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How do I connect to a TV with my MacBook Air?

Thankfully, you have some options.

Image: Unsplash

The MacBook Air might be the best option for most people who need an ultra-portable laptop with a huge battery life, but it does come with some trade-offs. The biggest of these? That the thin size of the MacBook Air’s edge makes it physically impossible to put some ports on it, such as the all-important HDMI connector for using your laptop as a presentation tool.

That’s true for any version of the MacBook Air, which comes equipped with Mini DisplayPort, Thunderbolt, USB-C Thunderbolt 3, and even Micro-DVI! That last one is horribly outdated now and hard to find adapters for, so if you own an early MacBook Air with Micro-DVI, it might be worth looking at upgrading. For all the other MacBook Air versions, we’ll show you what you need to use it on the big screen.

So, exactly how do I connect my MacBook Air to a TV?

Short answer: You’ll need a dongle in most cases

If trying to figure out which ports are on the side of your MacBook Air will connect to your TV feels like some arcane mystery, there’s an easy way to figure out what adapters you need. Click on the Apple icon and head to About This Mac. Then navigate to the Support tab, then Specifications, then scroll down to Graphics and Video Support to see the details of the external display ports on your MacBook Air.

You’ll have one of the types of ports below, and we’ve added which adapters and cables you’ll need to use on either your TV or projector:

Mini DisplayPort/Thunderbolt

USB-C Thunderbolt

Direct options for HDMI DisplayPort to HDMI male and VGA male are also available, but they don’t have the best track record for reliability. The same goes for USB-C to VGA male.

Oh, and if you don’t want to deal with wires? Your laptop has AirPlay, for wireless streaming of content to other compatible devices. The easiest one to get? Apple TV.

What do you think? Plan on using your MacBook Air on the TV? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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Maker, meme-r, and unabashed geek with nearly half a decade of blogging experience at KnowTechie, SlashGear and XDA Developers. If it runs on electricity (or even if it doesn't), Joe probably has one around his office somewhere, with particular focus in gadgetry and handheld gaming. Shoot him an email at joe@knowtechie.com.

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