Best macbook air monitors: Best Mac Monitors & Displays 2023

Best monitors for the MacBook Air

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Caleb Clark

The M1 MacBook Air was met with universal praise when it launched at the tail end of 2020. However, the M1 Macbook Air has one major drawback, at least for right now: It only supports one external monitor. That’s a problem that would be addressed with the new MacBook Pros. Most productivity pros and video professionals will opt for those devices anyway, so it isn’t a big deal for most users. It does mean that the monitor you pick is more important than ever, though.

So with that, here are the best monitors you can get for the MacBook Air. If you’re still trying to decide between the M1 MacBook Air and 13-inch M1 MacBook Pro, be sure to check out our comparison between the two. And if you’re looking for accessories for the new iMac, we have a roundup for that too.

Dell P3222QE 32-inch 4K USB-C Hub Monitor

A great display with a hub built-in

Jump to details

Apple Studio Display

The premium selection from Apple

Jump to details

Samsung M8 Smart Monitor

The Studio Display alternative

Jump to details

BenQ PD3220U

Best for color accuracy

Jump to details

BenQ Mobiuz EX3410R

An affordable curved display

Jump to details

Acer Nitro VG271

A solid budget option

Jump to details

Apple iPad Air 5

Sidecar and Universal Control makes the iPad Air a versatile display

Jump to details

Niels Broekhuijsen/Digital Trends

Dell P3222QE 32-inch 4K USB-C Hub Monitor

A great display with a hub built-in


  • Excellent connectivity options
  • Great IPS picture quality
  • Sturdy, modern construction
  • Large 4K panel
  • Superb warranty


  • Expensive
  • No wide-gamut color space

Why should you buy this: It has one of the best built-in USB-C hubs.

Who’s it for: Multitaskers who need a monitor to keep up with many devices, including MacBook Airs.

Why we picked the Dell P3222QE:

The M1 Macbook Air is great, but it does have one major drawback: It only has two Thunderbolt 4 ports. That makes a dongle all but necessary if you want to plug in any accessories or peripherals.

That’s why the P3222QE is such a great monitor specifically for the Macbook Air. It has a USB-C hub built into the chassis and includes an HDMI port, a DisplayPort input, a USB-C port, and three USB-A ports.

Combine that with the monitor’s crisp 4K resolution and elegant design, and it feels like this monitor was made with the Macbook Air in mind.

Dell P3222QE 32-inch 4K USB-C Hub Monitor

A great display with a hub built-in

Apple Studio Display

The premium selection from Apple


  • Vivid 5K display
  • Solid amount of I/O
  • Impressive audio
  • Amazing color accuracy
  • Gorgeous design


  • Power cable is not detachable
  • You have to pay extra for a height-adjustable stand
  • Expensive

Why should you buy this: Apple’s own display is unparalleled when it comes to color and detail.

Who’s it for: Serious creatives who are willing to drop a lot of money on a display (and don’t want 8K).

Why we picked the Apple Studio Display:

Apple’s own Studio Display is an obvious pick for the Macbook Air. It’s very similar to the LG UltraFine 5K monitor but with some Apple-specific features. For one, the Studio Display has a great speaker setup that outperforms basically every other monitor’s built-in speakers.

The image and color accuracy are excellent as well, though you are paying the Apple tax to get it, and that’s probably the biggest downside to this monitor. For all its great features, there are a lot of displays that offer similar experiences for a much lower cost.

However, if you’re sold on Apple’s products, the Studio Display is an obvious choice.

Apple Studio Display

The premium selection from Apple

Samsung M8 Smart Monitor

The Studio Display alternative


  • Sleek, Mac-like design
  • Smart monitor and smart home functionality
  • Cool color variants


  • Included webcam is a bit awkward

Why should you buy this: It has a similar design to Studio monitors, but at more affordable prices.

Who’s it for: Those with a connected home who want an Apple-friendly monitor to hook up their laptop to.

Why we picked the Samsung M8 Smart Monitor:

Samsung’s M-series monitors have always been great options for the Macbook Air, but the new M8 brings the compatibility to a whole new level. For one, the monitor has been redesigned to closely resemble the new iMacs and Studio Display. That’s great if you love the aesthetic of Apple’s lineup but don’t want to shell out the money.

The Studio Display has the M8 beat on built-in audio and I/O, but the M8’s dual function as a SmartTV and smart home hub definitely makes it an appealing option. The M8 natively supports AirPlay, which lets it tie seamlessly into your Apple ecosystem. It also includes a height- and tilt-adjustable stand (which you have to pay for on the Studio Display).

At half the cost of the Studio Display, the M8 is well worth looking at for a clean, Apple-like experience.

Samsung M8 Smart Monitor

The Studio Display alternative

BenQ PD3220U

Best for color accuracy


  • Simple, minimalist design
  • Great stand adjustments
  • Accurate colors
  • Easy-to-use menu
  • Good port selection


  • Thick cabinet
  • Confusing color modes
  • Expensive

Why should you buy this: It has a large screen and great color calibration.

Who’s it for: Those looking for a color-accurate monitor with professional features.

Why we picked the BenQ PD3220U:

BenQ promotes the PD3220U as “Mac ready” and backs that claim up. This is without a doubt one of the best monitors to get for your MacBook Air. It’s a large 32-inch 4K HDR display, and the bezels are thin to maximize the screen real estate.

