How To Keep A Monitor On When A MacBook Is Closed


Why keep a monitor on when a MacBook is closed?

Having the ability to keep a monitor on when a MacBook is closed can offer several advantages and enhance your workflow. While laptops are portable and convenient, their built-in screens can sometimes feel small, especially when working on complex tasks or multitasking. By connecting an external monitor to your MacBook and keeping it on when the laptop is closed, you can enjoy a larger display without sacrificing mobility.

One of the main benefits of using an external monitor is the increased screen real estate it provides. This extra space allows you to have multiple windows open side by side, making it easier to compare documents, work on different projects simultaneously, or reference information from multiple sources. It can greatly enhance your productivity and efficiency, particularly for tasks like graphic design, coding, video editing, or data analysis where having a larger workspace is crucial.

Moreover, using an external monitor can improve your viewing experience. Many external monitors offer higher resolutions, better color accuracy, and wider viewing angles compared to built-in laptop screens. This means you can enjoy sharper images, more vibrant colors, and reduced eye strain, resulting in a more comfortable and visually pleasing work environment.

Keeping a monitor on when your MacBook is closed also enables you to use your laptop as a secondary device. With the external monitor serving as your primary display, you can utilize your MacBook for other purposes, such as running background tasks, downloading files, or streaming content, without interrupting your workflow on the main screen.

Additionally, connecting an external monitor to your MacBook can be particularly advantageous for extended periods of use. For example, if you’re working from home or in a fixed location, having a dedicated monitor allows you to maintain better posture by positioning the screen at eye level, reducing strain on your neck and back. This can contribute to improved ergonomics and long-term comfort.

Overall, keeping a monitor on when a MacBook is closed offers a range of benefits, including increased productivity, enhanced viewing experience, dual device functionality, and improved ergonomics. With the right setup, you can make the most of your MacBook while enjoying the advantages of a larger and more versatile display.

The benefits of using an external monitor

Using an external monitor with your MacBook brings a host of benefits, revolutionizing your computing experience and enhancing your productivity. Whether you’re a professional designer, a programmer, or simply someone who values a spacious workspace, here are some compelling advantages of using an external monitor:

1. Increased screen real estate: An external monitor provides a larger display area compared to your MacBook’s built-in screen. This extra space allows you to have multiple windows open side by side, making it easier to compare documents, reference information, and multitask efficiently. It’s a game-changer for professionals who handle complex tasks or require ample screen space for creative work.

2. Enhanced multitasking: With an external monitor, you can seamlessly navigate between applications and work on different projects simultaneously. You can dedicate one screen for your primary tasks, while using the other for secondary actions such as monitoring email, managing chat applications, or referencing resources. This streamlines your workflow and boosts your efficiency.

3. Improved visual clarity: Many external monitors offer higher resolutions, enhanced color accuracy, and wider color gamuts. These features result in sharper images, more vibrant colors, and better clarity for graphics, videos, and visual content. Whether you’re editing photos, designing illustrations, or watching movies, an external monitor ensures an immersive visual experience.

4. Reduced eye strain: Working on a small laptop screen for extended periods can lead to eye strain and fatigue. By using an external monitor, you can adjust the display size, positioning, and brightness to create a more ergonomic work environment. This helps minimize eye strain, making your work sessions more comfortable and reducing the risk of long-term eye-related issues.

5. Versatility and flexibility: An external monitor gives you the flexibility to position it at eye level, improving your posture and reducing neck and back strain. Additionally, you can choose a monitor with adjustable stands, and even rotate it vertically for tasks such as coding or reading long documents. This adaptability ensures a personalized and comfortable setup tailored to your specific needs.

6. Collaboration and presentation: When working with colleagues or clients, an external monitor allows for seamless collaboration and presentation. You can easily share your screen during meetings, discussions, or presentations without disrupting your laptop’s primary screen, making it effortless to showcase your work or collaborate in real-time.

Investing in an external monitor for your MacBook opens up a world of possibilities, offering a larger workspace, improved multitasking capabilities, enhanced visual clarity, reduced eye strain, flexibility, and seamless collaboration. It’s a smart decision that can significantly enhance your productivity and overall computing experience.

