Back to Mobile View

Skip to Content

TUAW Deals

Mac 101: curing multiple-monitor mixups with Detect Displays

More Mac 101, tips for the Mac beginner in you. Lucky dual-monitor users, rejoice -- with that second display on your desk, you're bound to be the productivity envy of the entire office. Just one little problem, though: sometimes your Mac has trouble recognizing that extra real estate, and rebooting every time your resolutions get munged is beginning to get old.

Relax, and check out your mini-menu for monitors over there in the menu bar. See "Detect Displays?" That's your buddy, right there -- it will tell your Mac to recheck the connected monitors and adjust resolutions as needed. Note the model number of the external display shown; if everything's connected as it should be, your Mac should autosense the type and capabilities of the display without any intervention.

For an even quicker trigger on display detection, try Cmd-F2 (brightness up) on your built-in laptop keyboard. Cmd-F1 will toggle display mirroring, also handy in a pinch.

There are several ways other ways to get external displays to behave; the oldest, for laptop users, is to sleep the machine and wake it back up -- this usually triggers a display detection when all else fails. There's also a Detect Displays button in the Displays preference pane.

Also, to answer a reader question from the comments: it's easy to specify which display acts as the primary monitor in a dual-display setup: just drag the teensy proxy menubar from one display to the other, and your menus, drive icons etc. will follow.


Categories

Mac 101

More Mac 101, tips for the Mac beginner in you. Lucky dual-monitor users, rejoice -- with that second display on your desk, you're bound to...