MacBook Pro Dual Monitor Setup – Overview
People opt for a dual monitor setup for various reasons. Some are heavy gamers, professional designers, sound engineers, or just someone who wants a different way to boost their productivity.
You might even want a dual monitor setup because it looks cool.
Connecting a laptop to dual displays was never a big problem, but this wasn’t the case for MacBook Air and MacBook Pro users.
In fact, until recently, it was a lot of hassle to connect another monitor or two to a MacBook Pro.
Fortunately, Apple has done a lot on their side to fix this issue, such as adding ports and providing several adapters so that you can connect two monitors.
The trick with connecting the MacBook Pro to dual monitors is finding the right adapter.
Once you have this part covered, you can have your dual monitor setup running in a very short time. Let’s look at what you need for this setup and how to establish the actual setup.
How Do I Know Which Displays Are Compatible with My MacBook Pro?
Prior to deciding that you want a dual monitor setup for your MacBook Pro, ensure that it can handle the resolution of the monitors you have or want.
Most MacBook Pros can connect and work with 1080p external monitors, but you might struggle if you have higher resolutions.
So to find out the exact resolution that your MacBook Pro can handle, you’ll need to confirm its technical specs on Apple’s website. The process is relatively easy and is as follows:
- Start by opening Apple’s website on your MacBook Pro
- Next, enter the model and year of your Mac into the search bar and click ‘Enter.’
- A page with search results will appear; click on ‘Support.’
- Find and click your MacBook Pro’s listing in the search results.
- Finally, scroll down to the ‘Video Support’ section and look for the ‘dual display and video mirroring’ specification. In this instance, we are checking the specifications for the 13-inch 2020 MacBook Pro. As you can see, the native resolution is 2560 x 1600 pixels.
- Scroll down further; you’ll see that this MacBook Pro can support one external 5K (5120 x 2880) monitor or two 4K (2096 x 2034) monitors. So if you have HD (720p), Full HD (1080p), or 4K (2160p) monitors, you should be okay.
The Setup Process
Once you’ve gotten two monitors, verified that your MacBook Pro can connect to them by checking Apple’s website, and gotten the necessary adapters or cables, you’re ready to establish the dual monitor setup. To do this, follow these simple steps.
- Start by connecting the displays to your Mac using the adapters if necessary.
- Next, position the displays and MacBook where you want them on your desk.
- Then switch on your MacBook Pro. It will automatically detect and connect to both displays, although the settings might be a bit off. If both displays don’t turn on with your MacBook, you’ll need to switch them on manually.
- Next, click on the Apple logo in the upper-left corner of your screen.
- Then click on ‘System Preferences’ in the drop-down menu.
- Next, click on ‘Displays.’
- Click on ‘Arrangement.’ If the ‘Mirror Displays’ option is checked, your two displays and your MacBook’s screen will show the same thing all the time.
- So you can check this box if you want different things on your monitors.
- Now you’ll see a diagram showing the arrangement of your monitors. If you feel the arrangement is not okay, look for the secondary display icon. If you’re satisfied with the display arrangement, skip the next two steps.
- Next, click and drag your monitors to the correct positions.
- Release your mouse, and your monitors will drop into your chosen positions.
- Now your setup is ready to use, but you might need to make changes to your external monitors. You can click ‘Scaled’ if the images on the external monitors look discolored, squashed, stretched, washed, or anything else.
- Next, click on the correct resolution for your monitors. For best results, use the native display of both monitors. However, keep in mind that the resolution needs to be equal to or lower than what your MacBook Pro can handle.
- Finally, if both monitors look great, exit settings and start enjoying your setup.
Note: To get the best results on your MacBook Pro dual monitor setup, confirm the native resolution of both monitors and use that on both monitors. However, if the native resolution is higher than that of your MacBook Pro, you need to lower it.
Now that you know how to connect two monitors to your MacBook Pro and boost your productivity, you just need to be cautious when shopping for adapters for your setup. It can be frustrating at first, but with patience, you’ll have your setup up and running in no time.