How to Connect a MacBook Pro to a TV

By Karren Doll Tolliver

Connecting a MacBook Pro to your TV set helps when you need a large, high-definition display to watch movies, illustrate a presentation or just enjoy a bigger screen for your work. The latest models of both MacBook Pro and high-definition televisions make this connection a snap, and you won't have to break your budget on expensive equipment; the cables and adapter are quite affordable. Information in this article applies specifically to the MacBook Pro with Retina display and a television with an HDMI port. The instructions may vary with other equipment.

Things You'll Need

  • HDMI-to-HDMI cable
  • Mini DisplayPort-to-HDMI adapter
  • Apple TV

HDMI Port to HDMI Port

Step 1

Locate the HDMI port on the right side of your MacBook Pro. It is a six-sided slot with eight pins in a straight line. Locate an identical HDMI port on the back of your television.

Step 2

Plug one end of an HDMI-to-HDMI cable into the HDMI port on your Macbook Pro.

Step 3

Plug the other end of the HDMI cable into the HDMI port on your television. Now the television will display your MacBook Pro desktop.

Thunderbolt Port to HDMI Port

Step 1

Locate the two Thunderbolt ports on the left side of your MacBook Pro. They are between the MagSafe 2 power port and the USB 3 port. Locate an HDMI port on the back of your television.

Step 2

Plug one end of a Mini DisplayPort-to-HDMI adapter into one of the Thunderbolt ports. Plug in one end of an HDMI-to-HDMI cable into the HDMI port on the adapter.

Step 3

Plug the other end of the HDMI cable into the HDMI port on your television. Now the television will display your MacBook Pro desktop.

AirPlay Mirroring

Step 1

Plug one end of an HDMI cable into the HDMI port on your Apple TV device and the other end of the cable into the HDMI port on your TV. Plug the power cable into the Apple TV and turn the TV set on.

Step 2

Connect one end of an Ethernet cable to the network port on the back of the Apple TV if you do not have a wireless network. Plug the other end into a network port on your network router. If you have a wireless network, the Apple TV will automatically detect it.

Step 3

Select the Apple TV as the input device on your TV. An Apple TV menu appears on the television screen. If this is the first time you connected the Apple TV to your TV or your network, use the Apple remote that came with the Apple TV to select a language and the menu option to connect to your local network. Enter a name and password if your network requires it.

Step 4

Log into your local network wirelessly on your MacBook Pro, if the network is configured for wireless connections. Otherwise, connect one end of an Ethernet cable to the network port on your MacBook Pro and the other end to the network router.

Step 5

Check for an AirPlay button to automatically appear on the menu bar of your MacBook Pro. The button appears if the computer supports using Apple TV as a display. If the button is blue, AirPlay Mirroring is turned on. If the button is gray, click on it and select “Connect AirPlay Display.” You can also connect AirPlay Display in System Preferences. Choose “Displays,” then click “AirPlay Display” or “AirPlay Mirroring” and select “Apple TV.” Now your desktop is visible on your TV set.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you close your MacBook while connected to a TV, the display will go into sleep mode. To be able to keep the display functioning with the MacBook closed, connect an external keyboard and mouse or other pointing device to the MacBook.