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Ask Max: Can I Use an Apple Display with My iBook?

Asked on 06/21/2006:

I want to do some film editing using my iBook but the screen is too small -- 12". If I get an Apple monitor and hook it up to my laptop using a USB or FireWire cable will I be able to use the monitor as my screen instead during the editing process?


The iBook is the only current Mac computer that will not support an Apple display. Apple displays use a DVI connection, and because the iBook only has VGA-out support, you will have to use a non-Apple display. The good news is that VGA displays are common and often cheaper than the Apple displays, just not as sharp. You will need an adapter to connect a VGA display to your iBook. The iBook uses a Mini VGA connection so if your iBook did not come with one you will need to buy an Apple "Mini VGA to VGA Adapter" (PN M8639G/A) as well. I would also recommend that you buy a USB keyboard and mouse to place in front of the new display. The iBook, by default, will only allow you to run a display at 1024 x 768 resolution, which is no bigger than the iBook's screen. Also, the iBook only supports mirroring mode, so both displays will show the same images.

There is a free tool that will let you change this limitation on your iBook, but it is NOT supported by Apple in any way. Found here, Screen Spanning Doctor (SSD) will allow you to run a display up to a 1920 X 1200 resolution. Also you can run in spanning mode, which will split your desktop between the external display and the iBook's display. Please use caution when using SSD and read through the support documentation found on the site.

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