5 Ways to Extend Displays to Your Mac

Bethany Walsh

May 30, 2022

Our Mac screen territory may be a little constrained at times. Many Macs make it simple to add a display through a cable or affordable adapter, but there are restrictions, notably with the 2020 &'' 2021 M1 Macs. There are four various methods to expand your desktop, each of which may provide you with varying degrees of extra space and freedom.

If you're thinking about adding a second monitor to your macOS set up to alleviate the hunch of using a laptop, keep reading. Apple's Sidecar function allows you to utilize your iPad like a second display if you own an iPad and a Mac. Alternatively, you may use a Mac with a second display if you don't have access to an iPad. Using this article, you will learn 5 ways to extend displays to your Mac.


A virtual display option for an iPad was introduced to macOS 10.15 Catalina. Sidecar is a feature that allows you to increase the size of your desktop. However, it also allows you to choose activities, like as dragging a window from a Mac-connected display to an iPad with a click or press.

Only Macs produced in the previous five years are supported by Sidecar, beginning with the most recent version of a Mac model launched in 2016. Catalina or later must be installed on the Mac. Sidecar is compatible with any iPad Pro model, as well as subsequent iPad models. The entire list of requirements may be seen on Apple's website.

Plugging the iPad into a USB port enables you to use it as a Sidecar display and charge it at the same time. When connecting the iPad, tap Trust and input the iPad's password when the "Trust This Computer?" notice displays. Next, it may be the best solution if your gadgets don't reach the standard.

Duet Display Software

Several software alternatives are provided by Duet to turn any iOS, Android, Mac, or Windows device into an extra display. For the most part, Duet's software is compatible with the latest versions of both macOS (10.9 Mavericks) and iOS (10).

One-time costs and subscription pricing aren't displayed on their website, which may make it much simpler for customers to know exactly what they're getting into. You may use your Mac's expanded display after downloading the free Duet software and installing it on your computer.

The DisplayLink Adapters and The Driver

If you haven't seen it yet, we just looked at how many displays you can add to your old Intel Macs and modern M1 Macs. Other options include DisplayLink, a hardware adapter with DisplayLink technology, and a kernel extension. Using the DisplayLink extension, you may have more than one external display on your M1-based laptop, allowing you to run many applications simultaneously.

Most people aren't a fan of kernel extensions since Apple is moving away from them, and they may produce low-level interactions that are unexpected depending on what you've installed on your computer. Despite this, the majority of users of DisplayLink claim success, even when using Big Sur on Intel as well as M1 Macs, which is a notable accomplishment.

Universal Control

When macOS 12 Monterey, as well as iPadOS 15, come out later in 2021, Universal Control will make it easy for up to three Macs and iPads to work together. This new feature allows you to create an "extended desktop" out of the devices you currently possess rather than turning them into additional displays. In addition to sharing the keyboard, mouse, and trackpad, this connection allows you to move windows across the screens of two different computers simultaneously. Sidecar's system requirements are similar to those of Universal Control.

To Use an External Monitor With Your Mac

Follow these instructions to set up an external monitor if you don't have an iPad or simply want to utilize it as an extra display.

Inspect Your Monitor's Ports and Your Computer's Ports

Before setting up your monitor, examine its ports and your Mac's ports to see what cables or even adapters you need. There are no HDMI ports on the back of most monitors, similar to what you see on your TV. A USB-C cable may be able to connect your computer to that display. It might be a little more difficult to find out what sort of cable to use to connect your Mac to your display.

Configure External Monitor

Ensure you have all the cords you need before plugging in your display. Plug in a display and boot up your Mac. After that, log in to your account. What's on your Mac's display should appear on the external monitor when you do this. Meanwhile, you may attach it to the display, but the Mac will not appear until you log in.


The processing capability of a MacBook allows it to serve as both a personal and a business computer. The MacBook's small screen might inhibit productivity when scrolling over a huge spreadsheet. The five techniques listed above may also expand or mirror your display.

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