Choosing the right external monitor for your MacBook

When it comes to selecting the perfect external monitor for your MacBook, there are a few key factors to consider. The right monitor can significantly impact your productivity, visual experience, and overall satisfaction. Here are some factors to keep in mind when making your decision:

1. Compatibility: Ensure that the monitor you choose is compatible with your MacBook’s operating system and connectivity options. Most modern monitors support macOS, but it’s always worth double-checking to avoid any compatibility issues. Additionally, check if the monitor has the necessary ports (such as HDMI, DisplayPort, or Thunderbolt) to connect with your MacBook.

2. Size and resolution: Determine the ideal monitor size and resolution based on your work requirements and desk space. Consider factors such as the amount of content you need to display, the level of detail you require, and your desktop setup. Larger monitors, such as 27 inches or above, can provide a more immersive experience, but be mindful of the available space on your desk.

3. Display quality: Look for monitors with high-quality panels that offer excellent color accuracy, wide viewing angles, and good contrast ratios. Consider factors like IPS or OLED technology, the color gamut coverage, and the maximum brightness the monitor can achieve. This is especially important if you work with color-sensitive tasks such as graphic design, photo editing, or video production.

4. Refresh rate and response time: If you engage in gaming, video editing, or other fast-paced activities, consider monitors with higher refresh rates (such as 120Hz or 144Hz) and lower response times (such as 1ms). These features ensure smooth motion and reduce blurring, providing a more enjoyable and responsive experience.

5. Ergonomics: Pay attention to the monitor’s stand and adjustability options. Look for features like height adjustment, tilt, swivel, and pivot capabilities. These allow you to position the monitor at the optimal viewing angle, reducing strain on your neck, eyes, and back, and promoting better ergonomics during long working hours.

6. Connectivity options: Consider the types and number of ports available on the monitor. Determine if you require additional USB ports for connecting peripherals, or if you need built-in speakers or headphone jacks. Having ample connectivity options ensures seamless integration with your MacBook and allows for easy connectivity with other devices.

7. Budget: Set a budget range before starting your search for an external monitor. Prices can vary greatly depending on the monitor’s size, brand, features, and technology. Consider your needs and prioritize features that are most important to you within your budget range.

By considering these factors, you can make an informed decision while selecting the right external monitor for your MacBook. Remember, finding the perfect monitor that aligns with your workflow, visual requirements, and budget can greatly enhance your overall computing experience.

Connecting your MacBook to an external monitor

Setting up and connecting your MacBook to an external monitor is a straightforward process that allows you to expand your screen real estate and maximize your productivity. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you get started:

1. Check the ports: Identify the ports available on both your MacBook and the external monitor. Common ports include HDMI, DisplayPort, Mini DisplayPort, Thunderbolt, and USB-C. Ensure that you have the necessary cables or adapters to connect the monitor to your MacBook.

2. Power off both devices: Before connecting the monitor, power off your MacBook and the external monitor to avoid any potential damage to the devices or the connections.

3. Connect the cables: Depending on the available ports, connect one end of the cable to the appropriate port on the monitor and the other end to the corresponding port on your MacBook. If your MacBook has a USB-C port, you may need an adapter or a cable that supports video output.

4. Power on the external monitor: After the cables are connected, power on the external monitor. It should automatically detect the MacBook’s video output signal and display the content accordingly. If not, refer to the monitor’s manual for instructions on switching input sources.

5. Adjust display settings: Once the monitor is connected and displaying the MacBook’s screen, you may need to adjust the display settings. Go to the “System Preferences” on your MacBook, click on “Displays,” and customize the resolution, arrangement, and other settings to optimize the external monitor’s output.

6. Arrange the displays: By default, your MacBook will treat the external monitor as an extension of your desktop. You can arrange the displays in various configurations, such as extended desktop, mirrored, or using the external monitor as the primary display. Simply drag and rearrange the displays in the “Arrangement” tab of the “Displays” settings.

7. Test the setup: Once the display settings are configured, ensure that everything is working correctly. Drag windows between the MacBook’s screen and the external monitor to verify seamless movement. Verify that the resolution, color accuracy, and other visual settings are satisfactory on the external monitor.

Remember, if your MacBook goes into sleep mode or is inactive for a certain period, the external monitor may turn off or enter power-saving mode. Check your MacBook’s power settings to prevent it from going to sleep when the lid is closed or when connected to the power source, if desired.

By following these steps, you can successfully connect your MacBook to an external monitor and enjoy the benefits of a larger workspace and improved productivity.