The PD3220U also comes out of the box calibrated for maximum color accuracy (it covers 95% of the DCI-P3 space). Along with that, it has convenient connection options through Thunderbolt3 as well as HDMI and DisplayPort. Combine that with flicker-free tech and blue light filters, and you have a monitor that looks great and is comfortable to view for hours.

It comes at a premium, but we think BenQ has made something that is great for any Mac user, including those with the MacBook Air.

BenQ PD3220U

Best for color accuracy

Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

BenQ Mobiuz EX3410R

An affordable curved display


  • Bright, vibrant colors
  • Solid DisplayHDR 400 performance
  • Excellent integrated speakers
  • Automatic source/preset mapping
  • Included remote
  • Decent overdrive settings


  • Menu is a little clunky
  • Not well-suited for color work

Why should you buy this: It’s a gaming-friendly monitor with a ton of screen space.

Who’s it for: MacBook Air users who also like to game or who need a big, curved ultrawide to manage complex projects.

Why we picked the BenQ Mobiuz EX3410R:

Ultrawide monitors are growing more popular every year, and the aspect ratio is ideal for a Mac setup.

The BenQ Mobiuz EX3410R is a great ultrawide option thanks to its curved display, vibrant colors, and solid speaker array. The display also has DisplayHDR 400, though the colors are not as accurate as other options on this list.

It also has a bit of a gamer aesthetic, which may be a turn-off if you’re more interested in the clean and minimal design of Apple’s products.

However, for $600, the BenQ Mobiuz EX3410R is an excellent option for those looking for a solid productivity monitor.

BenQ Mobiuz EX3410R

An affordable curved display

Acer Nitro VG271

A solid budget option


  • 144Hz refresh rate
  • Affordable
  • Solid viewing angles


  • Only 1080p

Why should you buy this: It’s a more affordable choice that still has solid features.

Who’s it for: Those looking to save money on accessories but can’t skimp on refresh rate.

Why we picked the *Acer Nitro VG271:

If you’re looking for a monitor that isn’t almost as much as the MacBook Air itself, the Acer Nitro VG271 is a solid choice. It’s only 1080p, so it won’t be as crisp as the other options on this list, but at just $200, it’s hard to complain.

However, you do get a higher 144Hz refresh rate and some great viewing angles on the display. The stand is sturdy too, though it still has a gaming aesthetic. It has two HDMI ports and a DisplayPort, so you will need a dongle to connect to this monitor. But if you’re just looking for something to enhance the size of your Mac display, you won’t be disappointed by this option.

Acer Nitro VG271

A solid budget option

Digital Trends

Apple iPad Air 5

Sidecar and Universal Control makes the iPad Air a versatile display


  • Includes the M1 chip
  • Sleek industrial design
  • $599 makes it just as much as some monitors


  • Its 10. 9-inch display is a bit small for a second monitor

Why should you buy this: It works perfectly with MacBooks if you need a second screen.

Who’s it for: Those who don’t mind a smaller second screen that also has plenty of independent uses.

Why we picked the Apple iPad Air 5:

A bit unconventional, but iPads make great external displays thanks to Sidecar. This is a great solution if you’re looking for an external monitor for travel or while you’re at a coffee shop. You can activate Sidecar the way you would use AirPlay any other time from your Mac.

The new iPad Air 4 is a great contender for a portable monitor that functions as a secondary device. With a 10.9-inch display and a 2360 x 1640 resolution, it looks great and easily fits into a bag with your MacBook Air.

Other portable monitors can be clunky and inconvenient to carry around, which defeats the whole point. The iPad Air 4 combined with Sidecar is a great option thanks to its awesome battery life and thin profile, especially if you already have one lying around.

Universal Control also allows users to control an iPad and Mac from the same mouse and keyboard. While it wouldn’t technically be a second display, this is still a great feature if you find yourself hopping between two devices a lot.

Apple iPad Air 5

Sidecar and Universal Control makes the iPad Air a versatile display

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you use any monitor with a MacBook Air?

Yes! As long as you have the right cable or dongle with the proper connector, you can connect any monitor to the MacBook Air.

How do I display my MacBook Air on a monitor?

There are a few ways you can connect your MacBook Air to an external monitor. The most obvious way is to connect it via cable. This is as simple as getting a dongle or matching cable and hooking it into your monitor.

There is also a wireless option. If you have an Apple TV or an AirPlay-compatible monitor, you can actually cast your screen via AirPlay. Make sure both devices are connected to the same network, then click on the AirPlay button (the box with an arrow pointing inward) in your menu bar. Select your AppleTV or monitor, and your screen will automatically mirror to the device. If you want the monitor to be a secondary display, be sure to click Use as separate display in the AirPlay menu.

What cable do I need to connect my MacBook Air to a monitor?

The MacBook Air only comes with two Thunderbolt/USB 4 ports. That means your monitor will either need a Thunderbolt port or you will need a dongle with a matching port to your monitor. For modern monitors, that means you will want to get a dongle with an HDMI or DisplayPort.

To output to 4K or higher, you will want at least an HDMI 2.0 or DisplayPort 1.4 cable. Alternatively, USB-C and Thunderbolt 3/4 cables can support 4K too.

Can you use a MacBook Air with a TV?

Most TVs have HDMI, so the HDMI adapter option we mentioned above should work with them as well. But that can be a trial with short cables. If you have an Apple TV connected to your TV, you can use its AirPlay capabilities to mirror your MacBook onto the screen.

What if the monitor display isn’t in focus or has the wrong image?

