The MacBook Pro is an example of technological form and function coming together in an incredibly elegant and powerful piece of hardware. It’s undoubtedly one of the best laptops you can get for creative pursuits such as video editing. It’s also a great machine for entertainment options like watching movies or playing games.
The question we’re going to look at today is if the MacBook Pro has a 4K display. The short answer is no, it does not. But the built-in Retina display is capable of delivering stunning graphics, and you can always use an external monitor connected to your MacBook if you need a higher resolution.
Apple’s proprietary Retina display technology is used in the MacBook Pro and virtually all of the company’s devices. It offers users exceptional quality resolution but does not meet the accepted standard for 4K resolution.
TL;DR: Strictly speaking, most models of the MacBook Pro do not offer a 4K display. In general, Apple does not offer 4K displays with their computers. The only Mac with what could be called a true 4K display is the iMac 21.5” model. Other iMac Retina models offer display resolution above 4K.
So what is 4K and why are there no MacBooks with a native 4K display?
What is the Difference Between Retina and other 4K displays?
The term 4K describes ultra high-definition screen resolution. Depending on the manufacturer, you might see this level of resolution called 4K UHD. It’s designed to deliver four times the resolution of HD displays. The accepted standard for 4K resolution is 3,840 pixels wide and 2,160 pixels high.
Retina display is a brand name coined by Apple to designate its high-resolution displays which employ a higher pixel density than the company’s traditional displays. A major factor that differentiates Retina from 4K is the absence of a defined standard in the number of pixels used to provide the display.
Retina display is how Apple describes a display with a pixel density and resolution that makes it impossible for the human eye to distinguish individual pixels at normal viewing distance. Normal viewing distance can vary with the device type. For instance, an iPhone will typically be viewed from a closer distance than an iMac. Pixel density and resolution are implemented to optimize the display.
Does the MacBook Come With 4K?
The MacBook Pro 16” model offers the closest alternative to 4K with a resolution of 3456×2234 and a pixel density of 254. That’s not quite powerful enough for full 4K support. The MacBook Pro 14” model delivers a pixel density of 254 and a resolution of 3024×1964. A MacBook Air 13” machine has a resolution of 2560×1664 with a pixel density of 224.
Both the 14-inch and 16-inch versions of the MacBook Pro support 4K resolution or above when used with external monitors. Using an Apple M1 MacBook Pro, up to two external displays can be connected that provide ups to 6K resolution at 60Hz. With an Apple M1 Max, three external displays can deliver up to 6K resolution with another display providing 4K resolution at 60Hz.
How to Use a MacBook With a 4K Monitor
Connecting a MacBook Pro with a 4K monitor may require you to use specific cables, ports, and adapters. Let’s look at your options when connecting an external display to a MacBook Pro.
MacBook Pro models introduced after 2021 have an HDMI port. Earlier models made after 2015 do not have this port. New MacBook Pros also have three Thunderbolt 4 (USB-C) ports that can be used to connect an external device like a TV or monitor.
To connect a USB-C compatible device, simply use one of the Thunderbolt 4 ports. If you are connecting a USB-A or USB-B device, you will need an adapter that supports the Thunderbolt port. Connecting an HDMI device depends on which model you have. If no HDMI port is available, you will need an HDMI to Thunderbolt adapter or cable to establish the connection.
MacBook Pros introduced in 2018 or later support HDR video using their built-in displays or an external HDR-compatible display.
Mac laptop computers are not 4K. Graphic resolution of 4K or above is available in the iMac Retina 4K 21.5”, iMac Retina 4.5K 24”, and iMac Retina 5K 27”.
Yes, Macs and MacBooks can handle being connected to a 4K monitor. The model of your Mac will determine if it can be used with an external 4K monitor to display and edit video at true 4K resolution.
You need to connect an external monitor such as the Apple Studio Display, a projector, or an HDTV with your MacBook Pro to get 4K resolution.
Multiple 4K monitors are compatible with a MacBook Pro and deliver 4K display resolution. Some of the most popular MacBook 4K monitors are:
- The Apple Studio Display;
- The Acer XFA240;
- Dell UltraSharp U2720Q;
- Razer Raptor 27.
Though the MacBook Pro does not come equipped with a 4K monitor, its Retina display provides exceptional graphics quality built for your device’s specific model. Apple has optimized the display qualities for each of its consumer devices to provide clear and crisp graphics to its users. If that’s not enough for you, some options are available that let you get true 4K resolution.
If you have a MacBook Pro, you can obtain full 4K resolution by connecting external monitors or displays. The machine is capable of powering them. All you need to do is provide a compatible monitor. Performing video editing, gaming, or simply watching movies may be made more enjoyable by using an external display device.