Adjusting the display settings on your MacBook

Once you’ve connected your MacBook to an external monitor, it’s essential to adjust the display settings to ensure optimal visual output and a seamless user experience. Here are some key settings to consider and customize:

1. Resolution: The resolution determines the number of pixels displayed on the screen. To adjust the resolution, go to “System Preferences” on your MacBook, select “Displays,” and navigate to the “Display” tab. From here, you can choose the desired resolution for your external monitor. Higher resolutions offer sharper images and more screen real estate, while lower resolutions may result in larger text and elements.

2. Arrangement: By default, the external monitor is set as an extension of your desktop, providing additional workspace. However, you can rearrange the arrangement of the displays by dragging and dropping them in the “Arrangement” tab of the “Displays” settings. This allows you to set your preferences for which display is the primary screen and the relative positioning of the displays.

3. Color profile: The color profile affects the accuracy and vibrancy of colors displayed on the external monitor. macOS provides a range of color profiles to choose from, or you can create custom profiles. To adjust the color profile, go to “System Preferences,” select “Displays,” and click on the “Color” tab. Here, you can select the desired color profile or calibrate the monitor using the built-in calibration tool.

4. Night Shift: Night Shift is a feature that adjusts the color temperature of your display to reduce eye strain and improve sleep quality in low light conditions. To enable Night Shift, go to “System Preferences,” select “Displays,” and navigate to the “Night Shift” tab. From here, you can customize the schedule and intensity of the color temperature shift to suit your preferences.

5. Accessibility settings: macOS provides various accessibility settings to enhance visibility and accommodate different visual needs. These settings include options to increase contrast, enable grayscale mode, invert colors, and more. To access these settings, go to “System Preferences,” select “Accessibility,” and explore the “Display” and “Display Accommodations” sections.

6. Display sleep: By default, your MacBook’s display may go to sleep if it remains idle for a specific period. To prevent the external monitor from going to sleep when the MacBook lid is closed or when connected to a power source, adjust the power settings. Go to “System Preferences,” select “Energy Saver,” and uncheck the option to “Put hard disks to sleep when possible” and “Allow power nap while on battery power.”

7. Refresh rate: Some external monitors, especially those designed for gaming or graphic-intensive tasks, offer higher refresh rates. To adjust the refresh rate, go to the “Displays” settings and select the monitor. If the option is available, you can change the refresh rate to a higher value, ensuring smoother motion and reduced screen tearing.

These display settings allow you to fine-tune and customize the output of your MacBook when connected to an external monitor. Experiment with these settings to find the perfect balance that suits your preferences, work requirements, and enhances your overall visual experience.

Preventing your MacBook from going to sleep when closed

By default, macOS is designed to put your MacBook to sleep when the lid is closed. However, there may be scenarios where you want to keep your MacBook running and connected to an external monitor even when it is closed. Here are a few methods to prevent your MacBook from going to sleep when closed:

1. Use an external power source: When connected to a power source, your MacBook is less likely to go into sleep mode when the lid is closed. Make sure your MacBook is plugged into a power outlet or a reliable power bank to ensure uninterrupted power supply.

2. Adjust power settings: Customize the power settings on your MacBook to avoid sleep mode when the lid is closed. Go to “System Preferences,” select “Energy Saver,” and uncheck the option that says “Put hard disks to sleep when possible.” This prevents sleep mode when the MacBook is closed and connected to an external monitor.

3. Use an external mouse or keyboard: When an external mouse, keyboard, or any external input device is connected to your MacBook, it will help sustain the awake state even when the lid is closed. Ensure that the input device is connected properly before closing the lid.

4. Utilize a third-party software: There are software applications available that allow you to modify sleep mode settings and prevent your MacBook from sleeping when closed. One such popular software is InsomniaX. It keeps your MacBook awake regardless of the lid position or external monitor connection.

5. Disable lid sleep mode with Terminal: For advanced users, you can disable the sleep mode when the lid is closed using the Terminal application. Open the Terminal, type the following command, and hit Enter: sudo pmset -a lidwake 0 This command will change the lidwake setting to 0, thereby preventing sleep mode when the lid is closed. Note that using Terminal commands should be done with caution, as incorrect commands may cause unintended consequences.

6. Use a laptop stand or cooling pad: Keeping your MacBook on a laptop stand or cooling pad helps with heat dissipation. It prevents your MacBook from overheating, reducing the likelihood of it going to sleep when closed. This is especially useful if you’re using resource-intensive applications or working for extended periods.

