My teenage daughter has a MacBook Pro M1 (2020) and we have had the screen replaced several times now, at great expense each time. Sadly it is now broken yet again ! The new plan is to use the laptop with an external 4G monitor that we already have and works well with it, and to buy an external keyboard and mouse. Since her bedroom is rather small I would like her to be able to use it with the screen/lid closed (perhaps with it rested on on it's side somehow, if that's possible?). Either wired/USB or Bluetooth keyboard & mouse.

She mainly uses it for school work and some digital photo/video editing.

What are the considerations and potential pitfalls for using the MacBook like this ?

  • 2
    What are the activities that break the screen? Will external screens face the same risk?
    – Solar Mike
    Dec 17, 2022 at 15:35
  • @SolarMike "What are the activities that break the screen?" Dogs, jumping onto the bed where the laptop is being used - it has happened 5 times now, so I' ve had the screen replaced 4 times.. Also, other humans doing the same (damn kids and their friends!!) :( .....The hope is that the laptop can be used as a desktop type of computer on her desk where the dogs and humans can't go. I live in hope ! :)
    – underflow
    Dec 17, 2022 at 17:56
  • So why do you think an external screen will work? She does not use the desk - but lays on the bed. How will that behavior change?
    – Solar Mike
    Dec 17, 2022 at 18:05
  • @SolarMike The idea is that she will have to sit at the desk to use it whenever she wants to, rather than carry it around her room as she pleases, and/or just leaving it on her bed (or the floor !!!!) when she goes out.
    – underflow
    Dec 17, 2022 at 18:09
  • Two ways to connect - by cable (which I do and have the adapters to do so) or use an Apple TV which I also have used.
    – Solar Mike
    Dec 17, 2022 at 18:15

1 Answer 1


Macs work well in 'clamshell' mode (e.g. closed), while attached to an external display. You can buy stands that will hold the Mac in an upright position (at a range of prices, but some very cheap).

The Mac has to be plugged in to the power source to use an external display in this manner. Depending on the type of display, it may have USB ports that you can plug peripherals into.

There are no real considerations or pitfalls, if used with care and respect.

The biggest consideration, I would argue, is to discover the cause of the damage to the laptop screen, and to ensure that the behaviour/situation doesn't happen again.

  • Thank you. Do you mean some kind of docking station ? I don't know much about Apple products but I've used Dell laptops with a docking station that does exactly this. Apple and Dell seem to be worlds apart :D
    – underflow
    Dec 17, 2022 at 18:02
  • @underflow There are docking stations, but I'm talking about just a physical holder. Here's one that's a piece of wood. harmoni-living.com/products/laptop-dock?variant=41674559684762
    – benwiggy
    Dec 17, 2022 at 18:14
  • That's pretty cool ! I could probably make one ! I'm far better at things like that than messing with technology that I've never actually used myself.
    – underflow
    Dec 17, 2022 at 18:20

You must log in to answer this question.

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