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How to connect your Apple laptop ( MacBook, MacBook Pro or MacBook Air) to TV

This short tutorial will show you how to connect your Apple laptop to your TV using a cable setup. In this guide, you’ll be using HDMI and VGA cables to connect all types of Apple laptops. We hope you’ll find this guide helpful.

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Know your Mac’s model and video output ports

Once you’ve decided that you want to go ahead and connect your laptop to your TV, the next good thing to do is to know your laptop’s specifications, particularly the model and/or video ports. Throughout the years, Apple has employed at least 6 different video ports on their laptops:

  • micro DVI port,
  • Mini DisplayPort,
  • Thunderbolt 2 port,
  • Thunderbolt 3 port,
  • HDMI port, and
  • USB port.

In some Mac laptops, two of any of these ports are present. In newer MacBooks, only one video port has become the trend although you can still use special adapters to allow them to work with other type of video cables. Whatever your Mac laptop is, be sure to identify what its video output port is.

The easiest way to know that is by using your laptop’s model identifier when searching in Google. For example, if you have a MacBook Pro 13-inch model from 2016, you can type in Google search box this search query: “MacBook Pro 13-inch model from 2016 video output port.”

Know your TV ports

On the TV side, there are 4 common video ports that all TV makers employ on their products. Like Apple laptops, the ports can vary depending on the manufacturer and model but the most common ports are:

  • HDMI port
  • DisplayPort
  • DVI ports
  • VGA ports

If you’ll not be able to identify the video port on your TV, simply search your TV’s make and model in Google. Alternatively, you can consult the documentation that came with your TV to know what type of video port you have.

How to connect your Apple laptop to TV

Once you’ve identified the ports on your laptop and TV, the next step is to buy the necessary cable and/or adapter. Then, all you have to do is to connect both devices together.

How to setup your Apple laptop to TV using HDMI cable

The easiest way to connect your TV to your laptop is by using HDMI. To start, plug one end of HDMI cable to your laptop and the other one to your TV.

Then, once the TV and laptop have been physically connected via HDMI, your computer will now treat your TV as an external display. This means that you’ll have to specify how your Mac wants to use the TV, which in this case, is a second display. This will tell your Mac to use your TV to mirror what it’s doing, and not to use its own screen.

To change the settings on your Mac to use the TV as the second display:

  1. Go to the Apple Menu.
  2. Open System Preferences.
  3. Click on Displays.
  4. Click on the Arrangement tab.
  5. Tick the box that says Mirror Displays if you want your TV to show the same content that is being shown on your laptop screen.
  6. Leave the box as it is if you want to use the TV as a second display.

Now that you’ve set your Mac what screen to use, you also need to configure it so it knows which speaker, that of the TV or its own, to use. Here’s how:

  1. Go to the Apple Menu.
  2. Open System Preferences.
  3. Click on Sound.
  4. Click on Output.
  5. Select TV.

How to set up your Apple laptop with USB-C port to TV with HDMI port

The newest Apple laptops only come with USB-C port so older TVs with HDMI ports only may not be able to use the regular HDMI setup. If your Apple laptop only comes with a USB-C port, the you’re going to use a special USB-C to HDMI adapter.

  1. Connect the HDMI cable to your TV’s HDMI port.
  2. Connect the USB-C to HDMI adapter to your Mac’s USB-C port.
  3. Connect the other end of the HDMI cable to the other end of the USB-C to HDMI adapter.
  4. Change your Mac’s video and audio configuration by following these steps:

To change the settings on your Mac to use the TV as the second display:

  1. Go to the Apple Menu.
  2. Open System Preferences.
  3. Click on Displays.
  4. Click on the Arrangement tab.
  5. Tick the box that says Mirror Displays if you want your TV to show the same content that is being shown on your laptop screen.
  6. Leave the box as it is if you want to use the TV as a second display.

