Mac os x external monitor resolution


5 thoughts on “How to Set Custom Resolutions for External Displays in Mac OS X”

Anthony Bouchard on March 19, Many people use external displays with their Mac , either to mirror their display to a larger screen, or to expand their screen area for additional productivity. As good as this sounds, sometimes problems can occur with external display that will require attention to get fixed. With a gist of some of the things that could have gone wrong, do any of these sound familiar to you? If so, follow along as we talk about some potential fixes to these issues. It can also mean that there is a power issue, that the brightness is too low, or something else.

Is the display supported? For many 4K displays, you need to be using a Mac with a graphics card powerful enough to push that many pixels. The general rule of thumb is that most modern Macs manufactured after will support such a high resolution but not all of them. Apple has an online support document that lists all of the Macs that are compatible with 4K displays. Is your brightness turned all the way down? Silly me — I just forgot to turn the brightness back up. If you live where Earthquakes are common, or you have rambunctious kids running around all the time, plugs are destined to work their way out of their sockets.

Modifier Keys Are Nothing New to macOS

One of the things Apple recommends you try if you are using an Apple notebook, such as a MacBook, MacBook Air, or MacBook Pro is to connect the power adapter to give it additional power. A loose connection will keep a proper electrical connection from occurring and can cause issues with your external display. Apple has implemented quite a few different port types over the years, and your iMac or MacBook might feature any of the following. Note: You can buy adapters from a number of third parties, and they may well be cheaper than Apple's offerings. However, it appears that since Apple unleashed macOS Sierra some of these third-party adapters may no longer work.

Mini DisplayPort was announced by Apple towards the end of This is what Mini DisplayPort looks like. The Thunderbolt port, first introduced in , looks the same as Mini DisplayPort and is backwards-compatible. If you see a thunderbolt symbol besides what looks like a Mini DisplayPort, your Mac has a Thunderbolt port. In Apple introduced Thunderbolt 2, which is faster than Thunderbolt 1, but the port is the same.

From around the end of Apple started equipping its higher-end systems with Thunderbolt 3, which connects devices to your computer at up to 40Gbps. The connection looks the same as USB-C. VGA connectors transmit analogue signals.

Use 4K displays, 5K displays, and Ultra HD TVs with your Mac

This conversion from digital to analog and back again can cause degradation of video quality. VGA will carry HD video but only analogue audio. There is also a long pin which may be surrounded by four other pins which are required for audio in older models. HDMI 2. You can resolve many display issues by updating the software on your Apple devices, cables, and adapters. If you can see an image on your screen, check for software updates using the Mac App Store:.

If you're using a display, hub, extender, or adapter not made by Apple, check with the manufacturer for any updates that might be available. If you're trying to connect a 4K display or Ultra HD TV with your Mac, make sure your computer meets the requirements for using these external displays.

If your software and firmware are up to date, or if you can't see the image on your screen, try the steps below for your specific issue. Try these steps if you don't see an image on your display.

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External Display shows Black screen with macOS Catalina and other issues? Check these tips

These steps can also help if the image on your screen repeatedly turns on and off flickers , if horizontal lines appear snow , or if the image is distorted torn or scrambled. These steps likely won't help if the issue is only happening in one app. If you see similar issues in only one window or app, check with the app's developer for updates or more help.

Make sure the external display's power cable is securely connected and that your display is turned on.

Single-stream transport (SST) displays

If you're using a display hub, switchbox, or "KVM," try connecting your display's video cable directly to your Mac instead. Disconnect the video cable where it plugs into your Mac, then plug it back in to reseat the connection.

If you're using a video adapter, unplug the video adapter from your Mac, then plug it back in to reseat the connection. If you're using more than one video adapter to connect your display the adapters are "chained" together , try connecting the display using only one adapter if possible. Some video adapters can't be connected together.


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If your display has more than one video connection, see if using another connection on the display works. If possible, check to see if using a different display or a different adapter works. Try using a different cable that you know is in working order. Check with the display's manufacturer to make sure you're using the cable they recommend.

If you're using an external display, sleep and wake your Mac to make it check for connected displays:. Wait a few moments, then press a key on your keyboard or click your mouse or trackpad to wake your Mac. If there's still no image, or the image appears torn or scrambled, try selecting a different video resolution in System Preferences. If you're using an Apple Display, press the increase brightness key F2 key image on your Apple keyboard.

To adjust the brightness of a secondary display, press Control-F2. If you're using a display that's not made by Apple, check the documentation that came with your display to see if it includes built-in controls for adjusting its brightness or contrast. Make sure your display resolution in System Preferences is set to its default.

If you're using a resolution that's scaled, the image might be magnified to fit the display. You can opt-out at any time. I agree to the terms of service. Signed in as Sign out.

External display issues on your Mac? Try these steps

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