Mirror Displays on the Mac with a Keyboard Shortcut

Jun 27, 2013 - 4 Comments

Display mirroring in Mac OS X with a keyboard shortcut Ever needed to quickly mirror a Mac display, switching another screen from an extended desktop to the mirrored image of what’s on the primary screen? Sure, you can visit the System Preference Display panel and fumble around in settings, but there is a much easier and faster way to toggle display mirroring with just a simple keyboard shortcut.

  • Command+F1 is the mirror shortcut that works with all Mac keyboards

Mac keyboard shortcut for Display Mirroring

In order for this shortcut to work you will need an external display of any sort attached, then once hit hit Command+F1 you will see both displays briefly flicker bright blue and suddenly mirroring will be enabled.

This command works with quite literally any Mac, whether a MacBook Pro, Air, iMac, whether it’s using a built-in or external keyboard, and with any connected secondary display, from an external monitor, a TV, a projector, Apple TV through AirPlay Mirroring, whatever. Use this the next time you need to do a presentation, or watch a movie on a bigger screen, it’s super fast.

Mirroring keyboard shortcut for Mac displays

Something to consider with screen Mirroring is the resolution of the external display, which is often different from the resolution set on a MacBook Pro or Air. This means that some external displays, typically LED, LCD, and HDTV’s, will often not run at their native resolution, which leads to fuzzy looking images on that external display as it mirrors the native resolution from the Mac. Unless the Mac supports the same resolution, that’s hard to avoid with those screen types, but old fashioned CRT’s and any projector should be immune from those effects.

Do note that some Macs and keyboard layouts may require the usage of ALT+Command+F1 to get the Mirror toggle to work. If you continue to have trouble with the shortcut, or you’d rather have more general display options visible from anywhere, you can use a free third party utility that adds the Displays menu bar item back to Mac OS X.

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in Mac OS X, Tips & Tricks

4 Comments

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  1. Carlo says:

    I has a MacBook Air with a broken screen and was struggling to see the dock and menu bar on the external scree, this tip helped a lot.

    Thank you!

  2. Jay says:

    Anyone know how to do this on a G4 800 ibook ? I have the video out hooked up , the system starts but no video out. Hitting the f1 or similar keyboard commands are giving me that boink sound…. It’s an ibook not mackbook. Any ideas ?

  3. asdf says:

    What about if you’re using a PC keyboard?

  4. Mainstay says:

    A frustratingly simple issue (stuck on login screen with broken display + external monitor) and no way to log in (no screen sharing enabled).

    Thank you for the easy fix!

  5. Randell Gortney says:

    Thank you so much. I had the same problem as noted above. Bad Mac display and using EM. I had no problems til Yosemite update and then my Mac LockScreen would be just blurry. This fixes it quick. Thanks much.

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