What to Do When Your External Mac Display Isn't Showing Up or Displaying Color Casts

Bethany Walsh

May 27, 2022

Most MacBooks include an external display connection that may be used to link an external display to your computer. Extension of your desktop, greater visual space for additional apps, or less distraction in public places may be achieved by using an external display (or many external monitors). There's just one concern: MacBooks do not often recognize external monitors when they're attached. So, what to do when your external Mac display isn't showing up or displaying color casts? It's possible to get a blank screen if you attempt to connect one. Occasionally, the monitor will brighten up for a little period, only to go dark again a short time later. Anxiety-inducing, particularly if you're trying to get something done right away, never fear. Many troubleshooting approaches may be used to fix the problem. We'll go through several solutions in this post to assist you.

Fixing a MacBook that doesn't recognize an external display

An external display is popular among MacBook users due to its many advantages.

  • Enlarging your play space is one way it might enhance your game experience.
  • Displaying your work on one monitor and working on the other is an option for artists and video editors.
  • An external monitor's enormous size makes it easier to multitask and resize the screen than the computer's built-in screen could ever be.
  • To keep track of many programs simultaneously, a larger screen size is beneficial. You won't have to deal with windows bouncing everywhere to save time.

However, despite its many advantages, external displays aren't always compatible with MacBooks regarding ionization and color accuracy. Sometimes, your Mac may recognize the monitor for a short time and then drop the connection after one restart. No need to freak out if this has occurred to you recently. Here, we'll look at one of the most prevalent causes of the problem and provide some solutions. We'll also provide pointers on how to resolve these problems so that you might return straight to work as soon as possible.

Make Sure Your Cable Is Connected

Before attempting anything more complicated, ensure that both ends of the wire connecting the two devices are firmly connected and hooked into suitable ports (like HDMI). If the connection appears OK, but the Mac still does not recognize the external monitor, you may want to swap the connection ports.

Setup a Fresh Computer Session

Even if you've checked that all of the connections are connected properly and securely, you should restart your Mac if the external monitor is still not detected. Reboot is one of the most common approaches for resolving network connection difficulties, including external monitor identification issues.

The external display should not be unplugged during a system restart. When prompted, pick "Restart" from inside the Apple menu. Try shutting down your MacBook if restarting doesn't solve the issue. To accomplish this, click the Apple emblem and choose "Sleep." A few minutes later, wake up your MacBook. Alternatively, you may put your MacBook into sleep mode by shutting the laptop.

Make use of a Test Monitor

Unfortunately, a bad monitor is sometimes to blame. When attempting to connect an external monitor, configuration tweaks won't fix the problem if the external monitor itself is malfunctioning. Monitor replacement is necessary. You may check whether your monitor is working properly by unplugging it and connecting to another external display. Otherwise, the first display may be faulty or mismatched with the MacBook Pro.

Do not rely only on the power of your batteries

If you're operating your MacBook on its battery bank, it would not have sufficient power to drive pixels to an exterior display. It would help if you started your MacBook on the wall to test whether it can run an external monitor.

Ensure that your OS is up to date before proceeding

Updates often fix problems, so you may run into one even if you're using the latest version of the OS. Ensure that you're operating the most current version of macOS.

Use a Different Monitor to Run the Test

Adjusting your Mac's settings will do nothing if your display is unreliable, temperamental, or downright defective. Test it out on your Mac if you do have accessibility to a separate external monitor. Is this true? If so, it suggests that your external screen is to blame.

The Video Card and Drivers Need to Be Checked

For third-party graphics cards, make sure they're properly inserted in their PCI slot and also that you possess the most recent version of the appropriate drivers. There are occasions when updated models of macOS contain driver upgrades, so you should ensure you're running the most current version.

Use of 4K? Check if Your Mac Will Work!

There is no assurance that your video card will be strong enough to transmit all of those pixels to a 4K screen if you use an external 4K monitor. This resolution is typically supported by most Macs manufactured after 2013. However, you can always verify your Mac's technical specs if you have any doubts.


When a Mac is switched on or awakened from sleep, external displays may not be in ideal sync with the MacBook. Otherwise, the screen is not recognized by the MacBook at all; as a result, windows &'' icons are moved across the screen since your Mac believes it has just one (or more) displays attached. Older displays tend to be more susceptible to these issues, although readers have reported a wide range of oddities. You can figure out what's wrong by reading this blog.

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