Can I Use My MacBook As A Monitor? Know Before You Try


If you have a MacBook and want to use it as a monitor, wondering- can I use my MacBook as a monitor is normal. But you can’t use all MacBooks as a monitor as all MacBooks do not have a built-in HDMI port. However, if your MacBook has an HDMI port, you can use that as a monitor with some leads.

In addition, if you ask, can a monitor work without a pc? In the case of MacBooks, it cannot work without a pc as a second screen. We have found more information to serve you if you want to use the MacBook as a monitor. Let’s find out more!

Can I Use My MacBook As A Monitor?

Unless your MacBook has a built-in HDMI port, you cannot use it as a monitor for your pc. But some of the models contain an HDMI port, and they can be used as a monitor.

The MacBook Pro versions of 2012 or 2013 possibly contain an HDMI port. In that case, you can use the MacBook as a monitor for your PC.

Your Mac can be used as a monitor if that has any of the following ports:

Port Name Connectivity Option
HDMI Port With An HDMI Cable
Mini DisplayPort HDMI Adapter Or Cable
USB-C Ports An Adapter Like Apple USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter

Note: MacBook Pro models (late 2008 – early 2009) don’t share the audio even if you use the HDMI. In that case, you have to use the headphone jack or built-in speakers for the audio output.

Ways To Use A MacBook As A Monitor:

If your MacBook model has an HDMI port, you can easily use that as a monitor using an HDMI cable or adapter. Besides, if your MacBook has USB-C ports, you can connect that using Apple USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter.

But here are a few additional methods that you can rely on

Using A Video Capture Card:

You can buy a video capture card to use the Mac as a monitor. Multiple options come in different resolutions. But this is not a wise option if you want to use the Mac to play video games, as you will be facing lags.

If you don’t already know, a video capture card is an HDMI  device to convert videos into a digital format.

If your Mac has USB-C ports, you can use a USB-C to USB-A adapter to use the video capture card. Then you have to set up OBS on your MacBook.

To set up the OBS, install it and open the app. You will then find a plus icon at the menu bottom. Therefore you have to select the “Video Capture Device” and enter your name.

After that, the next tab will show you the drop-down list with all the capture devices and webcams. Set the following settings as you like, and you will see the interface of your console in the app.

Note: this method is not for regular monitor usage. And you can only use it when you want your Mac to play traditional games, not online streaming games.

Use Virtual Monitor Software:

This method will not let you use the monitor as a primary monitor. You can use it to use the MacBook as a secondary display for your Windows.

You can use Space Desk software to use the Mac as a second display for your PC. Therefore, you will need two devices to work as a host and one to join the server.

Note that, Windows will always be the host as your Macbook won’t support installing Space Desk. The Windows will be the primary monitor, and the Macbook will be the second monitor.

As we are talking about using your Mac as an additional display, now, your Windows will work as the host here. Here are the steps to follow:

  • First, install Space Desk on your Windows
  • Now direct the server and save the IP Address somewhere
  • At this phase, you have to go to the site: from your Mac
  • Now type the IP and connect to the network

After establishing the connection, your Mac will show the Windows, and therefore, you can use it as your second monitor.

How To Connect MacBook Air To An External Monitor?

The process is straightforward once you have the right cables in hand. And based on the external display, you will need these adapters:

Additional Information

Can I Use An iMac As A PC Monitor?

Yes, you can. Using the Target display mode and the Thunderbolt or the Mini DisplayPort, it is possible to use an iMac as a PC monitor. However, if your iMac has a Retina display, you won’t be able to do that.

Why Won’t My Mac Recognize My Second Monitor?

This issue is pretty standard, even if you connect all the cables correctly to the device. If this occurs, try rebooting, and it will most possibly fix the issue.

Is Thunderbolt Only For Mac?

Yes but a few Windows also use Thunderbolt. But other than Apple, those are very limited in number to use thunderbolt.

We Are At The Edge!

By now, you already got your answer to your question: can I use my MacBook as a monitor? It is possible quickly with some models that contain HDMI  ports, and for others, we have given alternative solutions.

But if you want to use the monitor without a PC, it won’t work that way. Also, if you want your Mac to be used as an external monitor but face trouble detecting the monitor, you can try traditional troubleshooting methods like rebooting.

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