Top 7 Ways to Fix Mac Not Detecting a Display

Top 7 Ways to Fix Mac Not Detecting a Display

Using macOS on a larger screen is fun, but your excitement can be dampened if your Mac fails to detect the display. If you’re attempting to connect your Mac or MacBook to an external display and all you see is a black screen, there are ways to fix this issue.

There are several reasons why your MacBook may not detect an external display. It could be due to incorrect port selection, a faulty cable, macOS glitches, incorrect resolution settings, and more. We will address each scenario and provide potential solutions.

1. Check the Cable

To ensure that you’re using the correct HDMI cable with your external monitor, confirm the compatibility with your MacBook model. If you have a new 2021 MacBook Pro or a pre-2016 model, you may need an HDMI to Type-C adapter along with an HDMI to HDMI cable. Check both ends of the HDMI cable for any signs of wear and tear.

For connecting your MacBook to a display, some people use a Type-C to HDMI cable. However, it’s important to note that not all cables are suitable. It is recommended to purchase a cable from a trusted brand, as cheap cables may overheat or not meet the necessary standards.

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You should also check the display resolution and FPS the cable supports from the product page. Some cables are limited to 4K at 30fps only while your monitor can go up to 4K at 60fps.

2. Remove Dust from Ports

Exposed ports on your Mac attract dust particles, which may prevent the cable from fitting properly and cause the Mac to not detect the display even with a high-quality cable.

Clean the mini-Display port or Type-C port, depending on your Mac model, and use compressed air to remove dust from the ports. Also inspect the HDMI ports on the external display.

Most modern monitors have multiple HDMI ports. Connect the cable to the first port and use HDMI 2 as the output screen. Use either the remote or the on-device buttons to change the HDMI selection. Select the correct HDMI port on the monitor and check the Mac output.

4. Restart Mac and External Monitor

Sometimes rebooting the Mac can fix the display detection issue. Click on the Apple icon in the menu bar and select Restart. Upon reboot, macOS will ask for authentication (Touch ID won’t work, enter Mac password). Power off the external monitor and disconnect your Mac. This has worked for many users as per the Apple forums. Reconnect Mac with the display using the preferred cable and it should work.

5. Keep Your MacBook in Charge

Planning to use macOS on an external display? To work on the big screen with your MacBook lid closed, you must keep the device charged at all times. This prevents sleep mode when the lid is closed.

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Top 7 Ways to Fix Mac Not Detecting a Display

Try using the default adapter that came with your MacBook. Avoid third-party or low-capacity adapters. They may not provide enough power for the MacBook to run an external display.

6. Change Display Resolution

Dealing with incorrect display settings on Mac, the scaled-up version on the monitor might appear tiny or blurry, causing unnecessary strain on your eyes. macOS provides scaled settings in the System Preferences menu for making adjustments. To begin, click on the Apple icon at the top and open the System Preferences menu.

Top 7 Ways to Fix Mac Not Detecting a Display

Step 2: Select Display.

Top 7 Ways to Fix Mac Not Detecting a Display

Step 3: Click on Scaled and choose resolution settings with text size.

Top 7 Ways to Fix Mac Not Detecting a Display

Select the text size comfortable using on a big screen. Don’t worry about low resolution here. macOS will scale it up to match your display’s highest resolution capacity (2K or 4K). For example, if you select something like Full HD (1920 x 1080) in the scaling menu, the monitor receives a 4K quality signal. With larger text, you may take a hit on MacBook performance. It won’t be visible on MacBook Pro models, but it’s evident on MacBook Air devices running Intel CPUs.

7. Update macOS

We don’t recommend updating your main Mac to the latest OS right away. On the release date, avoid upgrading from macOS Big Sur to macOS Monterey. However, if you have already upgraded and are now experiencing display detection issues, wait for Apple to release another OS patch and install it. To resolve the issue, open the System Preferences menu, navigate to Software Update, and install the latest macOS build before attempting to detect the display again.

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Top 7 Ways to Fix Mac Not Detecting a Display

Enjoy macOS on a Big Screen

Using macOS on a big screen allows for quicker work and the ability to multitask with multiple windows. It provides a spacious canvas to complete tasks efficiently.

Have you encountered the issue of Mac not detecting a display? Feel free to share your experience with our readers in the comments below.

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