How To Connect Your MacBook To A TV


connect-mac-to-tv

With record numbers of people canceling their cable television subscriptions, it's increasingly making sense to simply connect your laptop to your TV and watch movies and TV programs this way. Read on for all you need to know about connecting your MacBook to your TV.

First, you will need to determine if your TV has an HDMI input. Most TVs that were made since the mid-2000s have at least one port, so have a look at the back and see if you can find out.

This here shows a TV with two HDMI ports on the back. If your TV has one HDMI, don't be confused, one port is all we need.

How to connect macbook to TV

You will now have to find out which video port you have on your Mac so that you can get the right cable/dongle. Unless the computer is ancient, it will have either an HDMI port, a USB-type C port, a Thunderbolt port, or a MiniDisplay port. Check out the illustrations below to see which one your Mac has and to find out what cable you'll need.

Retina MacBook Pro (2016 onwards)

The latest Macbook Pros do not have an HDMI cable at all. You just have 4 x USB-C ports. We recommend that you get a dongle that doubles as a hub for USD, ethernet, HDMI, and other functions too. This is one that we can personally recommend.

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Retina MacBook Pro (before 2016)

How to watch TV on macbook pro

The Retina MacBook Pros have an HDMI port, which is located on the right-hand side of the computer, as per the picture above. If your Mac has an HDMI port, you will need an HDMI cable, which is common and can be purchased at any electronics store or here via Amazon.

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Retina MacBook

Connect macbook to TV

The Retina MacBook only has one port, the USB-type C port, on the left-hand side of the computer. This port functions as video-out, so you will need an HDMI to USB-C adapter as well as a USB cable to connect a Retina MacBook to your TV. The correct adapter can be purchased here via Amazon.

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MacBook Air or non-retina MacBook Pro

Connect macbook to TV

If you have a MacBook Air or a non-retina MacBook Pro made after 2008, then the computer will have either a Thunderbolt port or a Mini DisplayPort, as seen in the picture above. For both of these ports, the adapter from Amazon here.

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Installation

Once you have obtained an HDMI cable and adapter, all you need to do is plug it into your TV and select the correct input on the TV for the port that it is plugged into. By default, your display should show up on the TV screen, and you can go into the display part of the system preferences to toggle mirroring and change the arrangement of the TV screen and your MacBook screen (see below).

Connect TV to macbook

Mike Roberts

Hi, my name is Mike and I made this site to document all the helpful tips and tricks that I've discovered using various Apple Macs and other Apple products over the years, as well as to provide more general guides in relation to using the internet. I've been obsessed with Apple products ever since I could afford my first iPod, and am somewhat of a fanboy (you might have guessed). For me, the simply work without any fuss, issues or errors. I can rely on their products. The build quality is excellent and I even have several, several-year-old Macbooks in my wardrobe that are still humming along fine (just a bit slower). You can contact me personally using the form on this page.

3 Comments

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  1. Thanks for the info. I was a bit confused to see the lack of ports on the MacBook. I’ll have to invest in one of those dongles then although I’d like a few extra USB ports and maybe a micro SD slot. I’m also wondering if it’s possible to do this wirelessly, I do have a smart TV so it probably is.

  2. Ah, I see! I was wondering what I should do to connect to my TV with only USB-C ports. I believe my TV runs at way higher than 30Hz though so I’ll need a different adapter. Is it even possible to get 4K, 120Hz using a dongle? Maybe one with a display port instead of HDMI would be better suited for me.

  3. Hi I have a 2012 MacBook. It keeps shutting down then I have to disconnect the battery. And then reconnect and it will boot up .
    Now that won't work anymore .
    Any idea what the problem can be..the battery is good and it's showing a charge.
    Also thanks for your post. Very informative.
    Dave