On your MacBook Air, go to System preferences and visit the Displays section. With an external monitor connected, you should be able to see its settings here. You can choose if you want an extended display, adjust the brightness and color profile, adjust according to orientation, and more. If you’re using a scaled resolution, hold down the Option key while selecting the Scaled option, and you should see a number of resolutions you can set manually.

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Best monitors for the MacBook Air (M2)

João Carrasqueira


Want to add a second monitor to your MacBook Air? Here are some great options you can choose from if you need more space to work.

Apple’s latest MacBook Air is a fantastic laptop, featuring an all-new design, an upgraded M2 processor, and other welcome improvements. There’s also a new 15-inch model Apple announced at WWDC 2023, which is that much better for productivity and multitasking thanks to the larger screen. Even then, though, having a second screen can go a long way in making you more productive. We’re here to help with that, and we’ve rounded up some of the best monitors you can buy for the 2022 MacBook Air across a few different price points.

We should mention that the MacBook Air doesn’t let you connect more than one external display at a time, regardless of the resolution. This is a limitation of the Apple M2 processor, just as it was with the M1. It can hinder productivity in some cases, but a single external display already helps a lot, so it’s worth looking at the options you have. Let’s get into it.

  • ASUS ProArt PA278CV 27-inch WQHD Monitor

    Editor’s Choice

    ASUS’ ProArt PA278CV is one of the best value for money monitors you can buy. It comes in Quad HD resolution, it covers 100% of Rec. 709 and sRGB, it has Delta E<2 color accuracy, and a 75Hz refresh rate. Plus, it also connects using a single USB-C cable.

    $316 at Amazon $317 at B&H

  • Apple Studio Display

    Premium Pick

    Apple’s official Studio Display is another premium expensive option with a lot to offer. It’s a 5K panel with 600 nits of brightness, P3 Wide Color (with multiple color profiles available), and it includes things like a 12MP camera and a powerful six-speaker setup.

    $1600 at Best Buy $1549 at Amazon

  • Samsung Smart Monitor M70B

    More than a screen

    $300 $400 Save $100

    This Samsung monitor is very unique because not only is it a solid 4K screen for getting work done, it has Samsung’s smart TV UI, meaning you can use apps like Netflix, Apple TV, and so on even when you don’t have MacBook Air connected to it.

    $300 at Best Buy $300 at Samsung

  • Sceptre E248W-19203R 

    Best Value

    If you want a true budget option, this model from Sceptre is solid, featuring Full HD resolution and a 75Hz refresh rate. One great thing about it is it also has built-in speakers, which is very rare for this price point. You’ll need a USB-C to HDMI adapter, though.

    $99 at Amazon

  • Acer SB220Q

    Extra cheap

    If you want to pass on the built-in speakers, the Acer SB220Q is an even cheaper monitor that still has Full HD resolution and a 75Hz refresh rate. It’s a little smaller, too, and just like the previous one, you’ll need an adapter to output to HDMI from the MacBook Air.

    $89 at Amazon

  • Apple Pro Display XDR

    For the most demanding users

    There are good monitors out there, but not many can compare to the Apple Pro Display XDR. This 32-inch monitor comes in a whopping 6K resolution and it uses mini LEDs to provide what Apple calls XDR. With 1600 nits of peak brightness, a 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio, and P3 Wide Color, this is an incredible monitor. Of course, it costs nearly $6,000, so that’s what you’d expect.

    $4999 at Amazon $5000 at Best Buy

  • Samsung S65UA Ultra WQHD Monitor

    Expansive workspace

    Only being able to connect one display makes it a little harder to multitask, but you can work around it by using an ultra-wide monitor. This one from Samsung has a very sharp WQHD resolution and a 100Hz refresh rate, plus it connects using a single USB-C cable and it can even charge your laptop at the same time. It’s curved, too, so it’s more comfortable to use.

    $700 at Samsung

  • Source: Arzopa

    Arzopa Portable Monitor

    Work from anywhere

    Want to live the dual-screen life away from home? This Arzopa portable monitor is very similar in size and resolution to the MacBook Air (plus a 1,000:1 contrast ratio that’s rare for a portable monitor), making it the perfect pair for on-the-go productivity. It connects with a single USB-C cable that also powers the display, so it’s easy to set up and use wherever you need to.

    $158 at Amazon

And those are some of the best monitors we recommend if you need something to go with your new MacBook Air. Obviously, the more expensive ones tend to be technically better, but the different price ranges here let you choose what fulfills your needs the best without having to spend too much. Personally speaking, the Samsung Smart Monitor M7 (M70B) would be a very tempting option for its sharp resolution and everything it can do without a laptop connected to it.

Whether you have the 13-inch MacBook Air or the 15-inch model, both powered by the M2 processor, these monitors are a great companion for your laptop. They also work with the 2020 MacBook Air if you still have one of those. If you don’t have one of these laptops, you can buy them below.

MacBook Air (M2)

The latest MacBook Air model is powered by the fast and efficient M2 processor, in addition to having a great display. It comes in both 13-inch and 15-inch models, both of which are sharp and vibrant.

$1299 at Best Buy (15 inches)

Apple MacBook Air (M1, 2020)

The 2022 MacBook Air is powered by the new Apple M2 chip, plus it has a new taller display and an all-new design.

$849 at Amazon $1000 at Best Buy $999 at B&H

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About The Author

I’ve been covering the tech world since 2018, and I love computers, phones, and – above all that – Nintendo videogames, which I’m always happy to talk about.

