Use external monitors with your Mac

Learn how to connect another display to your Mac and choose how your displays work together.

You can set up additional displays with your Mac in several ways. You can make all of your displays mirror each other, or extend your workspace with different apps and windows on each display. If you use an external display with your Mac notebook, you can also use closed-display mode.

Check your requirements

  • Check the ports on your Mac and see if you need an adapter.
  • Check how many displays your Mac supports: Choose Apple () menu > About This Mac > Support, then click Specifications. On the web page that appears, the number of displays your Mac supports appears under Video Support.

Use extended desktop mode

A MacBook and an External Display using extended desktop mode

Maximize your workspace with extended desktop mode, which lets you enjoy full-screen apps and windows on each monitor. Then, use Mission Control to organize apps and windows across your displays. If your Dock is on the bottom of your screen, it appears on any of your displays when you move your pointer to the bottom edge of your display.

Turn on extended desktop mode

  1. Make sure that your external display is powered on and connected to your Mac.
  2. Choose Apple () menu > System Preferences, then click Displays.
  3. Select the Arrangement tab.
  4. Make sure that the Mirror Displays checkbox isn’t selected.

Arrange your displays or change your primary display

So that you can move apps and windows across your displays in one continuous motion, arrange your displays to match the setup on your desk. You can also change your primary display, which is where your desktop icons and app windows first appear. Here's how:

  1. Choose Apple () menu > System Preferences, then click Displays.
  2. Select the Arrangement tab.
  3. Arrange your displays or change the primary display:
    • To arrange your displays, drag one of the displays where you want it. A red border appears around your display as you arrange it.
    • To change your primary display, drag the white bar to another display.

The Arrangement tab of Displays in System Preferences

Use video mirroring

With video mirroring, all of your displays show the same apps and windows.

A MacBook and a external display set to Mirror Displays mode

Turn on video mirroring

  1. Make sure that your external display is powered on and connected to your Mac.
  2. Choose Apple () menu > System Preferences, click Displays, then select the Arrangement tab.
  3. Make sure that the Mirror Displays checkbox is selected.

The arrangement tab of Displays in System Preferences with Mirror Displays enabled

Use AirPlay

With Apple TV, you can mirror the entire display of your Mac to your TV or use your TV as a separate display. To turn on AirPlay, follow these steps:

  1. Make sure that your TV is powered on.
  2. Choose the AirPlay menu in the menu bar*, then choose your Apple TV. If an AirPlay passcode appears on your TV screen, enter the passcode on your Mac. 
  3. Mirror your display or use your TV as a separate display:
    • To mirror your display, choose the AirPlay menu, then choose Mirror Built-in Display.
    • To use your TV as a separate display, choose the AirPlay menu, then choose Use As Separate Display.
  4. To turn off AirPlay, choose the AirPlay menu, then choose Turn AirPlay Off.

* If you don't see the AirPlay menu in the menu bar, choose Apple () menu > Displays, then select the "Show mirroring options in the menu bar when available" checkbox. 

Learn how to AirPlay video from your Mac.

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