I just bought a monitor, a 24-inches AOC U2477PWQ, 4K resolution. I attached it to my 2012 MacBook Air running the latest version of Sierra, and macOS thinks it's a 30-inches AOC U2477WM, 1080p.

How come macOS thinks it's a different monitor? Is it just because they share the same driver (weird)?

I'm using HDMI with a MiniDisplay to HDMI adapter.

EDIT: I'd like to run at the native resolution, possibly enabling retina, or at least the biggest resolution that the MBA mid-2012 can handle, which should be around 2,500something.

  • Do you just want to see the correct name for your display or do you want to use it at its native (4K) resolution?
    – oa-
    Jan 24, 2017 at 14:29
  • Actually, both :-). I'm trying to troubleshoot why I only have 1080p max while MacBook Air mid-2012s should support up to 2000-something at 30Mz, and I wondered if the reason was that it wouldn't recognize it. I know nothing about this stuff.
    – nkkollaw
    Jan 24, 2017 at 14:59

1 Answer 1


To answer your questions about running a 4K display with a Mid 2012 MacBook Air 11"/13":

Unfortunately the 2012 MBA isn't technically able to do so.

The 2012 MBA has an Intel HD Graphics 4000 GPU which supports only up to 2560x1600 px via its Thunderbolt port directly. Attaching another video adapter (like HDMI) may reduce the maximum possible resolution.

Depending on the external display it may choose a lower resolution if if the source (your MBA) is not capable of driving the display's native resolution. It appears that your MBA reduces the resolution to 1920x1080 px when you connect it to the display's HDMI port.

If possible use a miniDisplayport to Displayport cable to connect your computer to the display. You may be able to use a resolution of 2560x1600 px.

  • What I (incorrectly) thought was that if I had a 4K monitor I could have HiDPI (retina) on the external monitor, even if the laptop's display isn't retina. If I have a retina laptop, would it be able to run an external 4K display at twice the DPI (Or I guess 1080p retina)?
    – nkkollaw
    Jan 24, 2017 at 16:30
  • No, "retina" (pixel doubling) is just a software feature.
    – oa-
    Jan 24, 2017 at 16:33
  • Sorry, "no" means that with a 2016 retina MacBook Pro I wouldn't be able to achieve what I want..?
    – nkkollaw
    Jan 24, 2017 at 16:38
  • It depends on the model you're talking about. The Mid 2012, Late 2012 and Early 2013 MacBook Pro Retina models are not able to drive a 4K display. Newer models, however, can drive 4K displays.
    – oa-
    Jan 24, 2017 at 16:58
  • Would that mean that I could have retina on the external display..?
    – nkkollaw
    Jan 24, 2017 at 22:22

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .