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How To Connect Two Monitors To Your MacBook Pro

If you’ve ever found yourself constantly switching between tabs and applications on your MacBook Pro, you’re likely aware of how limiting a single screen can be. A dual-monitor setup could be the solution you’re looking for.

To connect two monitors to your MacBook Pro, identify the ports on both your laptop and monitors—these could be HDMI, USB-C, or Thunderbolt. Connect the first monitor to your MacBook using the appropriate cable.

If your monitors have a ‘DisplayPort Out’ or ‘Thunderbolt 3’ port, use a second cable to connect the first monitor to the second. Navigate to System Preferences > Displays > Arrangement on your MacBook to configure the display settings. Test the setup to ensure both monitors are functioning correctly.

Ready to unlock the full potential of your MacBook Pro with a dual-monitor setup? Keep reading to discover the step-by-step guide that will transform your digital workspace.

Why You Need Two Monitors

The advantages of a dual-monitor setup are manifold. For gamers, it means a more immersive experience. Coders can have their code on one screen and the output or documentation on another.

Video editors can extend their timelines across the extra space, and multitaskers can have multiple applications open without the need to toggle between tabs constantly.

Pre-requisites: What You Need

Before you jump into connecting those extra screens, let’s make sure you have all the hardware and software requirements in place.


  • MacBook Pro: Ensure it’s a model that supports multiple external displays.
  • Monitors: Two external displays that are compatible with your MacBook Pro.
  • Cables: Depending on your MacBook’s ports, you’ll need HDMI, USB-C, or Thunderbolt cables.
  • Adapters: If your MacBook and monitor ports don’t match, adapters will be necessary.


  • macOS: Make sure your operating system is up-to-date to avoid compatibility issues.
  • Driver Software: Some monitors require specific drivers; check the manufacturer’s website.


  • Docking Station: For a cleaner setup, a docking station can consolidate your connections.
  • Monitor Stand: To elevate the monitors to eye level and save desk space.

By ensuring you have all these elements, you’re setting yourself up for a smooth and hassle-free dual-monitor installation.

Methods for Connecting Two Monitors to a MacBook Pro

1. Using a Docking Station

A docking station is a hardware device that allows you to connect multiple peripherals, including monitors, to your MacBook Pro through a single connection point. Docking stations often come with a variety of ports, such as HDMI, DisplayPort, USB, and Ethernet.

Advantages of Using a Docking Station

  • Simplified Cable Management: One connection to your MacBook Pro eliminates the need for multiple cables.
  • Additional Ports: Gain extra ports for other peripherals like external hard drives, mice, or keyboards.
  • Ease of Use: Quick and easy to set up and disconnect, making it ideal for those who frequently move between workspaces.

Step-by-Step Guide to Using a Docking Station

Preparing for Setup

  1. Identify the Types of Ports: Check the ports on your MacBook Pro and monitors to determine compatibility with the docking station.
  2. Gather Necessary Cables and Adapters: Ensure you have the right cables and adapters for your monitors.

Setting Up the Docking Station

  1. Connect the Dock: Use a Thunderbolt or USB-C cable to connect the docking station to your MacBook Pro.
  2. Power Up: Make sure the docking station is connected to a power source if required.
  3. Attach the Monitors: Use HDMI, DisplayPort, or USB-C cables to connect your monitors to the docking station.

Configuring Your Monitors

  1. Go to System Preferences: Open the Apple menu and navigate to System Preferences > Displays.
  2. Adjust Settings: You’ll see options for each connected monitor. Configure the resolution, arrangement, and other settings as needed.

Potential Pitfalls and Solutions

  • Limited Resolution: Some docking stations may not support 4K or higher resolutions for multiple monitors.
  • Compatibility Issues: Not all docking stations are compatible with every MacBook Pro model. Always check for compatibility before purchasing.
  • Cost: High-quality docking stations can be expensive. Weigh the cost against the benefits and your specific needs.

2. Using Daisy Chain

What is Daisy Chaining?

Daisy chaining is a method of connecting multiple devices in a series, allowing you to extend your desktop across multiple monitors using a single video output. This method is particularly useful for setups where cable management and simplicity are key.

Advantages of Daisy Chaining

  • Reduced Cable Clutter: Only one cable is needed from the MacBook Pro to the first monitor.
  • Simplified Setup: Easier to manage than multiple cables and adapters.
  • Scalability: Easy to add more monitors to the chain, depending on the capabilities of your hardware.

Step-by-Step Guide to Daisy Chaining

Preparing for Setup

  1. Check Monitor Compatibility: Ensure your monitors and MacBook Pro support daisy chaining via DisplayPort 1.2 or Thunderbolt 3.
  2. Gather Required Cables: Typically, you’ll need DisplayPort or Thunderbolt 3 cables.

Setting Up the Daisy Chain

  1. Connect the First Monitor: Attach the first monitor to your MacBook Pro using a DisplayPort 1.2 or Thunderbolt 3 cable.
  2. Link the Second Monitor: Connect the second monitor to the first monitor’s DisplayPort Out or Thunderbolt 3 port using another appropriate cable.
  3. Power On: Turn on both monitors and ensure they are receiving a signal.

