How would you manage so many devices and screens? [Setups]

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How would you manage so many devices and screens?
How would you manage so many devices and screens?
Photo: Itchy_elbow@Reddit.com

So many devices, so many screens, so many devices with screens — how do you manage them all? Some people go to great lengths. Others … not so much.

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Some people don’t try very hard to impose an overall system of control. Redditor Itchy_elbow recently attracted a fair amount of attention recently with their post, “Lots of work in progress setup.” People had all kinds of advice.

Dual everything, sort of

Itchy runs a dual-laptop, dual-monitor-and-then-some setup. They’ve got an M1 MacBook Air (8GB RAM, 512 GB SSD), an M1 Mac mini (8GB RAM, 512GB SSD), a Lenovo M93 Tiny Desktop PC and an Amazon Echo Show. Alongside those, they run a 32-inch LG 4K display in landscape mode and a 27-inch LG display in portrait mode.

A WD TB My Passport drive handles extra storage, along with a 64TB storage device (not shown in the photo). Also not shown is a 2019 MacBook Pro with an Intel processor (16GB RAM, 512 GB SSD).

So many devices: What’s hooked up to what?

You can probably guess one of the first questions posed by Redditors. Which devices are running which monitors?

“The M1 [Mac] mini drives both monitors,” Itchy replied. “The other two machines are connected to the LG 32-inch, monitor rocker switch between them. Haven’t taken time to hook up the Lenovo to the vertical monitor. One of these days, it won’t improve my workflow so I don’t see the benefit.”

So many Logitech peripherals, too

Itchy stands among the many fans of Logitech peripherals. They’ve got Logitech K400 and K380 multi-device keyboards and Logitech M330 and M720 multi-device mice.

Naturally, a query from from a Logitech fan: You don’t like switching between computers with the Logitech keyboard and mouse?

Itchy said they “tried to use an HDMI switcher but gave up on it. Keep it simple.” They went on to explain that the switcher they’d brought may have been a repackaged broken item. On the advice of another commenter, they pledged to try another in lieu of their “manual HDMI switcher (my hands).”

Management software and upcoming Universal Control

Another commenter chimed in with a recommendation to try using one keyboard and mouse with multiple computers with the help of Synergy. They did a nice job explaining its functionality:

Synergy works really well for that, especially cross platform. It uses one computer as a host and your other computers connect as clients. The mouse and keyboard connected to the host will be usable across your other systems. It also supports copy/paste for text across systems. If you are signed into your apple ID on both Macs, then I believe the next MacOS update will have something like this built in.

At the end there, the commenter refers to Universal Control, Apple’s upcoming macOS Monterey functionality that will make using one keyboard and mouse with multiple devices more seamless. People are so excited about it, someone created a computer setup specifically to replicate the workstation used to demonstrate Universal Control at WWDC 2021.

How would you manage so many devices and screens? Tell us your tips in the comments sections below.

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