How to Connect a MacBook Air to a Monitor

How to Connect a MacBook Air to a Monitor

Last Updated on by Daniel Lawrence

Connecting your MacBook Air to a monitor is easy. But you should know the best ways to do it. In this guide, you’ll learn how to connect a MacBook Air to a monitor with the most popular solutions, including VGA, DVI, Thunderbolt, and Mini DisplayPort.

What Is the Best Way to Connect a MacBook Air to an External Monitor?

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Connecting your MacBook Air to an external monitor is simple, but you must first ensure that you have the appropriate cords.

Your MacBook Air’s Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports—or Thunderbolt 4 if you have an M1 model—can be utilized to output video. You’ll need one of the adapters listed below, depending on the type of external display you’re using:

  • Connects to an HDMI monitor or HDTV through the USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter.
  • Connect to a USB-C monitor with a Thunderbolt/USB-C connection.
  • Connect to a VGA monitor or projector with the VGA Multiport Adapter.

If you have an old MacBook Air (2009-2017), it will either have a Mini DisplayPort or Thunderbolt/Thunderbolt 2 port. You’ll need a different sort of adapter than the ones described above in this scenario. To figure out which type of adapter you’ll need, consult Apple’s handy ports reference.

How Do I Connect My MacBook Air to an External Monitor?

Here’s how to set up your MacBook Air once it’s linked to the external monitor:

  • Select Apple from the drop-down option.
  • Select System Preferences from the drop-down menu.
  • Select Displays.
  • If your external display isn’t listed under the Display tab, hold down the Options key on your keyboard and click Detect Displays in the lower right corner of the window (“Gather Windows” by default). Your MacBook will look for screens that are connected.
  • Click the Structure tab to adjust your display arrangement.
  • Check the Mirror Displays option in the Arrangement tab if you’d want your displays to duplicate the same screen instead.
  • To change the display icons’ orientation, click and drag them to the desired position. The display that is being actively moved will have a red outline around it.
  • Click and drag the white menu bar between displays to choose which screen is the main display.

What Monitor Should I Get for My MacBook Air?

If you’d rather go cordless, there are a couple of alternative ways to connect your MacBook Air to a wireless monitor.

AirPlay allows MacBooks to connect to compatible smart TVs. The setup is similar to connecting other monitors, with the exception that you’ll need to enter a code from your compatible smart TV to finish the process.

To get started, go to System Preferences > Displays and locate the AirPlay Display drop-down menu at the bottom of the window.

If your iPad supports the Sidecar feature and is running iPadOS 13 or later, you can utilize it as an external monitor. This only applies to models that support the Apple Pencil:

  • iPad Pro (all models)
  • iPad Air (3rd generation and newer)
  • iPad (6th generation and newer)
  • iPad mini 5 (and newer)

Your MacBook Air must also be a 2018 model or newer, with macOS Catalina 10.15 or later installed. On both devices, you must be signed into the same iCloud account. More information on how to use your iPad as a second monitor can be found here.

Is it possible to connect my MacBook Air to a computer monitor?

You can connect your MacBook Air to almost any external display—even monitors from an old PC—as long as you have the correct connector. These older monitors usually have a VGA or DVI interface, so make sure you have the appropriate converter for your MacBook Air.