the new Mac Mini without a display

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Hardware and Accessories

So the subject says it.. I have just emailed Apple accessibility to know whether we will be able to run the new mac minis without a display.. Now that Apple has their own chips and all maybe this will finally become a thing? What do you guys think?

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Submitted by Carlos M Contreras on Tuesday, November 10, 2020

My understanding is that it is possible. The trick is to connect a monitor emulator in the HDMI port. That is what people do to be able to run the Mac Mini in a headless configuration. This emulators are very cheap. They cost less than $15. I hope this works because I just ordered the new Mac Mini to replace my 2012 Macbook Pro.

Submitted by Oriol Gomez on Tuesday, November 10, 2020

um, I just got an answer from accessibility and they said that since Mojave you can run the mini without a display attached. So no need for the emulator, either.

Submitted by Stoo on Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Yup. I've been running my 2018 Mac Mini for the last few years with no monitor attached, just an Apple magic keyboard wirelessly sat on my sofa!

Submitted by Joe on Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Club AppleVis Member

Thanks for asking this. I am happy to hear it. I owned a 2012 Mini and it was always one of the main issues I had.

Submitted by Howard on Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Years and years back, after I'd purchased a Mac Mini that I'd intended to use without a display -- and found it to be an absolute nightmare -- I inquired (with Apple Accessibility) before the release of a new Mac Mini. (I don't recall exactly when this was, but I'd guess it was around 2012.) The response, boiled down: Don't worry. Everything's different now. It'll be great. No problem. So I went ahead and got the new Mac Mini and endeavored to use it without a monitor -- and it was just as much of a nightmare as was the previous model.
Back then, they may well have known less than they may know now. Still, I'd be worried.
'cause I'd been lookin' forward, and was terribly unhappy with the result.
-- Howard

Submitted by Oriol Gomez on Wednesday, November 11, 2020

if they are specifically saying that with Mojave you can do this, it probably means you can, maybe someone can confirm.

Submitted by Carlos M Contreras on Wednesday, November 11, 2020

At least in the Intel based Mac Mini you could run it without a monitor or the emulator, but the problem is that the performance of the system was affected since the GPU is turned off, and then some graphical process are processed by the CPU. You can find many articles in the internet about this. with the emulator, the GPU thinks that there is a monitor ant the GPU will be activated and will handle some computations. This is the trick used by people when they run their Mac Mini as servers. Also it helps them to be able to set a good resolution when using desktop sharing.

I'm not sure if this is necessary in the M1 Mac Mini since CPU and GPU are in the same chip, but better safe than sorry, I ordered the emulator in Amazon so to have it before the Mini arrives, so that this issue will not my delay my migration from my old Macbook Pro to the new Mini. As I mentioned before the emulators are very cheap. I bought a package of 3 for less than $15.

Submitted by Joseph Westhouse on Thursday, November 12, 2020

I'm quite literally typing this post on a Mac mini with no display, just a wireless keyboard, similar to a setup mentioned earlier. It's not even one of the newest ones before the new N1 minis. If this can be done on what's essentially a two-generations-old Mini, why wouldn't it work on the new, state-of-the-art machine? Pretty sure this is a bit of a myth about Mac minis that has been passed down from generation to generation of blind users but doesn't actually have any basis in reality in the modern machines :-)