I’ve had a MacBook for years. But earlier this year, I got a new job and was given a Microsoft Surface as my work computer. (Talk about a learning curve!) It was easy to get a keyboard/mouse/stand for the Surface, as well as getting accustomed to switching back and forth between the two. However, I only have one monitor. So every time I wanted to switch between the two computers, I had to get up, go behind the desk, find the right hdmi cord, unplug, replug, and then get back to work. It wasn’t terrible. But it wasn’t ideal and felt like a waste of time. So I knew there had to be a better way to connect two computers to one monitor.
My dad always says “work smart, not hard”. And let me tell you… In the beginning of my search, I was working HARD to find an answer. I was searching everything I could think of. Mainly, “docking station for both a Mac and PC”. Because that was logical to me. Find a docking station that could handle the input of two computers with the output to one monitor and switch back and forth. Goodness those docking stations are expensive. I’m talking over $100 expensive. Plus, my MacBook is several years old. So even when I found a couple I thought might work, my computer was incompatible!
All that hard work and you know what I DIDN’T do? Ask my dad. Why is that important? Well, for one, if you have a good dad, you can always ask for help with anything. But for two, my dad was a computer programmer for most of my life. So who better to ask? When I did tell him what I was looking for and the status of my frustrating search, he sent me an amazon link within like 15 minutes. Of course. And do you know what he didn’t send? A docking station. Ha!
This $31 (at time of publishing) HDMI switch from Amazon solved ALL of my problems! It is literally the easiest way to connect two computers to one monitor. It’s about the size of a deck of cards and oh so simple. All you do is plug both computers into the little box, and plug the box into your monitor. The best part is whenever I want to switch back and forth between my two computers, all I have to do is press a button! It’s seriously like magic.
Although I only use mine to connect two computers to one monitor, you can also connect a keyboard and a mouse too! They will also switch when you hit the button. But for me, that doesn’t make sense because I like my Mac keyboard/mouse and my PC keyboard/mouse separate. Not only that, but then I couldn’t use both computers and my phone at the same time. Kind of like how I spend all day working on the medium screens and then at night watch the big screen while looking at the little screen. *Shrug.*
Plus it works perfectly to connect both MacBook and Microsoft Surface to one monitor. It doesn’t have any weird adaptors or connectivity issues. I was really concerned about trying to connect two completely different OS/setups/etc. to one device. But it went swimmingly! The only thing that took some effort to figuring out was how to connect the Surface. Probably because it’s a tablet and not a full computer. But I’m here to help you work smart not hard.
So here’s the trick. You have to connect all 3 cords to the Surface. 1. Connect the square USB cord to both the Surface and the switch box. 2. Connect the HDMI cord to both the Surface and the switch box. 3. Connect the normal power cord to the Surface. That’s it! Well, you have to finish connecting computer 2 and the monitor to the switch box. But you know what I mean.
Another thing to point out is that you might need a dongle or docking station or adapter to get your Mac to connect to an HDMI cord in general. I use a little adaptor hub thing from Amazon. They don’t make mine anymore, but here’s one that’s $25 and looks like an updated version. Plus, if you’re super into *aesthetics*, here is one that comes in rose gold ($26). (I think I might need a new one!) It also has a USB for my external hard drive and more. And connecting the computer to the box through the adaptor doesn’t cause any problems at all.
Out of everything I’ve purchased for my home office since I started working from home a couple of years ago, this is hands down the most impactful, handy, efficient, and important thing I’ve ever purchased. It brings me joy every time I hit the button. Highly recommend.
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