menu bar or dock?

On keyboards with brightness controls, hold down the Option key and the press one of the brightness keys (F1 or F2). This opens the Displays System Preferences pane.  You can also press Command-Shift-A to open the Applications folder, then double-click System Preferences. Another method is to hold down the Command or Control key (depending on your settings) and press the Space bar to activate the Spotlight menu. Then, type "displays" and press Return.

My HDMI cable is connected but there is no audio.

In System Preferences, select Sound. Click the Output tab and then select your HDMI device from the list.

 

Do Macs with HDMI support CEC (Consumer Electronics Control)?

Macs do not support and cannot control other devices via CEC connections and HDMI.

Why can't I select HDMI audio on my Mac mini?

If you connect an HDMI display or television to a Mac mini (Mid 2010 or later), you might not be able to select the HDMI audio device (in System Preferences > Sound > Output). This can happen if you also have headphones plugged in to the computer. Unplug the headphones to be able to select HDMI audio.

My Mac does not recognize my HDTV using the HDMI connection

Leave your Mac turned on while you power off the HDTV.  Unplug the HDMI cable from the Mac and plug it in again.  Power on the HDTV.

Can the HDMI port drive analog displays (VGA displays, for example) using adapters?

No. The HDMI port will only drive digital connections (such as DVI) using the adapter that came with the Mac. The HDMI port cannot be used for analog displays such as VGA. You can purchase a Mini DisplayPort to VGA adapter separately to drive analog displays.

Can I use a Mini DisplayPort display (or television) using the HDMI connection on my Mac?

Yes. You can use the Mini DisplayPort to HDMI adaptor. See this article for more information and compatibility guidelines.

Does the Mac support playing content using HDCP and HDMI?

Yes. Macs with HDMI support content encrypted with High-Bandwidth Digital Copy Protection (HDCP).

Is there a limitation to HDMI cable length?

There is no specified maximum cable length, but for optimum performance it's best to avoid using cables longer than 5 meters or 16 feet. Some cables with high-quality conductors make it possible for cable lengths of 15 meters or 49 feet without signal related issues.

Additional Information

For more details about HDMI specifications and standards, visit http://www.hdmi.org.

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Last Modified: Aug 26, 2014
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  • Last Modified: Aug 26, 2014
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