We have a PC and a Mac but only one monitor? Let’s see together how to connect them correctly and switch from one system to another without problems
In the office or at home we can find ourselves in the situation of have a PC and a Mac on the same desk But say have a single monitor to be used by both.
If we use a MacBook the problem is relative since its monitor is integrated (but it is always worth connecting a second monitor to increase productivity), but if we use a Mac Mini or a iMac the monitor will have to be shared both by the desktop PC with Windows and by the Apple devicewith the need to switch from one source to another quickly and easily.
In the following guide we will show you how to use PC and Mac together with a single monitor, taking advantage of both the multiple connections offered by high-end monitors and switches designed to connect the two computers to a single input (for monitors that have a HDMI port only).
To make the guide even more complete we will also show you how to use only one mouse and one keyboard for both PCsso as to minimize the clutter on the desk.
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1) Use multiple monitor inputs
Modern monitors have two or more HDMI ports flanked by one or more DisplayPort inputs. The abundance of ports makes it very easy connect multiple video sources and will allow you to use your PC and Mac together on the same monitor.
In this scenario, just press the key to change the video source on the monitor (source or Input) to switch between desktop environments.
Before doing anything, let’s choose which types of inputs to use for the PC and for the Mac and, only later, can we purchase the cables necessary for the operation.
A standard configuration is to connect the Desktop PC with an HDMI cable and your Mac with the USB-C/DisplayPort cable (also known as a Thunderbolt/DisplayPort cable).
We buy a high speed HDMI cable for the Windows PC and a USB-C/DisplayPort cable for the Mac.
This configuration is preferable because a USB-C port is available on practically any Mac produced in the last 5 years and the Thunderbolt protocol allows you to use the USB cable as a video source, without having to bother with an HDMI port (almost completely absent on MacBooks). .
The second configuration that we recommend you use is using only HDMI cables to connect both your PC and Mac. In this case we will have to make sure that the chosen Mac has an HDMI output (as in the case of the Mac Mini), so that we can only use this type of cable for connections.
For the purpose we can use the HDMI cable for the PC and add this to it high speed HDMI cablemore suited to the colors of the Mac.
The latter configuration suits who mainly uses the desktop PC to playusing the Mac for everything else.
In this case we will have to use a high-speed DisplayPort cable (to connect the dedicated video card of the PC and the monitor) and a USB-C/DisplayPort cable (to be used for the Mac).
If the chosen monitor has only one DisplayPort input we can use one gray high speed HDMI cable to connect the Mac Mini to the monitor’s HDMI input; if we use a MacBook we can use a USB-C/HDMI cable or a USB-C/HDMI adapter for the Mac connection (in the latter case we will also have to buy a gray high speed HDMI cable to make the connection).
2) Use the HDMI switches
We have an old monitor with only one HDMI port available we can still connect both PC and Mac together using one HDMI 2-to-1 switch.
The characteristic of these switches is to be able handle two separate HDMI inputs and to bring them together in a single HDMI cable (to be connected to the monitor); through a special button on the switch we can switch from one source to another quickly.
For this configuration we can use three high speed HDMI cables: one will be used to connect the Mac to the switch, another to connect the PC to the switch and the last HDMI cable will connect the switch to the monitor in our possession.
Obviously we can take advantage of various alternatives such as it DisplayPort switches (for monitors that have only one DisplayPort input) or lo 4K HDMI switch with remote controlso that we can adapt to any situation.
3) Share keyboard and mouse with USB switches
In addition to the monitor may be a good idea share the keyboard and mouseso you can switch between desktop environments with the press of a single key.
For the purpose we can use one 2 in 4 USB switchto which we can connect up to 4 USB devices.
To use this switch, connect the keyboard and mouse to one of the 4 available USB ports and connect the two USB output cables to the Mac and PC; with the simple pressure of the key on the switch we will pass the mouse and the keyboard between the two devices.
By combining the USB switch with one of the methods for managing the monitor (seen in the previous chapters) we will be able manage the two systems intelligentlyswitching from Mac to PC (and vice versa) throughout the day.
By following the suggestions seen in the guide we will be able to use PC and Mac together with one monitortaking advantage of the multiple inputs of the monitor itself or relying on the switch for dedicated video inputs.
Whatever method you choose to connect your devices we also suggest using a USB switchso as to be able to manage the keyboard and mouse on both using a single keyboard and a single mouse, with the possibility of sharing other USB devices (such as the webcam).
Still on the subject of monitors to connect to the computer, we can read our guides on how to connect two monitors to pc come on How to connect a monitor to a laptop.