Using a Macbook Pro with a Samsung HDMI Monitor

apple samsung

I recently started using my Samsung Monitor through an HDMI connection rather than DVI. I have used Samsung Monitors for a few years now since selling my 30″ Apple Cinema Display before they were discontinued. Samsung Monitors are very high quality and a fraction of the price. My eye (even with glasses on) can’t tell much of a difference between an Apple Cinema Display and a Samsung. I only need my monitor to be a monitor. The extra features an Apple Cinema Display offer are nice, but I can live without them. However, in making this change to HDMI I encountered a few problems.

My monitor is a 27″ Samsung S27A350H which offers an HDMI and VGA input. I was not about to connect my MBP through a VGA connection and loose valuable quality so I opted to connect through HDMI. To be honest, I didn’t bother trying the VGA connection to test differences in quality.

On my desk, I have my laptop on a Twelve South Bookarc stand and I keep it closed. I use the external monitor as my only monitor. I have several HDMI cables ranging in quality. The HDMI Cables that I have been using for home audio and my computer are the MediaBridge cables that carries. They are quality cables at a cheap price. To connect the HDMI Cable to my MacBook Pro I am using the Moshi MiniDisplay Port to HDMI Adapter, which I also bought at

The problem is that when I connect the Moshi adapter to my MacBook Pro and attempt to wake my computer by tapping a key on my Apple Wireless Keyboard, nothing happens. I checked that the Samsung monitor is turned on, the cables are connected, and that my MacBook Pro in hibernate mode. Everything was fine. If I opened my MacBook Pro with the HDMI connected, both monitors would come on and it would operate in dual display mode. However, once I closed my laptop, I could not get the monitor to come back on by itself. I also have a generic brand MiniDisplay Port to HDMI adapter which is horrible and makes the screen flicker. This is the only monitor that seems to have a problem with the cheaper adapter. As far as image quality goes, the Moshi adapter works perfectly.

After trying everything, I called Samsung, who was also unable to help. I did some searching online and all that I found is that many others were experiencing similar problems. Determined, as usual, I kept at it and found a few different things that seem to have solved the problem. A few forums even suggested that the Samsung Monitor does not work properly with Apple’s way of detecting a monitor has been attached. It was also suggested that there were problems with many PC manufacturers as well, so it’s not a specific issue to Apple.

Changing Settings – Go into Menu on your monitor and switch the Auto Source to Auto, by default it comes set to Manual. You can get to this menu option by tapping menu twice to get it to come up, selecting Setup&Reset, then go down to Auto Source.

The first time I did this it seemed to work right away, however, the next day I came into work and plugged in I had the same problem.

With this Samsung Monitor, it seems that you have to tap each button twice to get it to do anything unless the option is already on the screen. The second thing I did was tap the Source button on the monitor twice. This switched sources from one to the next. I assumed that since the screen kept toggling back and forth between Analog and HDMI that it was doing this on its own. It may have been but hitting the source button twice seems to have made it work once again.

Performing this song and dance each time I connect my MacBook Pro to the Samsung Monitor got old really fast so I opted to try a different workaround.

Changing Cables – The solution that fixed the problem was purchasing an HDMI to DVI cable from and using my MiniDisplay Port to DVI adapter. This makes me believe that the problem is not so much in the Samsung Monitor or the MacBook Pro as it is the Moshi adapter. I can not confirm that the Moshi adapter is the problem as it does work perfectly in all other situations including a situation where I connect my MacBook Pro to a projector through HDMI over a 50-foot cable without any issues. I have no idea who to blame for my frustration, all I know is that it works great now.

The other fix would be to just use the monitor with your VGA adapter where you may lose some image sharpness but not have any connection issues.

Does this make me want to return my Samsung 27″ monitor that I paid $300 for to exchange it for a $999 Apple Cinema Display? To be honest I thought about it for a moment but it’s not work the extra money.

I hope that one of these suggestions helps you with your Samsung/MBP issues if you are having any.

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  • Anne-Marie Goulet
    December 18, 2011 at 5:41 pm

    Great post. I just got a Samsung Syncmaster 300 and I have a Macbook (ca. 2008, 2.4ghz, v10.5.8) but the resolution sucks when they are connected. I have them connected via a Dynex Mini DVI to DVI adapter and a dvi-dvi cable. The only time I get anything showing on my external monitor screen is when I lower the resolution all the way down to 1280X720.

    I’m wondering if it’s the Dynex cable? Should I try a mac mini dvi-dvi adapter?

  • jeradhill
    December 18, 2011 at 6:05 pm

    I only use Apple adapters. The cable shouldnt be the issue. It’s probably the Dynex adapter.

  • Ron Lamm
    January 21, 2012 at 3:41 pm

    I just purchased the same samsung monitor. I bought the Minidisplay port adapter to HDMI from the Apple store. The monitor only shows the default screen and not my applications. help..


  • Adriano
    September 5, 2013 at 3:26 am

    tanks! i’ve the same problem now

  • Grandma11
    October 2, 2013 at 6:04 pm

    Thanks so much, it works.
    I just got my first mac book pro and I needed a larger monitor for work. I have a Samsung Sync Master P2770
    and everything I was reading was saying it wasn’t compatibile I really thought was going to have to buy a new monitor also. But thanks to your information I was able to buy the DVI connector and just use my DVI cable to hook it up. I messed with the mirroring and it all came together. Not too bad for a 61 year old grandmother of 11. Huh. Thanks

  • Andrea Lacy
    April 22, 2016 at 7:08 pm

    Thank you for this post. I had the same problem and because of this post I’m up a running.

  • Chris
    July 27, 2016 at 9:37 am

    Hello all. I think I have gotten the answer I needed via the posts, but want to confirm before buying a new cable. So, I have a new MacBook Pro (Retina) and a new Samsung monitor (SE310 Series). I was told that by using and HDMI to HDMI cable I would be able to get the monitor to work with my MacBook Pro; however, it is not working. Is it the fact that the sales person sold me the wrong cord and I should have an HDMI to DVI? Thank you in advance for your help.

  • Nomad's Archive
    February 7, 2017 at 8:46 am

    Hi all! I have a macbook pro retina display (early 2015). As it’s a small screen I am willing to buy a new monitor screen and I happened to have found a deal of Samsung SyncMaster, B2230H, LCD, 22 inches.
    I am not sure after reading the previous posts whether it would work from HDMI to HDMI with Mini display port or not. I would really appreciate if you could through some light on the matter. Thanks!

  • sean browning
    September 8, 2017 at 9:31 am

    Same issue here – solved by the tips in this blog entry.
    Macbook Air (2017)
    Samsung S27D360 (HDMI)
    GoFanco (Chinese multi adapter from Amazon) (DP1.2/HDMI 4Kx2K/VGA/DVI)

    The first time I did this it seemed to work right away, however days later I came into work, plugged in, and I had the same problem.

    I noticed that (un)plugging the cable did change the blackness of the monitor (from off to on-but-no-display)

    I started with switching the cables – not solved.
    I looked for Samsung drivers – not solved.
    I reseated the cable connections – not solved – but did help.
    I changed the menu from automatic to manual – AHA
    I changed the Samsung Magic Upscale to OFF – AHA
    I changed the Samsung Magic Bright to Standard – AHA

    I’m back in business.
    Good luck to you on your solution!

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