Frequently asked questions about using HDMI with Mac computers

Learn about HDMI and how you can connect your Mac to HDMI TVs and displays.

What is HDMI?

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

Which Mac models have built-in HDMI?

These Mac models include an HDMI port for easily connecting to HDTVs and other displays:

  • Mac mini (Mid 2010) and later
  • MacBook Pro with Retina display (Mid 2012 through Mid 2014)
  • Mac Pro (Late 2013)

How do I connect using a Mac without built-in HDMI?

You can connect your Mac to HDMI displays and TVs using adapters:

Which version of the HDMI spec do Mac computers with HDMI support?

Mac computers released after mid 2010 are designed to work with HDMI devices that comply 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 Mac computers 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), MacBook Pro (Retina, Late 2013) and later, iMac (27-inch, Late 2013) and later, and Mac mini (Late 2014) also support 4K Displays.

Which type of audio works with Mac computers using HDMI?

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

What should I do if my Mac doesn't display correctly on an HDMI display?

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.

What do I do if my HDMI cable is connected but there's no audio?

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

Do Mac computers with HDMI support CEC (Consumer Electronics Control)?

Mac computers don't support (and can't 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 select HDMI audio.

What do I do if my Mac doesn't recognize my HDTV using the HDMI connection?

Try these steps:

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

Can the HDMI port drive analog displays such as VGA displays 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 can't 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 adapter. See this article for more information and compatibility guidelines.

Does the Mac support playing content using HDCP and HDMI?

Yes. HDCP encrypted playback is available in iTunes, QuickTime Player (version 10) and some HTML5-enabled websites viewed in Safari.* Mac computers with HDMI automatically enable HDCP for displays that support it. HDCP is also supported over DisplayPort and USB-C when used with a compliant HDMI adapter. 

*Requires macOS Sierra and FairPlay Streaming-enabled content delivered using Media Source Extensions or HTTP Live Streaming.

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.

Learn more

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

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