Pro Display XDR Monitor – Apple (UK)

Just look.

World’s first 32″ Retina 6K monitor. Brightness up to 1600 cd/m². Astounding 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio and ultra-wide viewing angle. Over a billion colors rendered with exceptional fidelity. And a dynamic range that completely redefines the professional workflow. Introducing the Apple Pro Display XDR, the ideal monitor for professionals.

XDR. Extreme dynamic range.

The ability of the human eye to distinguish details in very bright and very dim light exceeds that of conventional displays. That’s why High Dynamic Range (HDR) technology was born. The Pro Display XDR monitor with innovative backlighting takes the next step forward and takes brightness, contrast and color performance to a whole new level. This is much more than HDR. We call this Extreme Dynamic Range – XDR.

Your projects will become brighter.

Conventional desktop monitors have a continuous brightness of about 350 cd/m². Some professional monitors exceed this limit, but most can only maintain high brightness levels for a short period of time. Pro Display XDR maintains a constant brightness of 1000 cd/m² across the entire screen and 1600 cd/m² in peak mode 1 to achieve extreme brightness without any dimming. Together with an efficient backlight system, this provides incredible contrast between the brightest highlights and the deepest blacks. The result is an impressive 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio and stunningly lifelike XDR images.

1000 cd/m²
constant brightness over the entire screen area

1600 cd/m²
peak brightness


Show color.

Pro Display XDR displays your work in true color. The P3 wide color gamut provides a color palette for strikingly colorful images. With true-to-life 10-bit color reproduction, Pro Display XDR can reproduce over a billion colors with incredible fidelity, while advanced calibration technology and a sophisticated algorithm ensure the highest color quality.

color depth

wide color gamut

LED lighting in a new light.

Realistic images require very bright areas and very dark areas to coexist on the monitor. Without fine-grained backlight control, this can lead to unnecessary glow around objects – highlights. With advanced LEDs, light management technologies, and intelligent image processing, Pro Display XDR is able to significantly reduce glare.

  • Innovation in every layer.
  • 576 blue LEDs work together.
  • The light is mixed and distributed.
  • The color is transformed.
  • Brightness all the way.
  • And all thanks to one processor.


Light mixing and distribution

Color Conversion Plate

Microlens Array


Innovation in every layer.

All parts of the Pro Display XDR imaging system
are of great importance for the overall quality of the picture on the screen. Each element complements the work
previous, creating a monitor with incredible brightness and contrast.

576 blue LEDs work together.

Uses ribbon to backlight conventional LCDs
with white LEDs, located at the edges of the screen. 2D lighting system in Pro Display XDR
arranged differently. It uses an array of 576 very bright blue LEDs to provide
much better backlight control compared to white LEDs. twelve controllers
instantly adjust the brightness of each LED, as a result of which the screen can simultaneously be
both very bright and very dark areas. All this provides amazing contrast, which
distinguishes XDR technology.

Light is mixed and distributed.

To make the backlight work even more precisely, the light from each diode
passes through a reflective layer, special lenses and a reflector with an optimized geometry. Such
design only applies to Pro Display XDR. Thanks to it, light is reflected, mixed and received
desired shape between two coats to minimize glare and ensure uniform illumination.

Color is being converted.

Converting blue light to white is a complex process,
requiring extreme precision. This is why most display manufacturers use white
LEDs. In Pro Display XDR this issue is solved differently – with the help of the original plate
color transformation, made from hundreds of layers that control the light passing through them

Brightness to the very edge.

Pro Display XDR delivers exceptional performance
images even at the very edge of the screen. To mix the light of the extreme rows of diodes with the light of neighboring
Diodes use an array of microlenses that amplifies the light at the edges of the display. This allows you to get
uniform color and brightness across the screen.

And all thanks to one processor.

The Timing Controller Processor (TCON) has a huge
computing power and uses an algorithm specifically designed to analyze and reproduce
images. The LED driving speed is more than 10 times faster than the refresh rate of the
LCD display, which reduces latency and glare. The controller supports various refresh rates,
making playback remarkably smooth. TCON controls not only the matrix of LEDs, but also the pixels
LCD display, fine-tuning light and color to present the results of your work with stunning

  • Innovation in every layer.
  • 576 blue LEDs work together.
  • The light is mixed and distributed.
  • The color is transformed.
  • Brightness all the way.
  • And all thanks to one processor.

Ultra wide viewing angle.

When several people look at the screen together, it is very important that they all see the same thing. Most professional desktop monitor manufacturers advertise wide viewing angles. However, if these displays are viewed at an angle, color reproduction and image quality may be worse. The Pro Display XDR monitor features industry-leading polarization technology that delivers color accuracy and contrast with an ultra-wide viewing angle.

Viewing contrast
at an angle up to
25 times
higher than
with normal LCD

Glass with nanotexture.

Light is diffused to further reduce glare.

Glare does not shine for you.

Every Pro Display XDR monitor features incredibly low reflectivity. And for use in particularly adverse lighting conditions, a unique new matte version with nano-textured glass processing has been developed. A coating is applied to the surface of ordinary matte screens, which scatters light. However, this coating not only reduces contrast but also causes unwanted dullness and sparkle. The nanotexture of Pro Display XDR is actually etched into the glass using a special technology. The result is a screen with excellent image quality and high contrast that diffuses light to reduce glare to an absolute minimum.

Support your workflow.

