The Best Way to Plug Monitors On My Mac

Martin Wilson

Jun 28, 2022

The kind of connection connector, the supported resolutions, and the overall number have all changed over time, but the work itself has remained uncomplicated throughout. At the very least, it was! Apple has released USB 3 over USB-C (12-inch MacBook, which has since been discontinued), Thunderbolt 3, which utilizes USB-C (and supports many different types of adapters), and the Apple silicon M1 CPU models throughout the last six years. Some models of Mac computers have contained or still have video-specific ports. They have included HDMI, DisplayPort over Thunderbolt 2, Mini DisplayPort, and DVI (in different formats).

Most recently, HDMI 2.0 has become the only video connection that is not USB-C compatible that is still available. Apple has integrated HDMI into several Intel-based products, including the M1 Mac mini, the 14-inch, and 16-inch M1 Pro/Max MacBook Pros, and the Mac Studio.

Comparison of Macs

According to the feedback we've received from readers, doing simple calculations such as "how many displays can connect into which Macs" has become a challenge for many of you. (Do you have a compatible display with Thunderbolt 2, DVI, or Mini DisplayPort? Consult our tutorial from the year 2020 to learn how to figure out what you already have and what sort of adaptor you will need. Do you want to utilize your iMac as a display for another device? Only iMacs manufactured between 2009 and mid-2014 are eligible for this promotion. Refer to the article "Troubleshooting suggestions for utilizing an outdated iMac as an external display for a Thunderbolt 3 Mac" for more information.

The comparison of Macs from the most recent several generations, beginning with the most recent, is shown below. The iMac and Mac laptops' built-in displays are not included in this comparison. A USB-C connector is used for all connections unless otherwise specified.

Options for the M1 Mac Display

Most M1 Macs only support the addition of a single external monitor, although the Mac mini supports the addition of two. No adaptor or trickery can be done using Apple equipment to add an extra display higher than the level that Apple supports, even though many readers have asked about this. The video circuitry is conspicuously absent from the device.

Here are your selections, arranged according to the various display choices:

  • iMac, the M1 MacBook Air: One additional monitor that can support resolutions of up to 6K.
  • M1 Mac mini: One at a resolution of up to 6K.
  • You may connect different displays to your computer using USB 3 and devices that use the DisplayLink technology. Installing a driver provided by the business that operates at the kernel level is necessary. Look at our evaluation of the StarTech USB 3.0 to HDMI Adapter with DisplayLink, which is compatible with Macs.

Options for the M1 Pro, M1 Max, and M1 Ultra Monitors

With the launch of the M1 Pro and M1 Ultra CPUs in October 2021, followed by the release of the M1 Ultra in March 2022, Apple significantly increased the number of display choices available for professional-level devices, including the following:

  • MacBook Pro with M1 Max, available in 14- or 16-inch sizes: Three external monitors at up to 6K resolution may be connected through USB-C, and one can be connected via HDMI 2.0 at up to 4K resolution.
  • Four monitors at up to 6K via USB-C ports with Thunderbolt 4 and one display.

In the M1 Max configuration of the Mac Studio, two front-facing USB-C ports are equipped with USB 3, but these ports are incompatible. The iMac and Mac laptops' built-in displays are not included in this comparison. A USB-C connector is used for all connections unless otherwise specified. This does not reduce the number of displays that may be connected, but it may need the use of an extra Thunderbolt 4 dock for you to have good free USB-C ports for all of your needs.

Ask Mac 911

Along with our responses and links to relevant sections, we have developed a list of the questions we are most commonly asked, which may be found here: Check to see whether the answer to your query may be found by reading through our amazing FAQ. If that's not the case, we're constantly looking for new issues to tackle! Send an email with your question to [email protected], including any relevant screenshots, and indicate whether or not you want your full name to be used. Certain questions will not be addressed, we do not respond to emails, and we cannot provide direct advice on how to fix problems.

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