I would like to use my MacBook Pro with a second monitor. What do I need to be able to do this?

  • Do you mean a second monitor in addition to it's own screen, or in addition to an external monitor you already have hooked up?
    – Sietse
    Sep 23, 2010 at 6:37
  • @Sietse: I want a second monitor in addition to its own screen
    – Casebash
    Sep 23, 2010 at 20:55

2 Answers 2


Your MacBook Pro could have various display ports depending on its vintage:

  • Dual-Link DVI for the oldest models
  • Mini DisplayPort on the 15" from late 2008, on the 17" since early 2009

Both can drive a monitor in analog mode (via a VGA port on your monitor) or in digital mode (via a DVI port). Most monitors, except really ancient ones, have both connectors. The quality of the image beeing better with a DVI connection I recommend you go this route.

All monitors are shipped with a DVI/DVI cable, if not go get one at your nearest cheap PC place. For old MacBook Pro that's all you need. For more recent models you need to add a adapter. Apple has one, but I don't like it: It's really short and put pressure on the port when the computer is used on a support. Not to mention ugly. I bought on ebay a 6 foot Mini DisplayPort/DVI cable for cheap, it's all digital so you don't need huge shielding and "super copper wire balanced to give you the best image". Around 10 quids.

Note: Smaller models like the MacBook and the Macbook Air came with different ports: A mini DVI or a micro DVI. For the people reading this with a non "pro" model, make sure you check for those as well...

PS: You can find pictures of the various ports by searching for their names on Wikipedia. I wanted to put the links directly, but apparently I do not have enough reputation to post more than one link:(


What MacBook Pro do you have?

Chances are good that all you'll need is:

  • another monitor
  • a Mini DisplayPort adapter cable

If the monitor has DVI in, that adapter needs to be Mini DisplayPort to DVI. If VGA, it needs to be Mini DisplayPort to VGA—and so on. But that should be all you need.

Edited to add:

Apple has some good pages:

They should help you identify what you have and what you need.

  • Its a MacBook pro. I don't know how to tell what version it is
    – Casebash
    Sep 23, 2010 at 3:42
  • You can find the tech specs here. But all that really matters is: what video out port does your MBP have?
    – Dori
    Sep 23, 2010 at 3:47
  • Okay, its a MacBook Pro (15-inch, Late 2008) so I should use the mini-display port
    – Casebash
    Sep 25, 2010 at 22:38

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