Problems With Hooking Up an External Monitor to a Macbook Pro 13

Written by shawn m. tomlinson
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Even though the MacBook Pro 13-inch computer is marketed as a "pro" computer rather than one intended for average consumers, it still can have some problems with "pro" applications. For example, many users have complained that their MacBook Pro 13 computers slow down dramatically with an external monitor attached. Of course, sometimes, the problems with joining a laptop with a desktop monitor are simpler than that, too.

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The first thing to check into if you are having problems hooking up an external monitor to your MacBook Pro 13 is the connections. The MacBook Pro 13 can hook up to a variety of different monitors, but you need the right adaptor to do it. Apple states that this model MacBook can use the Mini DisplayPort to DVI Adapter, Mini DisplayPort to Dual-Link DVI Adapter, Mini DisplayPort to VGA Adapter and the Moshi Mini DP to HDMI adaptor. The MacBook Pro 13 no longer has a single function Mini DisplayPort, but rather a multipurpose Thunderbolt port. This supports an external monitor as well as other peripherals. Take out and reconnect your adaptor from both the MacBook and the monitor to make sure you have them correctly fitted. Also make certain you have the external mouse and keyboard attached via USB or Bluetooth. You need this to make the external monitor work.

Monitor Type

Most monitors will work with most Macs including MacBooks in what Apple calls "closed-lid mode." This means that you start up the MacBook after hooking up the monitor, then close the screen with a keyboard and mouse connected. This diverts the graphics processing unit's entire energy to the monitor. If you have checked all the connections and followed the "closed-lid mode" procedures and you still have problems with the monitor, check the monitor with another computer. Also make certain it is compatible with a MacBook.


<p> states that the top resolution for an external monitor with a MacBook Pro 13 is 2,560 by 1,600 pixels. Check to make sure your monitor is not beyond this. If the monitor does connect and work, but runs applications slowly, it could be a problem with resolution.


Sometimes, a MacBook Pro 13 will slow down considerably when you do have an external monitor attached. While this may be caused by your graphics processor, which you cannot upgrade in a MacBook Pro 13, you may be able to give a speed boost to fix a slow monitor response. The two ways to do this are to install the maximum amount of random access memory and to upgrade to a faster hard drive or a solid state drive. Apple claims the MacBook Pro 13 can handle 8GB of RAM, but states it will work with 16GB using two 8GB RAM chips. The more RAM you have in your MacBook Pro, the faster everything will work, including the connection with the monitor. An SSD has a much faster seek time than a traditional hard drive, so adding this kind of drive can help make your MacBook Pro work as it should with the monitor.

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