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iGBHow-toHow to use your MacBook in clamshell mode (Lid closed)

How to use your MacBook in clamshell mode (Lid closed)

MacBook clamshell mode has been around for quite some time. Clamshell mode is often called closed lid mode. It’s a unique way to get the most out of the compact yet powerful Macs. You get to have the desktop experience while practically keeping the mobility of the Macs intact.  

The clamshell mode is extremely helpful for people using Macs for work and entertainment purposes. Once you start using MacBook in clamshell mode, there’s no turning back. You can enjoy the power of Macs on bigger, better high-resolution displays. If you also want to utilize the powerful Mac and set up a productive desktop experience, then here’s a guide to how you can use your MacBook in clamshell mode. But before we delve deeper, let’s get a few bases covered.

What is clamshell mode on Mac?

Clamshell mode is when you can use your Mac as usual, even with the lid closed. It is helpful when you are multitasking in different windows of your Mac and are also using the machine for both work and leisure-time purposes. Switching to a bigger display reduces strain on the eyes, thereby enabling a smoother experience if you work long hours.

While the clamshell mode is mainly about keeping your MacBook display closed, it’s important to make a note of the Macs that support this feature and the accessories required to set up the same.

Clamshell mode supported MacBooks

  • On MacBook Air, 13-inch MacBook Pro, iMac, and Mac mini, you can connect one external display using either of the Thunderbolt/USB 4 ports.
  • On the iMac, you can connect to either of the ports with the Thunderbolt symbol.

Accessories required

  • External Monitor
  • Keyboard and mouse
  • Thunderbolt cable
  • Thunderbolt to HDMI converter

How to connect MacBook to monitor while lid closed

If you have never done this in the past, here are some simple steps you can perform to connect your MacBook to clamshell mode.  

  1. Make sure you’ve plugged in your MacBook for charging. Using clamshell mode is almost impossible without connecting the adapter to your Mac.
  2. Connect your MacBook and external monitor with a Thunderbolt cable.
  3. Then connect a keyboard and a mouse to your MacBook. The keyboard and mouse could be either wired or wireless.
  4. Now once you have got things set up and the MacBook’s screen is displayed on the external monitor, just close the MacBook’s lid

Voila! You’re set.

If you don’t already have everything set up, here are the things you will need to do before using your MacBook in clamshell mode: 

Connect your external monitor using the appropriate cables for your MacBook (or hub). After connecting your external monitor, your monitor may prompt you to choose a few settings.

For better monitor setup and to make changes in display preferences, go to System PreferencesDisplays


That’s pretty much it. The clamshell mode can turn your usual MacBook into an awesome workstation in a snap. Tell me in the comments below if it was of any use to you! Here are a few more reads that can enhance your Macbook experience.

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  • Keval

    My profile will tell you I am a content writer, and my Zodiac will tell you I am Tauras. But the truth is I am a Techofile who dived down the bed of tech sea discovering useful How-Tos and some gorgeous wallpapers. While you are here reading this, I am probably tweeting about tech. Go check that as well.

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