How Many Monitors Can a MacBook Pro Support

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The newest MacBook Pros can handle four monitors at 4k resolution or two monitors at 5k resolution. But, depending on your specific model, it might be less. And if you use external hardware and/or AirPlay, you might be able to add more than four monitors. 

I’m Jon, your resident MacBook Pro expert, and owner of a 2019 MacBook Pro. The most external monitor I’ve connected to my MacBook Pro is five. And I put together this guide to help you find out how many you can connect to yours. 

So, let’s dive right in. 

How Many Monitors Can Your MacBook Pro Support?

The exact number of monitors your MacBook Pro can support depends on the model and year

Apple’s most recent MacBook Pro can support up to four external displays at 4k resolution or two monitors at 5k resolution. This is impressive and a nice feature if you need multiple monitors.

If you have an older MacBook Pro, you might not be able to support quite as many monitors as the newer models. It’s easy to check the capabilities of your computer from the Apple website.

First, you need to get your computer’s serial number. 

You can find it on the backside of your computer or by going to the About This Mac tab in the Apple menu on the top-left corner of your screen. 

Once you copy the serial number from About This Mac, go to Apple’s tech specs page, paste in it the search bar, and press return. Next, click on your MacBook in the search results and scroll down to “Video Support.” This specification will tell you how many displays your MacBook Pro can support. 

For example, Apple says my 2019 16-inch MacBook Pro can support “Up to four displays with 4096-by-2304 resolution at 60Hz at over a billion colors.” 

And that’s exactly how many monitors I use with my MacBook Pro most days, but sometimes I add a fifth one using AirPlay, bringing my total screens to six (including the built-in retina display).

How to Use Multiple Monitors with Your MacBook Pro

If you want to use multiple monitors with your MacBook Pro, it’s pretty easy to get things set up for this and working.

You can use an extra display to mirror the image on your main screen or set things up as extended desktop mode to have different workspaces on different displays.

First things first, you should check your requirements on your computer and external displays to make sure you have the right cables to make the connection.

If you don’t, you might need to get an adapter or a specific cord to connect your MacBook Pro to multiple displays. 

After you have the right cords and are sure that your MacBook can support the extra displays you want, follow these next steps to get everything to work:

For Screen Mirroring:

  1. Connect your computer to the extra monitor or monitors.
  2. Go to the Apple menu in the top-left corner of your screen.
  3. Click on System Preferences.
  4. Click on Displays.
  5. Click on the Arrangement tab.
  6. Click on the Mirror Displays checkbox.

For Extended Desktop:

  1. Connect your computer to the extra monitor or monitors.
  2. Go to the Apple menu in the top-left corner of your screen.
  3. Click on System Preferences.
  4. Click on Displays.
  5. Click on the Arrangement tab.
  6. Make sure the Mirror Displays checkbox is not checked.
  7. Arrange your multiple displays however you want them to be arranged.

Why Use Additional Monitors?

External monitors can be helpful in various situations and are a nice feature of your MacBook Pro.

One common reason to use an extra monitor is the extra screen real estate. Multiple displays help you be more productive in your job and hobbies. I use five displays with my MacBook Pro (four external plus the built-in display) because it improves my workflow and helps me stay on task. 

Multiple monitors also help with applications that can use multiple screens to your advantage. 

For example, if you do a lot of audio production work with Logic Pro X, you can use multiple screens to improve workflow and productivity. Using one screen set up as the main mixer for audio and another with external plugins or other tools that aid in the recording can streamline the work.

Similarly, if you edit videos and photos, multiple displays can help you get your work done. 

While it is possible to use a single display that’s built into your MacBook Pro, using multiple screens can benefit you in both a professional and creative capacity.

Final Thoughts

You can use up to four external displays with your MacBook Pro. But if you have an older model, it may support less. Check Apple’s specification for your model to verify. 

Adding extra displays to your MacBook Pro can improve workflow and make you more efficient. 

How many monitors do you use with your MacBook Pro? 

About Jonathon Jachura
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Jonathon is a mechanical engineer with over ten years of experience. He is an Apple fan who currently holds a Macbook Pro (512 GB, 16GB RAM), iPad Pro 12.9", iPhone 11 Pro Max, Apple Watch 3, and 4x Acer 23" monitors.

