How to Use an iMac as an External Monitor: The Ultimate Guide

Bethany Walsh

Mar 09, 2022

Your Mac computer is a sleek, gorgeous machine that may also have a small screen; this can be an issue when you're using it for work or wanting to take advantage of the full-screen size of your television in the living room. Luckily, there is an easy way to use your iMac as a monitor for your TV - and all you need is a cable!

If you're interested in turning that big screen into an extension of your keyboard, mouse, and speakers, then keep reading! Here's how to get set up.

Keyboard: You'll need one cable (HDMI or VGA) connecting the Mac Mini to the TV's HDMI port.

Mouse: You'll need a wireless mouse and Apple’s Magic Trackpad. Both can be easily connected to your iMac via Bluetooth.

Speakers: You'll need a USB cable to connect the speakers to the Mac Mini and an HDMI or VGA cable to get sound transmitted from the Mac Mini to the TV. The USB will also be your input for sound. If you're using your HDTV as an "extended desktop" (as opposed to mirroring), then you can also use its built-in speakers; just make sure its volume is turned up for you to hear sound through them.

You'll also need the "Boot Camp" software from Apple on your Mac. This software allows you to run Windows on your Mac (although you may have trouble accessing some applications if you're not a power user).

All set?

Step one: Double-check that everything is connected properly. Once you're sure, power up the TV and your iMac. Double-click the mouse icon on the iMac's desktop to open up its settings dialogue box if all goes well. Click "System Preferences," then click "Displays." A list of connected displays will appear on the left-hand side of the dialog; select the one you want to use for the external display, and then click "Arrangement."

You can select either "Clone" or "Mirror" displays from this menu. Both choices provide the same result: Your iMac's display will appear on your TV, and in the case of "Clone," the displays will look exactly the same. However, with "Mirror," everything that appears on your iMac's display will be duplicated on your television.

Windows users, you're almost done! You'll just have to do a bit of extra work. Once everything is connected, power up your Mac and Windows computer. Now open up Windows' Display settings menu and choose "Extend these displays" (as opposed to "Duplicate these displays"). That's it! Your TV should now display all of your iMac's features. You can also use your Apple keyboard to input text in Mac OS X and Windows using Command + Tab.

If you're a Mac user, you're done! Click “Displays” again in the iMac's settings menu, and make sure that the “Mirror” box is checked (and/or switch your main display to “Extended desktop”); your TV will now show everything that appears on your iMac's screen. If you check the "Show mirroring options in the menu bar when available," you will have a quick-access menu from which to start and stop mirroring.

If you prefer to use the Magic Trackpad, you can plug it into one of the USB ports on your iMac while mirroring occurs. The Trackpad will work just like a regular mouse via Bluetooth.

Some best ways to use an iMac as an external monitor

If you need to use iMac as an external monitor, you can use a VGA or Mini DisplayPort adapter. You can use the AirPlay feature to mirror your iMac's screen on another device.

To use a VGA adapter, connect the adapter to your iMac's VGA port and connect the other end of the adapter to the monitor or TV you want to use.

To use a Mini DisplayPort adapter, connect the adapter to your iMac's Mini DisplayPort port and connect the other side of your adapter to the monitor or TV you want to use.

To use AirPlay, make sure your iMac and other device are connected to the same Wi-Fi network. On your iMac, open System Preferences and click on Displays. On the right side of the window, click on the AirPlay button. Select your other device from the list and click on Mirror Screen.

You're ready to enjoy your new computer monitor!

If you have any concerns about using your iMac as an external monitor, please contact us. We would be happy to help.

Related Stories

Privacy Policy | Terms of Use

© 2022

Contact us at: [email protected]