Things to Know Before Buying a KVM Switch for Macbook

macbook kvm switch for dual monitors

Are you looking for a KVM switch for Macbook & PC? Read this before you pay your money.

KVM Switch: Key Things to Consider

When it comes to electronics and personal setup, compatibility & capability are always the utmost issues you shall consider. Or else, you may be wasting time getting a piece of metal that won’t work out in the way you need it. This is true for the KVM switch as well.

Here are a bunch of things you shall consider before buying a KVM switch. I know you’re a Mac user and care about Mac KVM switch issues specifically. We’ll be on that very soon!

  1. Connector types: What connector types are used for the KVM switch to connect your host devices? HDMI, DisplayPort, VGA, or USB-C? If you’re connecting to a Mac device, a USB-C KVM switch is what you’re looking for.
  2. Number of displays: How many displays are you using for your workstation? Some KVM switches are only for single monitor setups, some are designed for dual monitor setups.
  3. Resolutions: Basically most KVM switches support up to 4K@60hz now. If you’re looking for something that supports up to 8K or even 10K (DSC required), check the specs carefully.
  4. Audio support: Do you care a lot about the audio quality? Will you be satisfied with a 3.5 mm audio jack or do you need an S/PDIF port to get everything through the AVR?
  5. USB connection: How many USB devices are you using for the setup and if there is any requirement for bandwidth and power? If you’re connecting a 4K webcam, you need at least a USB 3.0 port and better with enough power supply.
  6. Docking features: If you’re connecting to a laptop, this would be valuable. A KVM switch docking station can enhance connectivity with various ports (LAN, Audio, USB, etc.) and give power delivery to keep it charged.

7. Switch methods: This depends on where would you install the kit and how are you going to control it. If you put it on the desktop within your reach, the switch button is enough, or else you may need an IR. Anyway, the Hotkey option is always nice to have.

usb-c dual monitor kvm switch

Tips: KVM Switch for Macbook

There are some differences between Mac devices and others. You may encounter some glitches if you did not pay attention to them ahead of your KVM purchase. Here are some tips for you and hope this would help you make a smarter choice.

Apple Magic Keyboard connection

If you’re using a Magic Keyboard via Bluetooth, it only connects one device at a time and a seamless hand-off can be realized by connecting in a wired manner to the KVM.

Multiple-monitor setup

How many displays do your Mac device support? Check this guide. If your Mac does not support more than 2 external displays, getting a 3-monitor KVM switch won’t help with this situation.

MST not supported

You need to connect 2 cables if you’re displaying your laptop on 2 monitors,  while the technology of MST enables you to reduce the cable to only one. Unfortunately, Mac devices do not support DisplayPort MST, therefore you can’t connect to multiple displays by a KVM with a single USB-C In port even though it supports MST.

DisplayPort KVM

If you have 2 DisplayPort displays, a USB-C to dual DisplayPort splitter hub will be a nice pick for your Macbook dual monitor KVM setup. As HDMI ports always are running out, a DP KVM switch is more friendly for a laptop & desktop setup.

Laptop in clamshell mode

If you connect your closed-lid Macbook to a KVM switch and switch to it after working on the other host device, you may not be able to wake the sleeping machine up by just switching. If this is how you do things, you may need to check if the KVM switch can automatically wake up a laptop in clamshell mode by switching.

EDID emulation

An annoying thing could happen if the KVM switch does not support EDID emulation – when you switch away and switch back to the device, your desktop icons may all get messed up. This is because when the devices have different resolutions and the scaling up or down may cause rearrangement of your desktop.

Basically, there are KVM switches that support EDID emulation, while it only works for HDMI. Therefore, if you don’t want this to happen to your Macbook setup, try to align the resolutions of your host devices.

Conclusions

If you’re new to KVM switch, it’s normal that you don’t know which is the best choice for you. Pick a nice brand with a friendly return policy and try it. AV Access has a 30-day money-back guarantee and if you have any questions about our KVM switches and your situation, please feel free to talk to us at info@avaccess.com. Have a good time.