Connecting your Mac or MacBook to a TV is a lot easier than you might think. All you need is a cable that’s compatible with your computer and TV, or Apple TV, and you’ll be duplicating the screen in no time.
Watching your Mac screen through a TV can be very useful, especially if you want to watch movies and series on a bigger screen, enjoy the experience even more the game with video games for mac or make a stylish photo slide.
Learning how to connect a Mac to a TV can be helpful even in business meetings, as most companies have ditched projectors and switched to big-screen TVs.
To be able to do this, you can choose one of the 4 ways that we have summarized in this article and which are divided into two categories:
- Connect a Mac to your TV with a compatible cable and adapter
- Mirroring a Mac screen with Apple TV
On the contrary, if what you want to see on your television is the screen of your smartphone The Tablet Apple, we suggest you take a look at our tutorial on how to connect iPhone or iPad to TV. You can also learn with us how to connect Windows laptop to your TV.
How to connect your Mac or MacBook to TV with a cable
If you don’t have an Apple TV, the only option you have to view your computer monitor from your TV screen is to use a cable – and an adapter, if necessary. It is the most popular, cheapest and easiest solution to do.
To figure out which cable you should choose to connect your Mac to your TV, you’ll need to take a look at the ports that either device has built in, usually on the back.
What is the port of your Mac or MacBook?
HDMI. If your Mac or MacBook has an HDMI port, using an HDMI cable is definitely your best option, as this connector transfers high quality video and sound at the same time. Models with HDMI are as follows:
- Mac mini (mid 2010 or later)
- MacBook Pro with Retina display (mid 2012 to mid 2014)
- Mac Pro (late 2013)
Thunderbolt 2. Macs or MacBooks with a Thunderbolt 2 port will need an adapter with an HDMI input – you can also use a DisplayPort to HDMI adapter, as the shape of the port is the same.
Not sure if your computer has Thunderbolt 2? Verify it’s on this list:
- 13-inch MacBook Air (Early 2015)
- 27-inch IMac with Retina 5K display (late 2014)
- Mac mini (2014 finals)
- 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display (Late 2013 and later)
- 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display (Late 2013 and later)
- Mac Pro (late 2013)
Mini DisplayPort. If your Mac or MacBook is older than the ones mentioned in the previous section, it most likely has a Mini DisplayPort, which was permanently replaced by Thunderbolt 2 in 2016.
If that’s the case for you, you’ll need an adapter with a Mini DisplayPort input on one end and an HDMI input on the other. Keep in mind that a Thunderbolt 2 to HDMI adapter will not work this time.
Micro-DVI. Micro-DVI ports are present on older Mac and MacBook models, such as the first MacBook Air. This port is smaller than the Mini DisplayPort.
USB 3. If you have a MacBook, you have surely noticed that it has more USB input than the other models. Specifically, the third USB port on the MacBook can also be used to connect your laptop to the TV.
USB Type-C or Thunderbolt 3. The latest version of the MacBook Pro includes an additional port that can be used as a USB Type-C port or as a Thunderbolt 3 port.
What is the port of your TV?
Along with checking which port on your Mac or MacBook you can use to connect the device to your TV, you also need to know what video input your TV is available.
If you bought your TV not too long ago, it probably has an HDMI port. In these cases, you won’t have to worry about anything else, because with just one cable you can transfer both video and audio.
On the other hand, if your TV is a few years old and doesn’t have an HDMI port, it probably has a DVI port, which only works as a video input. This means that you will need to have another cable to pass the sound and connect it to an audio input.
On the other hand, users who have a very old TV should get a compact adapter, although in these cases we recommend that you directly purchase a cheap TV with HDMI ports.
What kind of adapter do you need?
Unless your computer or laptop and TV have an HDMI port, you will likely need an adapter. You can choose between two options: USB Type-C to HDMI or Mini DisplayPort to HDMI.
USB Type-C to HDMI Adapter. As of 2015, 12-inch MacBooks only have USB Type-C ports and a 3.5mm audio jack. If this is the case for you, you will need a USB Type-C to HDMI adapter.
Fortunately, you have several options at your fingertips: from the Multi-port USB-C to digital AV adapter, available on the official Apple website for 79 $, at cheaper solutions like the same Coetech adapter for a cheaper price.
Remember that you will also need an HDMI cable to connect the two devices. You can find cheap options on Amazon like this
The process for connecting your Mac or MacBook to your TV using a USB Type-C to HDMI adapter is very simple:
1. Plug the USB port end of the adapter into a USB input on your Mac or MacBook.
2. Connect the HDMI cable to the corresponding port on your TV and to the HDMI input of the adapter.
Apple recommends unplugging the adapter from your laptop when you’re not using it, as this will drain a lot of your MacBook’s battery.
Mini DisplayPort to HDMI Adapter. If your computer doesn’t have a USB Type-C port, it most likely has a Mini DisplayPort or Thunderbolt 2. In these cases, you’ll need a Mini DisplayPort to HDMI adapter, valid for both.
Apple doesn’t make its own Mini DisplayPort to HDMI adapter, but luckily there are some unofficial options like the AmazonBasics Adapter, available on Amazon at a very affordable price.
You will also need an HDMI to HDMI cable. You can buy the belkin cable in the official Apple Store for $ 34.95 or, if you prefer, you can buy one of Amazon’s cheaper options, like this one HDMI cable Cheaper.
Once you have both the adapter and the HDMI cable, you will just need to follow these two simple steps:
1. Connect the end with the Mini DisplayPort port of the adapter to the Mini DisplayPort or Thunderbolt 2 port – depending on the computer model – of your Mac or MacBook.
2. Connect one end of the HDMI to HDMI cable to your TV and the other to the corresponding input on your adapter.
How to configure the audio?
If you have a high definition TV and your Mac or MacBook has an HDMI port or a Thunderbolt port, you won’t have to worry about anything else, because with the same cables you will already be transferring the audio from the computer to the TV.
On the other hand, in all other cases the most likely thing is that you will need to use another cable besides the HDMI adapter to connect to the audio input of your TV.
Not sure whether or not you need an audio jack? Do not worry! You just need to follow the instructions that we show you below.
1. On your Mac, click on the Apple logo which you will find at the far left of the top bar of the screen.
2. To choose ‘About this Mac‘, followed by ‘Overview“E”System report“.
3. Then click ‘audio‘to check if you have the options’ HDMI output’ or ‘HDMI / DisplayPort output’. If so, you can send audio through the DisplayPort port.
You will also need to configure your Mac so that it can stream audio.
1. Go to the ‘System Preferences“.
2. In the section ‘Ring‘, To choose ‘Departure“.
How to mirror Mac screen to TV?
In addition to setting up audio transmission, you will also need to enable screen mirroring in order to enjoy your Mac monitor on your TV.
1. Open the panel ‘System Preferences“.
2. In the section ‘Poster‘, To choose ‘Alignment“.
3. To choose ‘Duplicate screens‘and make sure your TV screen is the one with the top white bar. This means that you will have configured it as your main screen.
How to Connect Your Mac or MacBook to TV Using Apple TV
Apple TV is a good alternative for connecting a Mac or MacBook to a TV if you don’t want to use a cable and adapter. You can play content on your computer or the internet using AirPlay protocol.
Of course, your TV must have an HDMI port to connect Apple TV. On the other hand, the Apple TV will connect to your computer or laptop through a Wi-Fi network.
Once the two devices are connected, look for the AirPlay icon that will appear on the right side of the top bar of your screen. You can distinguish it by its recognizable triangle on a square.
Then all you have to do is choose the video you want to play on your TV or choose to mirror your Mac’s screen to your TV.