iMac dual monitor setup FAQ: Can I connect an external monitor to my iMac? (Or, how do I use the Apple Mini DisplayPort to connect a second monitor to my iMac or MacBook Pro?)
Yes, you can connect a second monitor (external monitor) to your iMac — here's how.
iMac dual monitor - iMac Mini DisplayPort
To create a dual monitor iMac, first locate the "Mini DisplayPort" on the back of your iMac. You can see the iMac Mini DisplayPort in this photo:
(Image courtesy of Apple, with a few words rearranged, and the red dot above the iMac monitor Mini Display port added by me to make it more apparent.)
Using this iMac display port — and the correct cable, which you'll have to buy — you can connect your iMac to an external monitor.
iMac dual monitor setup with Mini DisplayPort
According to the iMac technical specs, the iMac Mini DisplayPort provides "output with support for DVI, dual-link DVI, and VGA video". Which iMac monitor cable you need depends on the external monitor you want to connect.
Very specifically, you can buy one of these three iMac monitor adapters at an Apple store, or other places, such as BestBuy:
- Apple Mini DisplayPort to DVI Adapter
- Apple Mini DisplayPort to VGA Adapter
- Apple Mini DisplayPort to Dual-Link DVI Adapter
Again, which adapter you need to buy depends on the second monitor (external monitor) you want to connect to your iMac. (If you're not sure which iMac monitor cable you need, please see the Apple links below for more information.)
iMac dual monitor setup
Once you get the correct adapter cable for your external monitor, the iMac dual monitor setup process is simple. With your external monitor turned off, connect the monitor to your iMac with your new cable(s), and then turn your second monitor on. In a few moments your iMac will recognize the external monitor, and you'll see your Mac desktop appear on that monitor as well. After that, it just becomes a matter of how you want to use your iMac dual monitor setup.
(Until I get more time to write about this iMac dual monitor setup process, I'll just say, "See your Mac 'System Preferences' panel for more dual monitor setup information".)
iMac second monitor - Monitor adapters cables
As mentioned above, to connect your iMac to an external monitor, you'll need an iMac monitor adapter cable. You can get these from a variety of sources, but here are links to these iMac adapter cables on the Apple store website:
- Apple Mini DisplayPort to DVI Adapter - $29
- Apple Mini DisplayPort to VGA Adapter - $29
- Apple Mini DisplayPort to Dual-Link DVI Adapter - $99
Most external monitors these days support DVI or VGA cables, so you'll probably want one of those first two monitor cable types. The $99 Dual-Link DVI Adapter lets you connect to an Apple Cinema display, and if you have one of those, well, hey, good for you, lol.
iMac dual monitor setup - Summary
I hope this information on how to configure an iMac external monitor (iMac dual monitor) has been helpful. I like connecting an external monitor to my iMac for a variety of reasons, including (a) keeping my RockMelt browser on that screen, (b) playing movies on that screen, and (c) using the extra monitor as a "clipboard" location, where I can place notes while working on something else, like this blog post.
As usual, if you have any questions or comments leave a note below, and I'll do what I can. In the meantime, connect an external monitor to your iMac, and see what you've been missing. :)