Professionals place very high demands on displays. But each user has their own individual requirements: resolution, reference modes, reliable calibration. Pro Display XDR has everything you need to meet today’s challenges and reach new levels of efficiency. This monitor is not just built for professional workflows. He completely changes them.




Retina 6K. Look wider.

Higher resolution is not just a higher quality image. The Pro Display XDR with Retina 6K display provides nearly 40% more screen real estate than a 5K monitor. The maximum pixel density for most standard displays is around 150 ppi, while our Retina display has a density of 218 ppi. This makes the image astonishingly sharp and detailed, and gives you a huge creative space that will easily fit your 4K content, along with your tools and more.

Retina 6K Display

On set.

From the moment you start shooting, the Pro Display XDR displays your footage with incredible fidelity.


Consistent image reproduction throughout the workflow ensures everyone is on the same wavelength.

Reference modes.

The Pro Display XDR can be easily configured to meet your requirements for HDR, HD and SD video, digital cinema, and other applications such as photography, web development, design, and printing. Simply select a mode and the monitor will automatically adjust to your color space, white balance, gamma, and brightness. You even have the ability to create custom reference modes.

True Tone.

Ambient lighting conditions can affect how you perceive colors on a screen. True Tone technology in Pro Display XDR uses an advanced dual ambient light sensor to better detect general lighting conditions. One sensor is located in the front, and the second one is in the back. This makes it easier to fine-tune the display’s color reproduction and brightness to ensure that the image is read correctly in all conditions.

Professional calibration.

9The 0002 Pro Display XDR is well-stocked to meet the standards of creative professionals. All monitors undergo a high-tech color calibration procedure. Each of the display’s 576 LEDs is individually calibrated and stored with a different profile. A special algorithm is then connected to the case, which uses this information to determine the exact intensity of each LED in order to obtain the best possible image.

Much more than a pretty picture.

9The 0002 Pro Display XDR is great in every way. An edge-to-edge screen with a thin 9mm bezel keeps your eyes on the project you’re working on. And its just 2.5cm thick aluminum body uses an innovative lattice pattern to reduce weight and increase airflow.

More air than metal.

The grid pattern has many advantages. It more than doubles the surface area that is blown by air, facilitating its inflow and removal of heat. This provides fast and silent cooling, so Pro Display XDR can maintain its highest brightness levels indefinitely. The inlet and outlet vents that make up the grille draw in cold air and remove hot air from the system, limiting the possibility of re-sucking hot air.

New turn. And a new level.

Every aspect of the Pro Display XDR is designed for professional use. And the Pro Stand is no exception. Height, tilt, rotation – all this can be customized. The stand is exceptionally stable and does not take up much space. And the ability to rotate the monitor horizontally or vertically makes it ideal for any work task.

High professionalism in every movement.

The Pro Stand allows you to move the monitor smoothly. Precise tilt selection and 120mm height adjustment help Pro Display XDR adjust to any viewing environment. The angle of the monitor does not change even when the height is adjusted. With the Pro Stand, the monitor feels weightless. You can easily change its position, and it will lock securely.

Beautiful, whatever one may say.

Pro Stand allows you to quickly move the monitor to a horizontal or vertical position. It is enough to unlock the slider and rotate the monitor. Developers, photographers, composers, and anyone else who is more comfortable working with a vertical screen will be able to see more without endless scrolling.

Easy to remove. Easy to put.

Being able to move freely between the set and the studio can play an important role in your work. The Pro Stand magnetic connector allows you to easily attach and detach the stand from the opposite polarity magnet on the back of the Pro Display XDR. Magnets guide the latches to the desired position, after which they automatically snap into place and securely fix the monitor to the stand. And to remove the monitor, just unlock the slider.

VESA mounting adapter available.

Many professionals have their own way of installing a monitor. For such cases, there is a VESA mounting adapter – it attaches to the display in seconds. Fast and convenient.

Will be an excellent partner.

Connect Pro Display XDR to your Mac Pro for a powerful workstation. Or connect it to another Mac with a Thunderbolt 3 port. 2

Pro Display XDR in your workplace.

Open this page on your iPhone or iPad to see the monitor in augmented reality.

Look in augmented reality

Look in augmented reality

Just a monster

Learn more about Mac Pro

Best Audio Interfaces for Mac in 2023

Sleek looks and the Mac OS have long been associated with the creative world, whether it’s music production, graphic design or cinematography. And while PCs are closing the gap in terms of reliability and functionality, when it comes to making music, the Mac is still considered a purebred machine.

This is partly due to the fact that these machines connect to the computer in a plug-and-play manner. Mac users don’t have to worry about the components inside the box not interacting with each other. Everything just works. So you can spend less time researching which graphics card works best with which motherboard and more time focusing on music.

And if you’re into music, you need a way to input and output sound from your computer without losing quality. An audio interface comes to the rescue.

Now what?

What is an audio interface for Mac?

Simply put, an audio interface for mac (or even for PC) is a device that connects to a computer and allows you to output sound to it. Audio interfaces connect via USB, Thunderbolt and (if you live in the past) Firewire. Some of them have multiple connection options, providing more flexibility.

For a more detailed guide to audio interfaces, see
find in this article.
But read it later. Do you want to know more about audio interfaces for Mac?

All Macs come with some sort of audio interface in the form of a sound card. This is how you hear the weird frog sound when you receive notifications or talk to people during Zoom calls (other video conferences are available).

