I just got my MacBook Pro, and now I want to start using an external monitor hooked up to it. The connection, from my MBP is an HDMI adapter to VGA, and then the VGA cord to my monitor. So it's HDMI -> VGA (the monitor doesn't have an HDMI port).

I go into displays and the monitor doesn't show up. I hold down the option button and click Detect Displays but still nothing happens.

The cables are secure, and I know this HDMI -> VGA setup works (I connect my Raspberry Pi to this monitor using the same setup).

Is there anything else I need to be doing?

Thanks in advance!

1 Answer 1


From Apple: Can the HDMI port drive analog displays (VGA displays, for example) using adapters?

No. The HDMI port will only drive digital connections (such as DVI) using the adapter that came with the Mac. The HDMI port cannot be used for analog displays such as VGA. You can purchase a Mini DisplayPort to VGA adapter separately to drive analog displays.

In addition to the actual digital signal, an HDMI port has a few optional pins for legacy analog support. Apple doesn't bother sending an analog signal to HDMI, so an HDMI to VGA adapter receives nothing.

  • Great info, that explains what I'm seeing then. So theoretically an HDMI to DVI adapter should suffice then? Jun 30, 2016 at 17:14
  • 1
    If the monitor has a DVI port yes it should work. The video portion of HDMI is signal-identical to DVI.
    – Foo Bar
    Jun 30, 2016 at 19:21
  • Great thanks! And yes the monitor does have a DVI port. Thanks again! Jun 30, 2016 at 20:39

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