To change the audio settings of your Mac:

  1. Go to the Apple Menu.
  2. Open System Preferences.
  3. Click on Sound.
  4. Click on Output.
  5. Select TV.

How to set up your Apple laptop with Thunderbolt port to TV with HDMI port

Thunderbolt ports require less space in the motherboard so newer Apple laptops use them instead of HDMI ports. If your Mac has a Thunderbolt port, make sure that you buy a Thunderbolt adapter first so you can connect it to your TV with HDMI port. To do that:

  1. Connect the Thunderbolt adapter to your laptop’s Thunderbolt port.
  2. Connect one end of your HDMI cable to your TV HDMI port.
  3. Connect the other end of your HDMI cable to your laptop’s Thunderbolt adapter.
  4. Change your Mac’s video and audio configuration by following these steps:

To change the settings on your Mac to use the TV as the second display:

  1. Go to the Apple Menu.
  2. Open System Preferences.
  3. Click on Displays.
  4. Click on the Arrangement tab.
  5. Tick the box that says Mirror Displays if you want your TV to show the same content that is being shown on your laptop screen.
  6. Leave the box as it is if you want to use the TV as a second display.

To change the audio settings of your Mac:

  1. Go to the Apple Menu.
  2. Open System Preferences.
  3. Click on Sound.
  4. Click on Output.
  5. Select TV.

How to set up your Apple laptop with Mini DisplayPort to TV with HDMI port

Some MacBooks sport Mini DisplayPort instead of HDMI or Thunderbolt. If your Mac has this type of video port, make sure to get a Mini DisplayPort to HDMI adapter. Then, once you’re ready follow the steps below on how to connect your Apple laptop with Mini DisplayPort to TV.

  1. Connect the Mini DisplayPort adapter to your laptop’s Mini DisplayPort port.
  2. Connect one end of your HDMI cable to your TV HDMI port.
  3. Connect the other end of your HDMI cable to your laptop’s Mini DisplayPort  adapter.
  4. Change your Mac’s video and audio configuration by following these steps:

To change the settings on your Mac to use the TV as the second display:

  1. Go to the Apple Menu.
  2. Open System Preferences.
  3. Click on Displays.
  4. Click on the Arrangement tab.
  5. Tick the box that says Mirror Displays if you want your TV to show the same content that is being shown on your laptop screen.
  6. Leave the box as it is if you want to use the TV as a second display.

To change the audio settings of your Mac:

  1. Go to the Apple Menu.
  2. Open System Preferences.
  3. Click on Sound.
  4. Click on Output.
  5. Select TV.

How to set up your Apple laptop with DVI port to TV with HDMI port

Some older Apple laptops released about two decades ago used DVI ports. Newer Apple laptops no longer use them but if you happen to still be using these old Macs, then you’re going to use a DVI to HDMI adapter to set your laptop to your TV up. Here are the ways to set up them up:

  1. Connect the DVI to HDMI adapter adapter to your laptop’s DVI to HDMI adapter port.
  2. Connect one end of your HDMI cable to your TV HDMI port.
  3. Connect the other end of your HDMI cable to your laptop’s DVI to HDMI adapter adapter.
  4. Change your Mac’s video and audio configuration by following these steps:

To change the settings on your Mac to use the TV as the second display:

  1. Go to the Apple Menu.
  2. Open System Preferences.
  3. Click on Displays.
  4. Click on the Arrangement tab.
  5. Tick the box that says Mirror Displays if you want your TV to show the same content that is being shown on your laptop screen.
  6. Leave the box as it is if you want to use the TV as a second display.

To change the audio settings of your Mac:

  1. Go to the Apple Menu.
  2. Open System Preferences.
  3. Click on Sound.
  4. Click on Output.
  5. Select TV.

How to set up your Apple laptop to TV with VGA port

Older TVs may have VGA ports instead of HDMI so if you happen to be using one, then you need to have a computer that also supports VGA port. Using a VGA cable, simply connect one end of that cable to your laptop and the other end to your TV’s VGA port. If your laptop no longer has a VGA port, you can use a Thunderbolt adapter to connect it to your TV with a VGA port. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Connect the Thunderbolt adapter to your laptop.
  2. Connect one end of the VGA cable to your laptop’s Thunderbolt adapter.
  3. Connect the other end of the VGA cable to your TV’s VGA port. Make sure that it’s put tightly in place.

 


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