How To Connect Your MacBook To A 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.

USB C Hub HDMI Adapter for MacBook Pro 2019/2018/2017, MOKiN 5 in 1 Dongle USB-C to HDMI, Sd/TF Card Reader and 2 Ports USB 3.0 (Space Gray)
  • Usb-c hub (5-in-1): extend one 4K UHD HDMI port, two Supper speed USB 3.0 Ports, one SD Memory Card slot and one TF memory card slot from one USB-C/Thunderbolt 3/ Type C port
  • 4K video USB-C to HDMI Adapter: mirror or extend your screen with USB C hub HDMI port and directly stream 4K UHD @ 30Hz or full HD 1080P video to HDTV, monitor or projector
  • Super speed USB 3.0 ports(at full-speed): allow you to connect keyboard, Mouse, hard drive, etc to MacBook Pro, up to 5Gbps data transmission speed, down compatible with USB A 2.0 and below. Because...
  • Convenient USB-C to card reader for USB-C/Type-C/Thunderbolt 3 devices to access files from SD/TF card reader, perfect for photographer or designer, etc
  • Aluminiun case design(space Gray), perfect for new laptops with USB-C port, such as 2017 MacBook Pro, 2015/2016 retain 12 inch MacBook, Dell XPS 13, HP spetre x2, etc.

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.

Amazon Basics High-Speed HDMI Cable (18 Gbps, 4K/60Hz) - 6 Feet, Pack of 3, Black
  • HDMI A Male to A Male Cable: Supports Ethernet, 3D, 4K video and Audio Return Channel (ARC)
  • Connects Blu-ray players, Fire TV, Apple TV, PS4, PS3, XBox One, Xbox 360, computers, and other HDMI-enabled devices to TVs, displays, A/V receivers, and more
  • Cable allows you to share an Internet connection among multiple devices without the need for a separate Ethernet cable
  • Meets HDMI standards (4K Video at 60 Hz, 2160p, 48 bit/px color depth) that supports bandwidth up to 18Gbps and backwards compatible with earlier versions.
  • Cable Length: 6 feet (1.8 meters); Pack of 3

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.

LENTION 6FT USB C to HDMI 2.0 Cable Adapter (4K/60Hz) Compatible 2021-2016 MacBook Pro, New iPad/Surface/Mac Air, Samsung S21/S20/S10, Note 21/20/10, Stable Driver Certified (CB-CU707-2M, Sliver)
  • USB-C to HDMI - Max resolution output is 4K (4096x2160)@60Hz, delivering ultra high definition videos and images to the external display devices, up to 60Hz refresh rates, without blur, distortion and...
  • Ingenious Non-slip Design - User-friendly non-slip connector for easier plug and unplug. Compatible with Apple 2016/2017/2018/2019/2020/2021 MacBook Pro 13/15/16 (Thunderbolt 3), New MacBook...
  • Both Video and Audio - Ideal solution to connect your USB Type C devices, driving one or two HDMI enabled televisions, monitors or projectors for both video and audio transfer. Streaming your favorite...
  • Plug and Play - No driver / software required. Support the mirror and extend mode of Mac, Windows, Chrome and Linux OS. Compatible with New iPad Pro 11/12.9 (Desktop Extended Mode may be possible when...
  • Stable Driver 3.0 Certified - LENTION published the advanced Stable Driver 3.0 standard to help customers buy with confidence. The standard included 3 main features: Non-Interference between connected...

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.

Mini DisplayPort to HDMI Cable, Benfei Mini DP to HDMI 6 Feet Cable (Thunderbolt Compatible) with MacBook Air/Pro, Surface Pro/Dock, Monitor, Projector
  • EXCELLENT TRANSMISSION: Benfei Mini DisplayPort to HDMI 6 Feet Cable utilizes better chip solution and professional multiple shielding for instaneous and accurate data streaming. [NOT Thunderbolt 3...
  • SUPERIOR STABILITY: 24K gold-plated pure copper connectors guarantee stable transmission so as to provide superb quality audio and video (AV).
  • UNIVERSAL COMPATIBILITY: Compatible with Apple MacBook, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, iMac, Mac mini, Mac Pro; Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Pro 3, Pro 2, Surfacebook (NOT Surface for Windows RT); Lenovo...
  • INCREDIBLE DURABILITY: 15,000+ bend lifespan provides you with a heavy-duty Thunderbolt to HDMI Adapter. Ideal for Apple MacBook Air, Apple MacBook Pro, Microsoft Surface Pro, iMac, Surface Book,...
  • [18 MONTH WARRANTY]: Exclusive Benfei Unconditional 18-month Warranty ensures long-time satisfaction of your purchase; Friendly and easy-to-reach customer service to solve your problems timely


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.


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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.