the apple mac mini is exactly that: a mac mini. It’s a small, portable desktop that can turn any screen into a Mac-powered smart computer. a computer that can be used for digital signage. and we love it
If you want to know everything about the mac mini, from what it is to how to set it up (and why it’s better than a regular pc), read on.
what is a mac mini and what does it do?
The Mac Mini is a small desktop computer made by Apple. and that’s it. the mac mini ships without an attached display, keyboard, or mouse; as apple likes to say, it’s “byodkm” (bring your own screen, keyboard and mouse).
It may seem strange at first, but the mac mini is primarily used to power another device, making it a more flexible purchase. For example, if you already have a display, keyboard, and mouse, you can pair them with your Mac Mini instead of buying new ones (although you can opt to have your Mac Mini come with them).
surprisingly, the mac mini has been around since 2005, released at the same time as the ipod shuffle. however, like everything apple does, its design and functionality have changed quite a bit since then.
mac mini m1 2020
Before the 2020 Mac Mini M1 was released, you could get the 2018 Apple Mac Mini in two types of processing speed: the 3.6GHz Mac Mini Core i3 ($799) and the 3.6GHz Mac Mini Core i5. 0ghz ($1099).
but back to the mac mini m1: this is apple’s first system-on-chip device. and it turns out it’s only $699, with an even better processor than its more expensive predecessors.
okay, so there are some compromises. memory is capped at 16gb and you can no longer use external graphics cards (egpus).
To see the difference between the 2020 mac mini m1 and the previous generation 2018 mac mini, check out the spec comparison below.
mac mini specifications
mac mini uses
As with any computer, there are hundreds of uses for a Mac Mini. but due to its portable nature, the mac mini is perfect for:
- sharing presentations on the screen
- listen to music through an app like spotify
- digital signage
- share photos on a TV screen
- access emails
- it is the cheapest mac apple sells
- has built-in apps like facetime, ibooks, maps, itunes and mail
- there are multiple ports, making it more like a computer than a media device
- apple cites that with 4th generation intel core processors, the device is capable of “keeping pace with computers twice its size”
- wi-fi and bluetooth
- easy setup for a keyboard, mouse or screen
- the perfect size to use as the center of a “digital home”
- what display will it connect to? you’ll need a desktop or tv screen to get your mac mini up and running
- how will it connect to the screen? depending on the display you are connecting to, you may need a converter cable
- do you have a wifi connection? you’ll need it to configure some of the mac mini features
- how will you control the mac mini? you’ll probably need a keyboard and mouse combo or an apple remote
benefits of the mac mini
Read more: What does it mean when my abs light is on
some of the key benefits of the mac mini include:
how to set up a mac mini
Here’s how to get your mac mini up and running, from getting it out of the box to using it for shopping, like hooking it up to your TV at home.
Before you begin setup, some questions to consider include:
Once you’ve made your decision and purchased any additional items you need, here’s how to set it up.
- add energy
Connect the power adapter to your mac mini and plug the other end into a power outlet. press the power button on the back of the mac mini.
2. attach to your TV or monitor
connect your mac mini to your television or desktop computer. the mac mini comes with an hdmi to dvi adapter to connect to a monitor’s dvi port, allowing you to connect to an apple monitor.
If you want to connect to a television display, you may need to purchase a mini-displayport-to-vga adapter that will allow you to connect your mac mini to a standard analog monitor, projector, or lcd that uses a vga or cable connector.
3. connect to wifi
once powered on, the setup guide should walk you through a few simple steps, including setting up a wi-fi connection.
4. sign in with your apple id
This will give you access to the app store and link your icloud account if you want to connect to your mail, photos, calendar, etc.
5. start using your mac mini
From here, you can start using your PC or TV screen like a computer, using the desktop to find applications, open web pages, and more.
what can you do with your mac mini?
want to make sure you get the most out of your mac mini device? here are some ideas on how you can use it:
1. access applications on a television screen
mac mini is a great way to take everything you’d normally do on your phone or laptop and access it on your TV screen. this could be sharing photos with a room, opening mail, or accessing your documents.
2. use any screen like your computer
the mac mini is super lightweight, which means you can take it anywhere, plug it into a desktop computer and you have a powerful computer. This allows you to work from anywhere or set up shop anywhere a monitor and Wi-Fi are available.
3. set up digital signage with mac mini
the mac mini is a great way to turn any screen into a digital signal. This allows you to pre-program and configure content to be displayed on your digital screen, such as social media feeds, presentations, travel updates, news feeds and more. Read the full guide on setting up digital signage with your Mac Mini here.
4. create a home display center
With your mac mini and a display or desktop computer, you can create a home viewing center that lets you watch movies, surf the web, and listen to music. Through streaming apps like Netflix, or even through movies you’ve purchased on iTunes, you can easily set movies to play on any screen. You can also use music apps available on the apple app store or use safari to connect.
5. view and share photos
the mac mini includes an sdxc card slot, so you can simply remove the memory card from the camera and insert it. this allows you to view photos on a monitor or share them with the room from your TV screen.
frequently asked questions about apple mac mini
can you use any monitor with a mac mini?
the mac mini doesn’t come with a monitor, but you can connect it to one using one of the ports on the back of the device. With the right adapter, you can connect your Mac Mini to any computer display with a VGA port. the mac mini comes with an hdmi to dvi adapter, but only apple monitors actually use dvi, so for a normal monitor, you may need an hdmi to vga or mini display port to vga connector.
how do i turn on a mac mini?
just press the power button on the mac mini box.
can you use any keyboard with a mac mini?
Most keyboards and mice can be used with the mac mini by connecting them through the usb port. for bluetooth devices, connect the usb dongle to the mac mini using the usb port.
To learn more about what hardware screencloud supports or to find the best option for you, compare devices here.