How to Connect a MacBook or Windows Laptop to a Projector

The video source is an essential part of any projector as it allows you to play videos and images for entertainment as well as presentation purposes.

Starting a projector is a relatively straightforward task, but the real trick lies in connecting the projector to the video source.

Not everyone is tech-savvy, so it gets confusing for them when it comes to connecting their MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, Windows laptop, or desktop.

To clear all the air of confusion, we have created a detailed guide where we will discuss the steps to connect MacBook Pro and MacBook Air to a projector.

In this guide, we have also covered the steps to connect Mac operated computer to a projector and also connect a windows laptop to a projector.

So let’s start with the first process;

How to Connect a MacBook pro To a Projector

For those who like to watch video instead of reading text (though the video is 6 years old, but the very same process):

Well, connecting your Mac to a projector might seem like a complicated process since Apple products aren’t easy to connect.

But we have tried to make the process simple and assist you in completing the connection efficiently. Here are all the steps;

1. To start with the process, you need to first switch on both your MacBook and projector. Allow both the devices to get ready before proceeding to the next step.

2. Now, take an HDMI or VGA cable whichever is supported by your projector, and connect one end to the intended port located in the back or side.

find correct VGA cable from the projector
Hook the other end of the cable to Mac’s port whether it is HDMI or VGA. Properly push the cable within the port; otherwise, it will lead to a loose connection.

3. However, if you face any connection issue or you have an old MacBook that doesn’t support HDMI or VGA cable, then you will have to use a Mac Adapter.
4. The adapter will help you to convert all the audio & video signals without compromising on the quality. You can either use a USB Type-C to HDMI or USB Type-C VGA Multi adapter for establishing a connection between your Mac and projector.

connect VGA cable to the adapter

5. You can even utilize an Apple mini Display Port to VGA adapter in case of Display Port availability in your projector.

6. The process of connecting the adapter is pretty simple where you need to connect the VGA or HDMI to the adapter. Then connect the adapter using the Type C or mini DisplayPort cable coming out of the adapter.

7. Once you have connected both the devices, you need to check whether they are connected or not. If they are connected, go to the Apple menu located top left corner of your screen.

8. Under the Apple menu, you will find System preferences, and from there, you will have to find the Display tab. Click on the display icon and look for the detect display under that menu.

 

Apple display preferences

Apple display preferences

select display settings

Select display

click on arrangement and uncheck mirror

Click on the arrangement and uncheck mirror

9. Your last job is to click on the detect display button, and it will automatically sync up both the devices. It might take some time to sync the connection, and after that, you will be able to see Mac’s screen on the big display.

In case, if you still see a black screen on the large display even after syncing both the devices, then you will have to troubleshoot.

Reattach the cables on both ends and check whether the screws of the VGA port are correctly tightened. However, if the problem persists, then go to the System Preferences under the Apple Menu.

From the menu, go to the Display button and then the arrangement tab where you will have to check the Mirror Display box. After a few seconds, you will be able to see Mac’s screen on the big display.

How to Connect Windows Laptop to Projector

How to Connect Windows Laptop to Projector with Wire

If you are wondering how you can connect a Windows laptop to a projector, then we can say the process is pretty straightforward.

Few clicks on different settings and you will be ready to stream all your favorite content on the big screen. So let’s start with the processes:

  1. First, you need to switch off your laptop and projector before connecting any kind of cable.

Now, depending upon the port compatibility on your projector and laptop, you need to connect both devices.

HDMI is currently the best and most common video connector used by all the devices as it can display up to 4K contents with ease. However, if you are using a laptop that doesn’t have HDMI, then you can utilize a VGA cable for connection.

Nowadays, some mini projectors are coming with USB video transmission making it easy for users to connect them to laptops without worrying about compatibility issues. Plugin both ends properly so that there is no shaky movement.

  1. Once you have connected both the devices, you will have to turn them on and wait until they are completely ready.
  2. Go to the Settings option located in the Start Menu and then head to the System menu.
  3. When you click on the System option, you will get Display, and from there you need to go to the Advanced display settings located under it.
  4. Now, you will have to drag and drop the computer screen that is currently present to any side.

You should continue the process for a few seconds, and it will quickly match the physical placement of the real display of the computer. From there, you will have to choose the main display option.

  1. After the previous step, you will have set the display orientation, and you can do it by fiddling with the display orientation settings.

You can opt for Duplicate These Displays, Extend These Displays, Show only on 1, or Show only on 2 depending upon your requirement.

If you are going for movie watching, we would recommend you to go for Duplicate These Display or opt for Show only on 2.

  1. Lastly, click on the Apply, and you will see the laptop’s screen on the big display.

However, if you want to go beyond wires and want to connect your laptop wirelessly to the projector, then you can use Bluetooth or WiFi facility.

Best Way to Connect a Laptop with a Projector Wirelessly

The wireless connectivity entirely depends upon the Bluetooth or WiFi support from the projector as well as the laptop.

To connect a laptop with a projector using Bluetooth:

  1. Select the Devices option under Settings and from there Bluetooth and other devices.
  2. Then select Add Bluetooth or other devices, and your laptop will show your projector.
  3. Select the projector’s name, and you can now easily stream contents.

To connect a laptop with a projector using Wifi:

  1. Hold Windows key and press K which will pop out the Connect Pane window.
  2. When the box opens, you will be able to select the projector from the list, and it will automatically connect the projector.

Steps To Connect Windows Desktop to Projector

The process to connect a Windows desktop to a projector is pretty straightforward and similar to the previous process.

However, unlike laptops, you get limited options, and nowadays many people still rely on Windows 7 operating system. So in this process, we will show the process according to Windows 7 and Windows 10.

  1. To begin with, first, you will have to switch all the devices.
  2. Connect both the devices, either using HDMI or VGA cable whichever is compatible with both PC and projector.
  3. Now, switch on the projector as well as the desktop.

4.1. For the Windows 10 operating desktop:

You need to go to the start button and from there move to the System icon under the settings menu.

Under the System page, you will Advanced Display Settings under the Display tab. Then you just have to drag and drop the On-Screen display to right or left and wait until they match.

Now you just have to attach the orientation of the display based on your requirement. Click on Apply to save the settings.

4.2. For the Windows 7 desktop:

You just have to hold the Windows button and then press the P button on your keyboard. It will open a dialogue box of advanced display settings where you just have to select the Duplicate or Projector Only option to connect your projector.

In case, if your projector fails to establish any kind of connection to the Windows laptop or desktop PC, recheck the cable connection.

If it still happens, then you can restart both the device and opt for the troubleshoot option provided by Windows. Check the settings properly during the setup as it will save you from all future hassles.

While going through all the process, a question might arise in your mind: why do you need to connect your computer to a projector. Well, don’t be confused, we have an answer to your query.

How to Connect a MacBook Air To a Projector

MacBook Air is a modern generation device from Apple, and it is quite similar to the normal MacBook pro that we discussed above.

There isn’t much difference when it comes to creating a MacBook Air connection to the projector. So let’s take a look at how you can connect the projector to your MacBook Air;

  1. In the beginning, you need to start both your MacBook Air and projector. Make sure both the devices have appropriately booted and are entirely ready.
  2. Once both the devices are ready, take a long HDMI or VGA cable and connect them. Take one end cable and put it in the respective port of the projector. In the same manner, take the other end and hook it to the port.
  3. To connect the other end of the cable to the MacBook Air, you will need the assistance of an Apple Display adapter that will convert the signal without compatibility issues.

Your main job is to go for an original or high-quality Apple display adapter, and you need to choose the adapter depending upon the cable you are using.

You can either use a USB-C VGA multi-adapter, Apple Mini DisplayPort to VGA, USB-C AV Multi adapter for HDMI or Apple Mini DisplayPort to DVI or HDMI to DVI adapter. Always check the port availability before going for the adapter.

  1. Now, connect the VGA or HDMI cable from your projector to the adapter and then hook the other end to your MacBook Air.
  2. After completing the connection part, now go to the Apple menu, which is located at the top left of your screen.
  3. Under the Apple menu, you will find the system preferences icon, and from there you will have to Display option.
  4. Lastly, under the Display option, you will find Detect Display and click on it. When you can Detect the display, your MacBook will detect the projector and will start displaying the screen on the big display.

It might take a few seconds before you see your MacBook’s screen on the large display. In case it doesn’t show, then you need to hold the Source button for some seconds in your projector until the Air’s screen gets displayed on the big screen.

Well, we have seen how you can connect to Apple Macbook Pro and Mackbook Air with a projector.

Now it is time to look at the processes of how you can display windows computer images on a projector.

Connect Mac - Laptop to Projector

Why Do You Even Need To Connect A Computer To A Projector?

Well, the main and probably the most straightforward reason to connect a computer to a projector are to watch contents on the large display.

Projector by itself can’t project any visual contents on the screen until it comes with an inbuilt Smart system that can play videos from apps.

When you have a Windows computer, MacBook, or Mac system, you are limited to a specific screen size. But when you hook it to the projector, you can watch your movies, videos, games, and presentations on the big screen.

Moreover, almost all the homes at least have a computer system, so it becomes easy for users for streaming content rather than relying on the DVD player, Blu-Ray player, or other systems.

Secondly, if your projector doesn’t have a Smart TV system, then you need to connect the computer and play the contents you like.

Getting FireStick, Roku TV, or other portable Android system is an expensive affair, so a computer serves as a better alternative and serves the purpose well.

In offices, Windows computers and MacBook is a standard device, so it becomes easy for everyone to provide a presentation on a large screen without needing to invest in other devices.

Similarly, education institutes have the option to utilize a projector with their computers and interactively teach students.

Smartphones may serve as a good alternative for playing contents through a projector, but a computer has better manageability and convenience.

All in all, there are various advantages for connecting a computer to a projector, and it opens up a new horizon for you.

Conclusion

Through this article, we have covered almost all the details of how you can connect a MacBook to a projector and how you can tackle all the issues.

Apart from MacBook, we have also covered MacBook Air, Windows laptop, and computer so that any of viewers won’t be limited to certain options.

All the processes are elementary, and you just have to trust the steps that will lead you to accomplishment.

While connecting the wires, you need to be careful and always check the compatibility before investing in a cable or adapter.

Lastly, we can say that after reading this article, you can successfully establish a connection between your Mac and projector.

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