Make switching between 2 laptops on an external display a breeze [Setups]


No need to always be plugging and unplugging.
No need to always be plugging and unplugging.

These days, more people than ever have more than one computer. That’s because many people work from home or do the “hybrid” work thing, toiling at an office part time but working remotely, too. And that means they probably tap away on both a work laptop and a personal one.

Today’s featured setup follows that trend. And its owner succinctly explained how they go about switching between the two machines on the same external display with the press of a button.

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HDMI splitter makes it easy to switch between work and play MacBooks

Redditor zenpianist (“Zen”) showed off their setup in a post entitled, “My Mac setup. Enjoy!”

Zen explained that the laptop on the right in the photograph is their personal MacBook Air. The laptop on the left is a MacBook Pro that their employer provided.

Zen switches between the two laptops quite easily, without having to connect or disconnect them to the the 32-inch Lenovo D32Q QHD IPS monitor. It features 2560 x 1440 pixel resolution, a 75Hz refresh rate and a 4ms response time, with AMD FreeSync technology.

What makes the switching from work laptop to personal laptop and back simple is an HDMI splitter with a remote control. One that he recommended — saying the one he has is no longer sold — is in the gear list below. It’s an AlexVyan Intelligent DMI Switch Splitter Switcher Box.

“I have mounted it with double-sided tape behind the monitor,” Zen said of device. “Three input cables are routed to the switch via the monitor arm.”

One possible drawback of that particular switcher is that it does not appear to support the monitor’s full capability. The switcher is rated for full HD (1080p) and claims the ability to match 1920 x 1200 computer resolution. So, a laptop routed through it might not look quite as crisp on the external monitor as one connected to it directly.

There are other, higher-spec HDMI switchers out there, however. And you can also find plenty of KVM switches that ease the pain of using multiple computers with one “keyboard, video, mouse” (KVM).

Logitech input devices

Zen’s input devices are both designed to switch between computers. They’re both from Logitech, which is not surprising because we see certain Logitech devices in setups at least as often as we see Apple’s Magic Keyboard, Magic Mouse and Magic Trackpad.

But Zen’s Logi keyboard is not one we see constantly. It’s the Logitech K380 Multi-Device Bluetooth Keyboard. It’s designed to work with any Bluetooth-enabled computer or mobile device that supports an external keyboard. It can connect and switch among up to three devices at a time, mapping keys to each one to give you a familiar layout.

And the keeb is currently 25% off at Amazon ($29.99)!

Zen’s mouse is one of the Logi devices we see most often — the Logitech MX Master 3 Advanced Wireless Mouse. It also connects with up to three devices. It includes a “mag speed” wheel for quiet, electromagnetic scrolling and a 4,000DPI sensor. It also features numerous customization options.

And if you like the desktop wallpaper showing on the external monitor, you can find it here.

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HDMI switchers:

Input devices:

If you would like to see your setup featured on Cult of Mac, send some high-res pictures to Please provide a detailed list of your equipment. Tell us what you like or dislike about your setup, and fill us in on any special touches or challenges.


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