If your external display isn't detected or appears blurry on your Mac

Try these steps if the image on an external display connected to your Mac is blank or doesn't look the way you expect.

Before you begin

Make sure your Mac is running the latest version of macOS.

If your display is blank or not detected

Try these steps if you don't see an image on your display.

Check how many displays you can connect

To find out how many external displays your Mac supports, check its technical specifications page or use the Support tab in About This Mac: 

  1. Choose Apple menu  > About This Mac.
  2. Click the Support tab, then click Specifications.
  3. On the webpage that appears, the number of displays your Mac supports appears under Video Support or Graphics.

Check your cable or adapter

Disconnect the cable from your external display from your Mac, then reconnect it. If the cable from your external display doesn't connect to the ports on your Mac, you can use a Thunderbolt 3 or USB-C adapter.

If your display appears blurry

If images or text on your display appear blurry or pixelated, check the resolution and brightness of your display.

Adjust the resolution

  1. From the Apple menu, choose System Preferences.
  2. Click the Displays icon.
  3. Press and hold the Option key while you click Scaled to see additional resolutions for the second display.
    External display system preferences window with Resolution set to Scaled.

If you're using more than one display, and you can see the image on one of the displays, you can also use Displays preferences to check for connected displays.

If the expected resolution doesn't appear for your display, check the specifications page to see what your Mac supports.

Adjust the brightness

To adjust the brightness of your Apple display, press the increase brightness key  or the decrease brightness key  on your keyboard.

Magic Keyboard F1 / brightness key illustration diagram Magic Keyboard F2 / brightness key illustration diagram

You can also use the brightness adjustment for each connected display in System Preferences > Displays.

Displays not made by Apple sometimes have brightness and color adjustments built into the display. Check the documentation for your display to see if it includes built-in controls.

Information about products not manufactured by Apple, or independent websites not controlled or tested by Apple, is provided without recommendation or endorsement. Apple assumes no responsibility with regard to the selection, performance, or use of third-party websites or products. Apple makes no representations regarding third-party website accuracy or reliability. Contact the vendor for additional information.

Published Date: