How to Close Your Laptop Lid and Still Use an External Monitor | for Mac and Windows laptop

How to Close Your Laptop Lid and Still Use an External Monitor | for Mac and Windows laptop

When you use your laptop on a desk, you will be hunched over looking at a display that is too low, with a touchpad that cannot match the comfort and accuracy of the mouse. Granted, you can lower your chair, but if you want a more comfortable office setup, grab your favorite external monitor and choose any size you like. But you may find that if you close the the lid of your laptop and put it aside to save desk space, the monitor will also be in sleep mode. This brings us to the topic of this article, to show you how to keep the external monitor awake when the lid is closed.

 For Mac laptops:

To enable closed-display mode (also known as clamshell mode) with your Mac laptop, you’ll need:

  1. An AC power adapter and a charging cable for the laptop, either an original kit or a third-party kit.
  2. An external keyboard and mouse or touchpad, wither USB or wireless.
  3. A USB C to USB adapter or USB hub if you’re using a USB mouse or keyboard with a Mac that only has USB C ports.

Connect your USB keyboard and mouse to your Mac or external display, or pair your Bluetooth keyboard and mouse with your Mac, as the built-in keyboard and touchpad cannot be used in clamshell mode. If you use a Bluetooth keyboard or mouse, choose Apple icon > System Preferences, click Bluetooth, then verify Bluetooth is on.

Then connect your Mac to power with the AC power adapter. Some external displays, like the LG UltraFine 5K, also charge your Mac. And if you’re using a powerful hub like a Thunderbolt 3 dock that can charge your laptop while in use to connect a monitor, you don’t need to connect the AC power adapter either. Simply put, you need to power your Mac laptop.

And connect your external display or projector to the appropriate port on your Mac. Note that some external displays have a USB cable that needs to be connected to your Mac. You can use a video adapter if necessary. And a USB C hub can meet the above needs all at once as it’ll feature a video port, 2 USB ports for the Keyboard and mouse, and a USB C PD port that can charge your laptop.

After your Mac laptop’s desktop appears on the external display, close its lid. You might have to press a key or click your mouse to wake up the external display. After the monitor takes over the laptop, you can put it on your laptop stand and enjoy your spacious working space.

 For Windows laptops:

You also need to prepare an external keyboard and mouse for your work. And make some settings to keep your laptop not sleeping when closing the lid to use the external monitor.

  1. Go to Control Panel> Power Options, or right-click the Battery icon in the lower right-hand corner of your desktop, then select Power Options.
  2. Click Choose what closing the lid doeson the left side of the Power Options 
  3. In the When I close the lidoptions row, select Do nothing from the drop down box under the On battery and/or Plugged in 
  4. Click Save changesto finish.

Now you can close the lid while still using your external monitor, regardless of whether your laptop is connected to a charger or not. Anyway we recommend plugging your laptop into a charger while using an external monitor so that you don’t need to worry about the battery draining in working. But it may be a better idea to only change the close lid behavior when you want to close your laptop and only use the external monitor. If you choose Do nothing under the On battery column, the laptop will continue to run and become very hot even if the lid is closed. Increased heat can damage your laptop. So remember to put your laptop to sleep when you’re not using it.


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