Mac display only shows background

You can still run a single external monitor if you close the lid of your laptop, but that restricts airflow and exposes your display to a lot of heat. Not good.

Change your desktop picture from System Preferences

Now drag the laptop's screen down a bit, so it's diagonally connected, instead of horizontally. And you're done. There are more than a few benefits to this. One is that if you're playing a fullscreen game, you won't risk losing your cursor off to the left or right of the screen. Well, you minimize it, at least.

If you lose it in the bottom left corner, you're probably going to die horribly before you get it back. But it's much, buch better, at least. Another is that if you keep your Dock on the left side of your screen on your laptop, it will be there on your external monitor. That's especially useful if you're, say, dragging an image from your desktop or a folder onto an icon on your Dock, like Photoshop. And if you use any third party software to get Windows' Snap functionality, you can snap to either half of your screen again.


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Now that you have your new monitor connected and detected, you may want to set it as your primary desktop. This will make it so that your menu bar, dock, and desktop as well as everything on your desktop are displayed on the external monitor instead of on your Mac's screen.

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Both screens will automatically refresh to the new configuration. If you don't like the resolution of your second monitor, you can change it from the default to a scaled version that's better suited to your needs. Though, I always find that the default ends up being the best, so if you're unsure, just stick with that.

On your external monitor's settings, just make sure Display is selected, then change "Default for display" to "Scaled" and choose your preferred resolution. Some people, like graphic designers, like to have their second monitor in a vertical position vs.

hdmi only shows desktop background mac - Apple Community

If your monitor is equipped to rotate between vertical and landscape orientations, and you want the vertical look, you'll need to make sure your settings are adjusted as such. On your external monitor's settings, just make sure Display is selected, then change Rotation to whatever you need it to be.

Alternatively, you can enable Mirror Displays just check the box next to it to have your external display show the exact same thing that appears on your Mac's screen. This will cut off part of the photo if its size ratio is different from your screen. Fit to screen: Enlarges photo to fill the height of the screen. Narrow photos will have black borders on either side. Wide photos will have the sides cut off. Stretch to fill screen: Distorts photo to fill entire screen with no cut offs.

Center: Places photo in center of screen surrounded by a solid color. Tile: Repeats image in grid to fill screen. In OS If you choose an option that doesn't fill the screen, a button will appear to the right of the drop-down menu. Click this to change the color of the border. Turn your desktop into a slideshow. Under the image pane, check "Change picture" to cycle between all images in the selected folder. Change how often the picture changes with the drop-down menu.

How to change the desktop and screen saver on your Mac

By default, this will cycle in the order the images are placed in the folder. Check "Random order" to change this. Change the menu bar appearance.


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  • Check "Translucent menu bar" if you want the background visible "behind" the top menu bar. Uncheck it if you prefer an opaque bar.

    Tips & Tricks On How To Fix Apple iMac Macbook Air Pro Grey Display White Screen Sudden Death 2017

    This option is not available for all computers. I seem to have slid my wallpaper back to an earlier choice. How do I get my current choice back? Go to the "Apple" logo on the top of your screen.


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    • If the display image is blank or unusable!
    • From there, go to "System Preferences. Yes No. Not Helpful 0 Helpful 0.

      Only background shows up on Mac

      Every time I restart my computer, the background returns to the default setting. How can I make my changes stick? You may need to click the lock and enter an admin password first. If this doesn't fix the problem, post on the apple support forums and someone will guide you through some more advanced solutions.

      Not Helpful 1 Helpful 0. Include your email address to get a message when this question is answered. Already answered Not a question Bad question Other. By using this service, some information may be shared with YouTube. Apple recommends using photos at least x pixels in size. Related wikiHows.

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