Configuring Your Monitors

  1. Navigate to System Preferences: Open System Preferences > Displays from the Apple menu.
  2. Adjust Settings: Both monitors should be listed. Configure the resolution, arrangement, and other settings for each monitor.

Potential Pitfalls and Solutions

  • Limited Support: Not all monitors support daisy chaining. Always check the user manual for compatibility.
  • Bandwidth Limitations: The quality of the display may degrade if you exceed the bandwidth limitations of your cables or ports.
  • Software Restrictions: Some older versions of macOS may not fully support daisy chaining. Ensure your system is up-to-date.


Even the best-laid plans can encounter hiccups. Here’s how to troubleshoot some common issues:

Subsection: Software Issues

If your monitors aren’t being detected, try restarting your MacBook Pro. Make sure your software is updated, and check if the monitor requires specific drivers. Sometimes, resetting the NVRAM can resolve display issues.

Subsection: Hardware Issues

Check all your connections to ensure they’re secure. If you’re still facing issues, try connecting one monitor at a time to isolate the problem. It could be a faulty cable or adapter causing the issue.

Additional Tips and Tricks

Once you’ve successfully set up your dual monitors, there are several ways to optimize your new workspace:

  • Display Arrangement: Use macOS features like Mission Control or Spaces to organize your applications.
  • Keyboard Shortcuts: Learn shortcuts like Cmd + Tab for quick app switching or Cmd + Arrow for moving apps between monitors.
  • Screen Calibration: Adjust the color and brightness settings on your monitors for a consistent visual experience.
  • Cable Management: Use cable organizers or clips to keep your workspace neat and clutter-free.

These pro tips will help you get the most out of your dual-monitor setup.

3. Using DisplayLink Manager

What is DisplayLink Manager?

DisplayLink Manager is a software solution that allows you to connect multiple monitors to your MacBook Pro via USB. It uses a compression algorithm to transmit the video signal, which is then decompressed and displayed on the monitor.

Advantages of DisplayLink Manager

  • USB Connectivity: Enables the use of USB ports for video output, expanding your options.
  • Software Flexibility: Ideal for setups where hardware-based solutions are not feasible.
  • Multiple Monitor Support: Can support more than two monitors depending on the software and hardware capabilities.

Step-by-Step Guide to Using DisplayLink Manager

Preparing for Setup

  1. System Requirements: Ensure your MacBook Pro is running macOS 10.15 or later.
  2. Monitor Requirements: Monitors should have USB or HDMI ports.
  3. Get a DisplayLink Adapter: Purchase a compatible DisplayLink adapter like the Plugable UD-6950H or the Dell D6000.

Setting Up DisplayLink Manager

  1. Install the Software: Download and install the DisplayLink Manager app from the Mac App Store.
  2. Connect the Adapter: Attach the DisplayLink adapter to your MacBook Pro using a USB-C cable.
  3. Attach Monitors: Connect the monitors to the DisplayLink adapter using HDMI or USB cables.
  4. Power On: Turn on both monitors and ensure they are receiving a signal.

Configuring Your Monitors

  1. Open DisplayLink Manager: Launch the app and follow the on-screen instructions.
  2. Adjust Settings: Both monitors should appear in the app. Configure the resolution, arrangement, and other settings for each monitor.

Potential Pitfalls and Solutions

  • Display Lag: Using DisplayLink Manager may introduce a slight delay or lag, especially in graphics-intensive tasks.
  • Compatibility Issues: Not all monitors or adapters are supported. Check the compatibility list on the DisplayLink website.
  • CPU Load: The software-based solution may consume more CPU resources, affecting system performance.

Docking Stations vs. Daisy Chain vs. DisplayLink

When it comes to connecting multiple monitors to a MacBook Pro, Docking Stations, Daisy Chain, and DisplayLink Manager each offer distinct advantages and limitations. Docking Stations are the go-to for a simplified, clutter-free setup, providing additional ports for various peripherals.

However, they can be costly and may not support higher resolutions for all monitors. Daisy Chain excels in reducing cable clutter and offers a streamlined setup, but it requires compatible hardware and may have bandwidth limitations.

DisplayLink Manager, on the other hand, provides the most flexibility, allowing USB-based connections. While it’s versatile, it may introduce display lag and consume more CPU resources.

Wrapping Up

You’ve successfully set up a dual-monitor arrangement with your MacBook Pro. To keep everything running smoothly, regularly update your macOS and any monitor-specific drivers. Use macOS features like Mission Control to manage your applications across screens efficiently.

If you encounter any display issues, remember to check your cable connections and consider resetting the NVRAM as a troubleshooting step. Make the most of keyboard shortcuts for quick app switching and screen navigation.

Your new setup is more than just extra screen space; it’s an opportunity to optimize your workflow and boost your productivity. If all failed contact a MAC repair service.