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  • Avatar

    Orrin

    I have a 2019 16-inch MBP Intel I7 w/16GB DDR4 and I have six (6) external 24″ monitors connected to it.

    Four (4) monitors connected via a 4-port USB-C to USB-A hub connected to four (4) StarTech.com DisplayLink USB-A to HDMI/DVI/VGA adapters and the other two (2) monitors using USB-C to HDMI adapters.

    It actually all works great except that sometimes, depending on what I display on each of the external monitors, the computer lags pretty bad sometimes. Activity Monitor shows the WindowsServer process name eating the majority of the CPU. I have this setup for work purposes.

    Reply
  • Avatar

    Brian

    I have a 2020 MBP (Intel) i7 and I can’t connect more than 2 monitors. I’ve got a 1440p ultrawide, a 4K, and a 1080p monitor and I can’t connect all 3.

    Reply
  • Avatar

    Ben

    I just got a MacBook Pro for my birthday. I purchased a usbc hub that has 2 hdmi ports to go to 2 different screens. When I plug them both in it only projects to 1 of my monitors. Both are connected and if I unplug the one it projects to it goes to the other one. So it’s only allowing me to extend to one monitor. Can anyone help? Sorry I’m new to this apple scene

    Reply
  • Avatar

    JP Vicedo

    Will my Macbook Pro 15 (2016) with Touchbar handle 2 4k monitors?

    Reply
  • Avatar

    Daniel

    I’ve got a MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2019) running Catalina 10.15.3 (cant upgrade OS since its a work laptop) and 3 external monitors. All 3 external monitors are connected and working fine.

    All external monitors are connect via a HyperDrive GEN2 USB-C Hub 18-in-1. In particular the HyperDrive has 2 HDMI ports and 1 VGA port (all of which I am using). The HyperDrive is connected to my Mac via a USB-C port.

    My MacBook has 4 x USB-C ports and seemingly no other ports.

    I want to extend the display to all 3 monitors (like I can on Windows).

    When I choose to extend the displays via … System Preferences > Displays > Arrangement tab and then uncheck “Mirror Displays” … It extends the display on the laptop monitor to the 3 external monitors, however, the display on the 3 external monitors duplicates/mirrors the display on the other external monitors (but not the laptop monitor).

    I don’t want any of the displays to be duplicated! Is this possible on Mac out the box or is there any software to support this?

    I read here … https://hypershop.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/360044788432-Does-the-12-or-18-port-allow-me-to-display-multiple-monitors- … that:

    “Mac OS only supports Single Stream Transport (SST) meaning it can only support one extended display over a single USB-C connection. The 2nd display will a mirror of the 1st display.

    Windows OS supports Multi-Stream Transport (MST) on supported computers and can support 3 extended displays over a single USB-C connection.”

    So I’m starting to lose hope that I can achieve what I want on my Mac which is 4 extended displays (including the laptop monitor). Any thoughts or help on this? many thx

    As a bonus question, if there’s no solution with my current setup, would connecting multiple monitors over multiple USB-C ports allow me to achieve my goal?

    As a second bonus related question (but of less immediate importance to me), is it possible to connect a monitor directly to a USB-C port or is a HyperDrive always needed? thx again

    Reply
    • Avatar

      Jason Murray

      Yes, connecting multiple monitors over multiple USB-C ports allow me to achieve your goal. I currently have 3 monitors running on my macbook pro.

      Reply
    • Avatar

      Moss Palmer

      You don’t need a hyper drive. Just get a USB-C to HDMI adapter to plug each extra monitor into. If you need to power through one of the ports or want additional USB ports get any USB hub that has power pass thru (check the rated wattage to ensure it covers what you need) and the ports that you need alongside a HDMI port.

      Reply
  • Avatar

    spectraphonic

    i meant be better apple

    Reply
  • Avatar

    spectraphonic

    i need more than 4 4k or 2 6k or 5k or whatever…..

    so better apple

    Reply
  • Avatar

    Dan Osle

    I have used additional monitors with my mac pro. the extra real estate comes in very handy when developing documents and doing cutting and pasting from one document to another. It easily cuts down my development time in half.

    Reply