The Joy of a Macbook Pro and an External Display

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The Macbook Pro is working well so far, and along with its delivery yesterday, I also received another box…this one from Dell. Inside was a 24 inch widescreen LCD display. As you can tell, by the horrible picture above (taken with my iPhone) that’s a lot of screen real estate.

I have never had a dual monitor set up before, and I had no idea it was so easy with OSX.
All I had to do was plug in the DVI cable to the MBP and open System Preferences>Displays


OSX automatically detected the new display and under the Arrangement tab it shows you the size of both monitors (relative to one another). You can drag them around one another depending on if you want one screen above, below, left, or right of one another.

Only one monitor will display your menu and Dock, and to select which one all you have to do is drag the white menu bar inside the monitor icons from one to the other.

If you prefer that both screens display the same thing all you have to do is select “Mirror Displays”.

In just a few hours I have already become accustomed to this way of working, and I doubt I’ll ever go back to just one monitor when I’m working at my desk.

What do you think? Do you prefer one or two (or three, or four) monitors?

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Kokou Adzo

Kokou Adzo is a stalwart in the tech journalism community, has been chronicling the ever-evolving world of Apple products and innovations for over a decade. As a Senior Author at Apple Gazette, Kokou combines a deep passion for technology with an innate ability to translate complex tech jargon into relatable insights for everyday users.

15 thoughts on “The Joy of a Macbook Pro and an External Display

  1. I hate 2 display setup, when their resolution and size is different.
    But, for exapmple, two identical large LCD’s side by side is great.

  2. When I first read this article, it struck me as a “duh” moment. Of course dual monitors are awesome, any Mac journalist should know this. However, after those first few seconds passed, I realized that no, not everyone has used it. It’s just been so long since I started using dual displays that I take it for granted. It’s such an integral part of what I do, and how I use my Mac, that it was easy to overlook as an awesome feature.

    My current setup on my desk is a 15.4″ MacBook Pro with a 20″ LCD. I usually dump Mail, iTunes and NetNewsWire on to the MacBook’s display, and everything else on the 20″ LCD.

    I couldn’t live without dual displays, and that was one of the biggest stumbling blocks for the iMac G5 series, and iBook series for me, though Apple’s resolved that with the Intel iMacs and MacBooks both supporting dual displays.

  3. i have a 22″ screen hooked up to my 13″ macbook at home and am using two 21 inchers from eizo (that equals 3200×1200 pixels) at work. i’d catch claustrophobia with just one screen.

    alas, with multiple monitors i found it to be the same phenomenon as with hard disks: no matter how much room you have, you always manage to clutter it up real fast. do i really need five or more apps running on the screen at all time? nope. will i still do it, just because i can? you betcha.

  4. I’ve had a 24″ external monitor with MBP for almost a year now. I’ve found dual monitor setup is not as use full, specially with good use of “Spaces”. Here is my setup:

    MBP 15″: basically in closed state
    Mouse: USB wireless mouse (Microsoft 😉
    Keyboard: Apple Tiny Aluminum Bluetooth Keyboard

    I’ve even put a small side table under my desk, where I place the MBP. Basically, on my desk there are no wires, just the big 24″ monitor, and small wireless mouse and keyboard. Sweeeet.

  5. Dual monitors is nice my Dad loves it, but I find with the size of the newer screens and spaces you don’t need 2 monitors. Its different for you and your laptop but I’m talking a 24″ iMac. 🙂

  6. MBP + 22″ Monitor.. I have it for almost a year now – and it’s awesome. Especially for watching videos on one screen and working on the other!

  7. I had never messed around with dual monitors until a few months ago and it blew me away, unfortunately the monitor I was using with my MacBook quit working so I’m back to the good ‘ol 13″ LCD on the MacBook. But, I am hoping that I’ll be able to drop the $300 or whatever for a new monitor soon, dual monitors rock!

  8. it is very useful. i have my x1950xt spitting out dvi-hdmi to my hdtv and i watch blurayrips on the hd while i do stuff on my regular monitor (21″ samsung lcd)

  9. i use a 24″ LG monitor as 2nd screen for my macbook pro and i love it. usually i have all my chat, mail and other communication tools on the 15″ screen while i have the whole 24″ one for working (or watching movies, or play wii which is also connected – picture in picture is the best for long meetings!)

  10. I’m able to sit at a laptop if it’s a quick in and out. But for all-day stuff, I have to sit in front of a monitor with a keyboard and mouse. I had my MacBook connected this way for a year until I finally bought a Mac Pro.

  11. I really love my 24″ Dell monitor I use with my MBP. It’s the perfect solution! (especailly when paired with the BT keyboard/mouse and for console gaming)

  12. I have been using dual for years as well but recently bought a mac book pro and use my big screen hooked up to my mac book. i hate the wires. can i go wireless? i mean can i hook something into my 20″ view sonic the mac book pro can see?

  13. @ Trinity

    If its seeing your old system on the 20″ while its hooked to your Macbook Pro you want, you could try Screen Sharing or a VNC client.

    If its displaying stuff from your Macbook onto your 20″ while the display is attached to another Mac, there is an app for that but I cant think of the name at the moment. The app lets you use another Mac’s display as an extra display for the Mac you are using.

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