The input and output quality of these built-in sound cards is not very good. That’s fine if you’re checking your Discover Weekly on a Monday morning, but not what you need when you’re trying to record an amazing acoustic guitar piece you’ve just written.

But do I really need an audio interface?

Okay, maybe you’re recording a non-acoustic guitar. Or vocals. Or something else. You are the sample master and everything is produced out of the box. Cool. You can simply plug your “phones” into the built-in headphone jack found on all macs, and that’s it!

But if you want the best for your music (and why not, crazy bear!), you want to hear it at its full sonic potential. You can’t connect your trusty near field monitors to a sound card.

And what happens if you decide that you really need to record vocals? Or connect a midi keyboard? Or take your music to the live arena, à la Deadmau5?

For all this and more, you’ll need an external audio interface.

So, what is the best audio interface for Mac computers?

Hold on, cowboy! There are a number of considerations to consider when choosing an audio interface. But for impatient readers, here’s a quick look at the best audio interfaces for mac users:0005

  • Presonus Audiobox USB 96 ($100)
  • Focusrite Scarlett Solo Gen 3 USB Audio Interface ($120)
  • MOTU M2 2×2 USB-C Audio Interface ($200)
  • M-Audio AIR 192|8 USB audio interface ($240)
  • Solid State Logic SSL2 2×2 USB Audio Interface ($270)
  • iConnectivity AUDIO4c Dual USB-C audio and MIDI interface ($400)
  • Universal Audio Apollo Twin X Duo ($1200)
  • Steinberg AXR4T 28×24 Thunderbolt ($2500)
  • Audio interface Universal Audio Apollo x8 Heritage Edition 16 x 22 Thunderbolt 3 ($3800)
  • Avid Pro Tools Carbon ($4000)

(Please note that all prices are approximate and may vary from seller to seller).

There are so many! How to choose an audio interface?

The choice of interface for mac depends on many factors, and not just what kind of music you create. First of all, let’s talk about money.


Do not get into financial difficulties when buying equipment. Any equipment, not just audio interfaces. While there is some value in making a purchase with an eye on the future so that you can grow, you won’t make better music if you’re stressed about money.

Therefore, decide in advance what your budget will be when buying an audio interface. There are so many brands and models on the market that you will have plenty to choose from, no matter your requirements. And you can always improve your equipment as you work.

Other Considerations

So, the financial dad has spoken. Now let’s move on to nuts and bolts. What else you need to pay attention to in the interface?

I’ve covered this in detail in another article, but here’s a quick reminder of what you need to think about when choosing an audio interface:

  • Number of inputs/outputs
  • Headphone outputs
  • Communication
  • Sound quality and sample rate
  • Mic preamps
  • Possibility to connect MIDI
  • Portability
  • Included software packages

10 Best Audio Interfaces for Mac


Audio interface MOTU M2 2×2 USB-C

This USB audio interface from Mark Of The Unicorn offers high quality sound at a price that even the budget-conscious musician can afford. Designed with portability in mind, this bus-powered interface for mac offers everything a solo musician or producer needs to make music in the studio or on the go.

Most of the tools that need frequent access are located on the front of the device. Two of the inputs can handle lines or mics, and the phantom power switch for each is easily accessible next to the inputs. Zero latency monitoring is available via a one-touch button, also located on the front panel.

A color LED metering display allows the user to easily monitor input and output signal levels, a feature not available on all audio interfaces.

The rear panel features two analog monitor outputs – line and RCA – as well as a convenient MIDI connection.

The package includes 6 GB of loops and sounds, as well as Ableton Live Lite.

Notable Features
  • Loopback functionality for live streaming and podcasting
  • Zero Latency Monitoring
  • Rugged and portable, for the traveling musician or podcaster
  • Includes MIDI 9 interface0038

  • Only two entrances
My verdict is

If you are looking to purchase your first audio interface, the MOTU M2 USBC is your best bet. It has everything you need to start making music right out of the box and will work great in the studio or on the go.

2. USB audio interface Focusrite Scarlett Solo 3rd generation

This Focusrite USB audio interface is designed for the solo artist or musician. The sound quality and affordable price make it a popular choice among the many USB audio interfaces available for this market segment.

Inputs are XLR and Hi-Z line input, both with preamps. The award-winning Focusrite mic preamp features a switchable air mode to make your recordings sound brighter and more open.

Monitoring is simplified with “halo” indicators around each input that give you a color-coded indication of when your signal is too hot, and a large volume knob to control the output. There is one headphone output on the front panel, and two line outputs on the back, as well as a USB C port.

Notable Features
  • Air mode
  • Ideal for solo artist
My verdict is

All in all, this is a neat and affordable little machine for those who are just getting started and need a new audio interface.

3. Audio interface M-Audio AIR 192|8 USB

M-Audio is known as a manufacturer of midi controllers, but a lesser known side of its business is its line of audio interfaces.

Who would have thought?

The AIR 192|8 provides users with professional sound quality at an affordable price. The name of the device, based on the maximum sample rate and the number of inputs, is a bit misleading. Although the device records at up to 24-bit/192kHz, it only has two inputs for simultaneous recording, albeit with flexible options. But it is so. Let’s see what it has to offer to the budding producer.

There are two mic/line combo inputs, each with a -10dB switch, and two more high-frequency instrument inputs – ideal for recording guitar or bass connected directly to the unit. Phantom power activated by a front panel switch means you can use condenser mics in your recording shenanigans.