Remember, keeping your MacBook awake when closed may result in increased power consumption and potential heat buildup. Ensure that your MacBook is well-ventilated and not placed on soft or uneven surfaces that can block airflow. Additionally, consider the battery life and your power source availability when opting to keep your MacBook running while closed.

By employing these methods, you can prevent your MacBook from going to sleep when the lid is closed, allowing you to continue using your external monitor without interruptions and maximizing your productivity.

Using an external keyboard and mouse with your MacBook

When working with an external monitor, using an external keyboard and mouse can greatly enhance your productivity and comfort. By utilizing these peripherals, you can optimize your workflow and create a more ergonomic setup. Here are some key benefits and tips for using an external keyboard and mouse with your MacBook:

1. Improved typing experience: External keyboards often provide a more tactile and comfortable typing experience compared to the built-in keyboard on your MacBook. You can choose a keyboard with a layout and key travel that aligns with your preferences, whether it’s a compact wireless keyboard or a full-sized mechanical one. This can significantly enhance your typing speed and accuracy.

2. Enhanced navigation precision: Using an external mouse allows for more precise and intuitive cursor control. Whether you opt for a wired or wireless mouse, you’ll experience smoother movements and better tracking on your external monitor. This makes tasks like graphic design, photo editing, or precise selections much easier and more enjoyable.

3. Ergonomic advantages: Using external peripherals enables you to create a more ergonomic setup. You can position the keyboard and mouse at the optimal height and distance, reducing strain on your wrists, neck, and shoulders. Consider using a wrist rest for added comfort during prolonged typing sessions.

4. Customizability and shortcuts: Many external keyboards offer customizable keys and programmable macros, allowing you to tailor them to your specific needs. By assigning shortcuts and macros, you can streamline repetitive tasks and improve your overall efficiency. Take advantage of software like Karabiner-Elements to remap keys and create a personalized keyboard layout.

5. Multi-device compatibility: Some keyboards and mice support Bluetooth connectivity and can seamlessly switch between multiple devices. This means you can easily switch between your MacBook, smartphone, or tablet without the hassle of reconnecting or using separate peripherals. This versatility enhances your workflow across different devices.

6. Reduced clutter: When using an external keyboard and mouse, you free up valuable desk space on your MacBook. This can lead to a cleaner and more organized workspace, providing you with more room to work efficiently and comfortably.

7. Wireless vs. wired: Choose between wireless and wired peripherals based on your preferences and requirements. Wireless options offer increased freedom of movement and a clutter-free workspace, but they require battery management. Wired peripherals, on the other hand, provide a reliable and consistent connection without the need for batteries.

Remember to connect your external keyboard and mouse before connecting the external monitor to your MacBook. This ensures that your MacBook recognizes and configures the peripherals correctly.

By using an external keyboard and mouse with your MacBook, you can enjoy an enhanced typing experience, improved navigation precision, ergonomic advantages, customizability, multi-device compatibility, reduced clutter, and the option to choose between wireless and wired solutions. These peripherals can elevate your productivity and contribute to a more comfortable and efficient workspace.

Tips and tricks for using an external monitor with your MacBook

When using an external monitor with your MacBook, there are a few tips and tricks that can help you maximize your productivity and enhance your overall experience. Here are some valuable suggestions to make the most out of your setup:

1. Arrange your workspace: Organize your external monitor, MacBook, keyboard, and mouse in an ergonomic and functional way. Position the monitor at eye level, create a comfortable distance between yourself and the screen, and ensure that your keyboard and mouse are within easy reach. A well-arranged workspace promotes better posture, reduces strain, and optimizes efficiency.

2. Use virtual desktops: macOS offers a feature called “Spaces” that allows you to create virtual desktops. Utilize this feature to dedicate specific spaces for different tasks or applications. For example, you can have one desktop with your main work applications, another with communication tools, and a third for reference materials. Use gestures or keyboard shortcuts to switch between these virtual desktops seamlessly.

3. Customize your display preferences: Experiment with the display settings to personalize your viewing experience. Adjust the brightness, contrast, and color temperature to suit your preferences and workspace lighting conditions. Consider using tools like Flux or Night Shift to reduce eye strain during different times of the day.

