Penny pinchers turn headless MacBooks into hot commodity


MacBook without screen connected to external monitor
According to Twitter user DuanRui, "More and more people are buying a MacBook Pro without a screen to use as a Mac mini."
Photo: @duanrui1205/Twitter

A MacBook with a broken screen can seem like a nightmare scenario. You’re stuck with a computer you can’t use and a repair bill that can easily exceed $600. But it turns out, for some people, a MacBook without a screen is actually the perfect machine.

Using MacBooks with broken screens

The idea makes sense when you really think about it. A MacBook without a screen is a true “bring your own monitor” Mac, just like the popular Mac mini — a tiny computer that can fit almost anywhere, and connects to an external display, keyboard and mouse.

Using a MacBook without its screen takes that a step further, providing both the keyboard and trackpad. All you need is an external display. And used MacBooks with broken screens sell at steep discounts (for obvious reasons).

“More and more people are buying a MacBook Pro without a screen to use as a Mac mini,” tweeted DuanRui on Monday. “Not only does it have a trackpad and keyboard, but it also has better speakers, and the main price is particularly affordable.”

Multiple uses for headless MacBooks

What’s even more fun about using a MacBook with no screen is how reminiscent the machines are to the Apple II (sans CRT monitor). Simply plug in a monitor, and you’re ready to go with your new (used) Mac. You could even connect the headless MacBook to your TV.

As rumors of a future Mac built entirely into a keyboard begin to swirl, it seems these clever recyclers beat Apple to the punch.

Another great option for a MacBook with a broken screen is to use it in clamshell mode. While you don’t get to take advantage of the built-in keyboard, trackpad or special features like Touch Bar or Touch ID, it can be a great way to get a powerful Mac mini alternative. You could even add a touchscreen external display to build the hybrid Mac that Apple never will.

Either way, it’s clear that a broken screen isn’t the end of the road for a MacBook. Using a headless MacBook with an external display does cut down on the portability of your computer. But if you’re looking for a unique and affordable way to update your desktop setup, this might be a great way to do it.


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