MIDI input/output is connected via two 1/8-inch connectors on the rear panel of the device. To connect a midi controller, you need to use two adapters from 5-pin MIDI to 1/8 inch, which are included in the package.

All outputs are located on the back of the device – there are no surprises here. Two dedicated TRS speaker outputs are complemented by RCA outputs as well as an additional pair of auxiliary stereo outputs.

Dealing with monitoring latency is easy with the USB/Direct balance control on the top panel. There is also a switch that allows you to switch between two different audio streams when listening to the headphone output.

Notable Features
  • Two high frequency instrument inputs
  • USB/Direct mixing and monitoring knob
  • Possibility to connect MIDI
  • The rugged metal chassis is ideal for on-site recording.
  • Additional output options
  • Limited input
My verdict is

While this audio interface is decent enough, I think there are better options in this price range.

4. Presonus Audiobox USB 96

The Audiobox USB 96 is proof that you can get a decent audio interface for mac without breaking the bank.

This USB-powered interface records at up to 24-bit/96kHz through the combo inputs. High-quality mic preamps ensure sound quality is not compromised, and built-in phantom power means you can use your favorite condenser microphone to record.

The mix control knob allows you to adjust the balance between input signal and playback, so latency will not be an issue when recording tracks.

Despite its compact size, the Audiobox is equipped with a standard MIDI I/O interface, so you can connect your favorite synthesizer or midi controller to it.

The rugged steel chassis is ideal for engineers who take their rig with them and don’t want to worry about damage, while the powerful headphone output means you’ll be able to hear your work even if you’re mixing at King’s Cross Station.

Finally, it’s worth mentioning that the Presonus Studio One Artist DAW is included in the package, as well as many third-party plug-ins. For about Benjamin, an aspiring mac producer can get everything they need to make music on the go.

Notable Features
  • Budget
My verdict is

This entry-level device from Presonus is a good audio interface for creative artists at the start of their journey.

5. Audio interface Solid State Logic SSL2 2×2 USB

If you’re looking for a portable audio interface at the bottom of the market but don’t want to compromise on sound quality, the SSL2 could be just the thing for your musical adventures. For less than three benjamins, you can have the legendary SSL sound in your home studio.

All actions take place on the top panel of the interface. Input gain controls, phantom power switches, level controls for monitor and headphone outputs, and a handy monitor mix control to balance input and playback.

And don’t forget to use the magic “Legacy” button to bring the sound of the famous SSL 4000 console into your recordings. Classic analog sound at the push of a button!

The back of the device is the business part (ahem). Two balanced neutrik combo inputs, two analog line outputs, a headphone jack and a USB-C port. This boy doesn’t need a separate power supply – he gets his power from the included USB cable, making him the perfect recording buddy on the go.

The bundled software is also one of the main advantages of this audio interface. In addition to third party software such as Avid and Ableton, you also get two SSL Native channel strips.

Notable Features
  • ‘Legacy’ button for vintage warmth
  • Reliable, durable and portable
My verdict is

While it’s not the cheapest model on the market, it’s a great choice for the solo musician looking for the best audio interface for mac.

6. iConnectivity AUDIO4c Dual USB-C audio and MIDI interface

From the outside, the iConnectivity AUDIO4c looks like a normal 4-channel audio interface.

On the front panel, four line and microphone inputs are located next to the LED display, followed by a control knob. Fair enough. On the back are analog line outputs, traditional 5-pin MIDI ports, and a headphone jack.

But there’s more to this little power plant than meets the eye.

Let’s start with the USB connector. AUDIO 4c gives you several options: 2 USB-C and Type A. So if you don’t have enough USB ports on your laptop, you can plug your USB powered midi interface directly into the interface to free up a port.

Would you like to use the MiniMoog model D synthesizer app that you have on your phone? Connect your phone to one of the USB-C ports and you can easily transfer midi and audio data between your DAW and phone. Any external midi devices compatible with the USB class can be used this way.

If you’re wondering where the dials for adjusting input levels or headphones are, you’ll be surprised to know that the front panel is responsive to capacitive touch. While the lack of tactile rotation may seem a little strange at first, it reduces the risk of accidentally knocking settings out of place.

And that is not all. The control software supplied with the interface allows the user to easily route audio and MIDI to and from any device connected to the device. Add to this the ability to filter and remap, and you have an incredible amount of control over everything.

Notable Features
  • Auracle control software opens up the possibilities for complex MIDI routing, filtering and remapping.
  • MIDI standalone operation means it’s ideal for live performance and live streaming
  • Massive routing power
  • Numerous connection options
  • You can use it without computer
My verdict is

For Mac producers looking for extreme MIDI connectivity, the iConnectivity AUDIO4c is the ideal audio interface choice.

7. Audio interface Steinberg AXR4T 28×24 Thunderbolt

We are moving to a higher segment of the market – get ready! Audio equipment in this range is geared more towards serious producers or studios rather than home-recording singer-songwriters. This audio interface from Steinberg is no exception, with extensive connectivity and superb sound fidelity.

With four mic/line inputs, eight analog line inputs and additional digital connections, you won’t be short of opportunities when recording large ensembles. The included matrix mixer software makes it easy to manage these many inputs. If you need more inputs, you have the option to daisy-chain three AXRT4s via Thunderbolt 2 connections for a whopping eighty-four inputs.

Yamaha’s built-in DSP processing means you can control your performance as you record without delay. You can also use these effects in the mixing phase without worrying that your computer will crash due to all these processing.