4. Utilize hot corners: macOS allows you to assign specific actions to each corner of your screen, known as “hot corners.” Use this feature to quickly access functions like activating screensavers, launching Mission Control, displaying the desktop, or putting your computer to sleep. Configure the hot corners in the “System Preferences” under “Mission Control” or “Desktop & Screen Saver.”

5. Take advantage of split-screen mode: macOS offers a split-screen mode that allows you to have two applications side by side in full-screen view. To activate this feature, click and hold the green maximize button on any window and drag it to the left or right side of the screen. This is particularly useful when comparing documents, copying information between applications, or working on multiple tasks at once.

6. Use keyboard shortcuts: Familiarize yourself with keyboard shortcuts to navigate your MacBook and external monitor efficiently. Learn common shortcuts like Command+Tab to switch between applications, Command+Space to launch Spotlight search, Command+Shift+3 to capture a screenshot, and Command+Option+Esc to force quit an application. Mastering these shortcuts can save you time and streamline your workflow.

7. Optimize audio settings: If your external monitor includes built-in speakers, make sure that the audio output is set to the desired device. Go to “System Preferences,” select “Sound,” and choose the appropriate output device. You can also adjust the volume and other audio settings from this menu.

8. Maintain software updates: Regularly update macOS and monitor firmware to ensure compatibility, stability, and improved performance. Stay informed about new system updates and monitor firmware releases to take advantage of new features, bug fixes, and security enhancements.

By following these tips and tricks, you can harness the full potential of using an external monitor with your MacBook. Enhance your productivity, streamline your workflow, and create a customized, comfortable, and efficient workspace tailored to your needs.

Troubleshooting common issues with external monitors on MacBooks

While using an external monitor with your MacBook can greatly enhance your productivity, you may encounter certain issues along the way. Fortunately, most of these issues can be resolved with a few troubleshooting steps. Here are some common problems and their potential solutions:

1. Display not detected: If your MacBook is not recognizing the external monitor, check the connections first. Ensure that the cables are securely plugged into both the MacBook and the monitor. If using an adapter, verify that it’s compatible. Try disconnecting and reconnecting the cables to establish a fresh connection. If the problem persists, restart your MacBook, as this can help re-establish the connection.

2. Incorrect resolution: In some cases, the external monitor may not display the optimal resolution automatically. To fix this, go to “System Preferences,” select “Displays,” and navigate to the “Display” tab. Choose the correct resolution from the available options. If the desired resolution is not listed, try updating your macOS to ensure driver compatibility with the monitor.

3. Flickering or blurry display: If the external monitor’s display appears flickering or blurry, first confirm that the cable connections are secure. Check that the refresh rate and resolution settings are appropriate for the monitor. Adjust the brightness and contrast settings if necessary. If the issue persists, try connecting the external monitor to a different port on your MacBook or testing it with another device to isolate the problem.

4. Overscan issues: Overscan may cause the edges of your display to be cut off, resulting in an incomplete visual experience. To address this, go to “System Preferences,” select “Displays,” and navigate to the “Display” tab. Look for an option called “Overscan” or “Underscan.” Adjust this setting until the entire screen is visible, and edges are not cropped. This may vary depending on the monitor and display settings.

5. Display sleep issues: If your MacBook or external monitor goes to sleep even when it’s not supposed to, check the power settings. Go to “System Preferences,” select “Energy Saver,” and ensure that “Put hard disks to sleep when possible” and “Display sleep” options are appropriately configured. Adjust these settings according to your preferences to prevent the monitor from sleeping when you want it to stay awake.

6. Sound output issues: If the sound is not playing through the external monitor’s speakers, check the audio settings. Go to “System Preferences,” select “Sound,” and navigate to the “Output” tab. Ensure that the correct audio output device is selected. If the sound issue persists, try unplugging and reconnecting the audio cable or restarting your MacBook.

7. External monitor freezing or intermittent connectivity: If the external monitor experiences freezing or intermittent connectivity, try resetting the NVRAM (non-volatile random-access memory) and SMC (System Management Controller) on your MacBook. These resets can help resolve various hardware-related issues. Instructions on how to perform these resets can be found on Apple’s support website.

If your issues persist, consider consulting the manufacturer’s documentation or contacting their support for further assistance. Additionally, ensure that your MacBook’s operating system is up to date, as updates often include bug fixes and improvements that can address common issues with external monitors.

By following these troubleshooting steps, you can overcome common issues and enjoy a seamless experience when using an external monitor with your MacBook.