How to Connect MacBook Pro to TV

To connect your MacBook Pro to a TV, connect an HDMI cable between the devices and configure some display settings. Or you can use AirPlay if you have a smart TV. If your MacBook Pro doesn’t have an HDMI, you will need a USB-C to HDMI adapter. 

I’m Jon, a MacBook Pro expert, and owner of a 2019 16-inch model. I connect my MacBook Pro to TVs all the time and put together this guide to show you how. 

So, keep reading to learn how to connect your MacBook Pro to your TV. 

How to Connect MacBook Pro to TV with HDMI

When connecting your MacBook Pro to a TV, the first step is to determine what type of video output it has. Over the years, Apple laptops have had six different types of these outputs:

  • USB ports
  • Thunderbolt 2 ports
  • Thunderbolt 3 ports
  • HDMI ports
  • Mini Display ports
  • Micro DVI ports

If your MacBook doesn’t have an HDMI port, don’t worry. You can always use a docking station or a cable adapter. 

Since almost all TVs have HDMI ports these days, we’ll assume that is what you are connecting to. You must purchase an adapter if your MacBook Pro doesn’t have HDMI.

For example, if your MacBook Pro only has Thunderbolt 3 ports (like my 2019 model), you will have to get a Thunderbolt 3 to HDMI adapter (or USB-C to HDMI adapter). 

Once you have the proper adapter or cable, connecting it to the TV is simple:

  1. Plug the HDMI cord into your MacBook Pro (using an adapter if needed) and the other end into your TV.
  2. Change the TV on the corresponding HDMI input (i.e., HDMI 1, HDMI 2, etc.)
  3. Go to the Apple menu on the upper left of your computer screen and click on System Preferences.
  4. In System Preferences, click on Displays.
  5. From here, click on the Arrangement tab.
  6. If you want your TV to show the same images on your computer (for movie watching, etc.), check the Mirror Displays box.
  7. If you want to use your TV as an extra monitor, leave Mirror Displays unchecked.

Next, you’ll want to set up the audio preferences, so you can listen to the audio output from your computer on your TV. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Go to the Apple menu in the upper left of your computer screen and open System Preferences.
  2. Click on Sound.
  3. Click on Output.
  4. Click on TV.

Now the sound from your computer will play through your TV’s speakers.

If you have different outputs or inputs, getting set up is entirely the same once you find the right cables to make the connection. You might need an adapter to make this connection, but they are typically easy to purchase online.

How to Connect MacBook Pro to TV with AirPlay

Another simple way to connect your MacBook Pro to your TV is with Apple’s AirPlay feature. For AirPlay to work, you must have a smart TV with AirPlay compatibility, and both devices have to be connected to the same network. 

To connect to the smart TV with Airplay, click the Screen Mirroring icon in the Control Center in your menu bar. 

Next, select your smart TV from the list of options. 

You may also need to enable AirPlay on your smart TV first. The steps vary depending on the TV, but typically you can find AirPlay in the systems settings menu.

The first time you use AirPlay on the smart TV, you may enter a code from your MacBook Pro. 

Final Thoughts

Connecting your MacBook Pro to a TV is easy, and anyone can do it. You just need an HDMI cable (and maybe an adapter) or, if you have a smart TV, you can use AirPlay. 

Fust follow the simple steps above, and you’ll be watching a movie on the big screen or utilizing multiple displays in no time.

Have you ever connected your MacBook Pro to a TV? How did you do it?

About Jonathon Jachura
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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  • Nigel Mason

    I don’t have an Arrangement tab in the Display tab, what can I do?

    Reply
  • karl larson

    I don’t have an arrangement tab inside the displays menu box, any ideas?

    Reply