The mic preamps are a hybrid design developed by Yamaha that can use the built-in SILK processing, an emulation of the classic 70s Neve console sound. Yes folks, now you can take an analog signal and give it a seductive touch of natural compression and saturation, just like Queen and David Bowie did.

Eight line outputs and two headphone outputs provide extensive monitoring options, as well as the ability to use external effects. Finally, Cubase AI is included with the unit so you can take advantage of 32-bit integer converters and record the best possible sound.

Notable Features
  • Random connection of up to three devices
  • 32bit/384kHz recording capability
  • Latency-free monitoring based on DSP
  • Get the sound of Neve
My verdict is

If you compare price and features, then for what you get, AXRT4 is one of the best audio interfaces for Mac.

8. Universal Audio Apollo x8 Heritage Edition 16 x 22

Universal Audio is a frequently heard name in professional studios around the world. If you connect this monster to your mac, you are guaranteed great sound and superhuman performance.

This Thunderbolt audio interface provides unrivaled low latency and high bandwidth for manufacturers working with multiple instruments at the same time. Designed for Thunderbolt 3 Macs, it is backwards compatible with Thunderbolt 1 and 2 Macs, although the adapter is sold separately.

Equipped with eight Unison mic preamps, the unit delivers superior sound quality for your recordings. If that’s not enough, you can use any of the three included plug-ins to recreate the sound of classic preamps on your recordings to give them a natural analog warmth.

Six DSP cores mean you can keep track of your recordings while monitoring effects in real time without any performance issues. (From a computer – I can’t guarantee this will get your drummer to play on time). Powerful HEXA Core processors also allow you to run a huge number of UAD plug-ins while mixing in your DAW.

The built-in talkback mic is a nice addition, making it easy to talk to musicians (relatively speaking – we’re a strange group after all) and useful for switching takes so you know what’s going on on take 70.

Finally, the included software is quite special. This is no ordinary set of additional modules. In addition to the aforementioned preamp plug-ins, you’ll get a whole bunch of other Universal Audio software, including EQs, compressors, reverbs, and tape emulation technology.

Notable Features
  • 16/22 simultaneous I/Os
  • Integrated DSP processing
  • Surround sound monitoring support 7.1
  • Dual headphone outputs
  • Optical digital connection Toslink
  • External 12V DC power supply included
  • Excellent sound quality and software package
My verdict is

Despite the high price, if you have the money to invest in your business, this audio interface is perfect for a producer building a project studio. With the included software, you’ll be up and running as soon as you open the box and order the group.

9. Universal Audio Apollo Twin X Duo Heritage Edition

If you need the Universal Audio name in your studio but don’t want to spend the money on a full-fledged Apollo, check out its little brother, the Universal Audio Apollo Twin.

This Thunderbolt audio interface comes with the same software as the Apollo X8, so you get the benefit of vintage preamp emulation and other software to recreate classic analog sound. Track tracks in real time with two built-in DUO core processors and never run out of processor power again!

The unit has three analog inputs: 2 mic/line combos on the rear panel and a 1/4″ Hi-Z conveniently located on the front panel. There are also two 1/4″ monitor outputs on the back and two more line outputs for connecting additional preamps or options monitoring.

One Optical Toslink digital input increases the total number of inputs used simultaneously to ten. Additional Apollo interfaces can be networked via a Thunderbolt connection to increase the number of inputs and DSP power. This is only really useful if you have a spare Apollo. Considering the cost per input ratio, you are better off moving to an audio interface with more inputs.

Notable Features
  • Dynamic range 127 dB
  • Fast connection Thunderbolt
  • Phantom power
  • Excellent sound quality
  • Real-time monitoring with
  • analog emulation software

My verdict is

If you’re looking for a rugged, reliable audio interface, the Universal Audio Apollo Twin could be the interface for you.

10. Avid Pro Tools Carbon

We are boldly entering territory that is not for the faint of heart; get your credit cards ready as we explore the Carbon – the professional audio interface if there ever was one.

This hybrid production system from Avid combines an audio interface and Pro Tools recording software, and while it’s one of the most expensive audio interfaces on the market, it’s well worth considering if you’re in a serious recording studio.

This rackmount audio interface connects to a mac computer via an ethernet cable. This, combined with an external power supply, means the Carbon delivers phenomenal audio quality with exceptionally low latency.

Eight HDX DSP cores let you run more plug-ins than if you were to rely on your computer alone. The device comes bundled with a whole suite of AAX software, as well as tools from UVI, Native Instruments, and hardware emulators from the market leaders, so you’ll have no shortage of ways to try it out.

There is a flexible number of inputs/outputs for tracking. For smaller ensembles and overdubs, there are eight combo mic/line inputs. If you need more recording power, you can use the ADAT digital I/Os (there are two) to expand your studio. It’s also worth noting that, unlike most Mac audio interfaces, the Carbon has four headphone jacks.

With so many features, I could talk about it all day long. Suffice it to say that this is a great audio interface.

Notable Features
  • Rack Mount Unit
  • Eight core HDX DSP
  • 115 AAX
  • plugins included

  • AD/DA converters and preamps deliver exceptional sound quality
  • This is the ideal setup for recording live instruments with the best possible sound quality.
My verdict is

If you are a Pro Tools owner and intend to remain so for the foreseeable future, this audio interface for mac will greatly enhance your workflow and creativity. If you’re using a different DAW, there are other options on the market that will suit you better.