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Can You Connect a PS4 to a MacBook With & Without HDMI?


It’s a lazy Saturday afternoon, perfect for a PS4 game but the little ones are glued to the TV.

Your teenage son does not look like he’s about to give up his weekend gaming session just yet but you are determined to break your longest gaming session record.

The TV upstairs is not an option either because mom is binge-watching the new murder mystery show on Netflix.

You’re only left with your Mac computer to mess around with. That’s when it hits you that you may need to connect your PS4 to the Mac with HDMI. 

But you wonder if this is even possible.

Fortunately for you, we’ve solved that mystery. See the steps we followed to connect a PS4 to a Mac, with and without HDMI.

Can You Connect a PS4 to a MacBook with HDMI?

PlayStation 4 Slim 1TB Console
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No, you cannot use HDMI to connect a PS4 to a MacBook directly. 

If it were a monitor, 100% yes, it would. But the Mac isn’t a monitor. It is a much more complex device.

The HDMI port on a monitor is meant to recognize incoming signals and translate them into images, whereas the HDMI port on your Mac does not recognize any incoming signals. It’s a video-out port. 

When you connect an HDMI cable, your Mac understands it’s required to send some information out via the cable and stands by to await the commands you will give so it can do just that. 

It says for instance:

Want to play music? Great, select whichever playlist you want, and I’ll send it right over to the monitor through the HDMI.

But when you connect the PS4 to the Mac via an HDMI cable, your Mac doesn’t react. It will give you a blank stare in confusion, wondering what to do with this new cable because it doesn’t recognize the connection. 

On the other side, the PS4 will be busy sending the video signal down the HDMI cable. But when the signal gets to the HDMI port of your Mac, it hits a dead end. It can’t gain access to the computer. And so, there is simply no communication between the PS4 and the Mac.

To connect a PS4 to a Mac, you need a different setup altogether, not a direct HDMI connection.

How Do I Connect My PS4 to My Mac using HDMI?

The only way to connect a PS4 to a Mac with HDMI is by using a capture card, as demonstrated in this video.

How to connect ps4 to laptop screen without remote play

For a hassle-free connection, you need a capture card that is compatible with your MacBook. The Elgato HD 60 S Capture Card  has a USB 3.0 interface that connects to the Thunderbolt port and is compatible with Sierra and newer macOS versions.

connect PS4 to Mac using HDMI and capture card

If you use a capture card that is not compatible with the USB specifications of your Mac, you will need an adapter to act as a bridge. The USB-C to USB-A adapter  works for type A capture cards.

connect PS4 to Mac using USB-C to USB-A adapter

You’ll also need video recording software. Most capture cards come with their own software, but you can use any other video capture software.

  • Download the macOS version of your chosen video capture software to your computer.
  • Connect the HDMI OUT port of your PS4 console to an HDMI cable.
  • Connect the other end of the HDMI cable to the HDMI IN port of the capture card.
  • Plug the video capture card into the Thunderbolt port on your Mac.
  • If your capture card does not have a USB-A port, use the USB-C to USB-A adapter to connect to the USB-C port on your Mac.
  • Launch the video capture software. 
    1. Go to Sources, then click the plus sign to bring up the list of buttons 
    2. Choose Display Capture and click OK. This will open the display capture device menu.
    3. Select USB Device 

Your PS4 home screen will display on the Mac screen. Enter full-screen or adjust the screen size as you like. You can now play PS4 games directly from the computer.

Sound output may be a challenge with this setup. Your PS4 should naturally output audio through the HDMI, but the maze of connections could impact the audio output. You can only hope that your cables are up to the task and will successfully transmit the audio.

Video quality too may be subpar when you use this connection method, with lags being the predominant challenge you may encounter. 

How to Connect a PS4 to a Mac Without Using HDMI?

Play station 4 gaming console

Here is a different way to link your PS4 to your Mac. This second method does not use HDMI and gives far better results.

You will need to use the PlayStation remote playback feature, Remote Play, and a wireless controller to make the connection. Presently, PS Remote Play is the only app that allows you to stream or play PS4 games on a MacBook. 

  1. Download the app from the App Store and follow the installation prompts.
  2. Go to the Function area on your PS4 home screen. To access the function area or screen, press the up button while on the home screen.
  3. Go to Settings, then to Remote Play Connection Settings, and Enable Remote Play.
  4. Go back to the function area and then to Settings again. Go to Account Management, then Activate as your Primary PS4, and select Activate.
  5. Go to Settings once again, then to Power Save Settings, and then Set Features Available in Rest Mode. Select the Stay Connected to the Internet and Enable Turning On PS4 From Network checkboxes.
    This will allow you to start PS Remote Play while the PS4 console is in Rest Mode.
    You only go through Steps 1-5 one time when making the initial setup. For subsequent connections, you will follow steps 6-9 each time you want to access your PS4 console from the Mac.
  6. Turn on the PS4 console. You can also set it to rest mode.
    Remember you activated feature availability in rest mode in Step 5 above, so your Mac will be able to access the PS4 console even when it’s in rest mode.
  7. Use a USB cable to connect your controller to the Mac. You can also use Bluetooth to pair them.
  8. Launch PS Remote Play on the Mac and select Sign in to PSN.
    Use the sign-in credentials for the account you use for your PS4 console.
  9. Select PS4. PS Remote Play will search for and connect to the PS4 console.
  10. Your PS4 console screen displays on the Mac. You can now play PS4 games from your Mac.

Use your PS controller to navigate the PS console. This video shows you how to do so without interfering with the remote connection. 

How to Use PS4 with StreamLabs OBS for FREE (Mac & Windows)(NO CAPTURE CARD)

Although this can be limiting, you can alternatively use the Control Panel of your Mac to control the PS console. The Control Panel shows the Share, Options, and PS (Home) buttons. It also displays the microphone status and battery level.

Note that you can’t use Share Play, Share Screen, or broadcast your gameplay when running Remote Play, even though the Share button is available.

To quit playing, click the X button on the top-left corner of the screen displaying the game. This disconnects the console from the computer without turning off the console. There is also an option that lets you put the PS console in rest mode.

Things to note when connecting your PS4 to your Mac with Remote Play

A macbook in the dark

First off, PS Remote Play needs at least 40 MB in storage space.

You also need a high-speed internet connection. Speeds of 5 Mbps are sufficient, but 15 Mbps or more will give you the best performance.

Your PS4 and your Mac must be on the same network and you must use the same PlayStation Network (referred to as PSN on the device settings) account that you use for your PS4 console.

This setup allows you to enjoy playing your PS4 remotely, meaning you can access your PS4 games while away from the console. 

You want to make sure that your Mac properly connects to your PS4 in close vicinity before you attempt a remote connection.

This way, you can troubleshoot any issues that may prevent the devices from connecting. And you’ll be sure the connection will work when you try to access your PS4 remotely.

In addition, you can adjust video quality settings for Remote Play from the Settings menu on your Mac.

Bear in mind that when running Remote Play, you can’t:

  • Play PS VR in VR mode.
  • Play a DVD or Blu-Ray Disc.
  • Play music on Spotify.

Lastly, not all PS4 games support PS Remote Play hence you may not be able to play some games when you run the feature.

Conclusion

As we’ve already established, you cannot connect your PS4 to your MacBook directly using an HDMI cable. The HDMI port on your Mac is not designed to receive video signals. Instead, it sends them out. 

So when you plug the HDMI cable into the computer, there will be nothing to display on the Mac screen because there is no signal coming in.

Luckily, there are ways to do it indirectly. There are also ways to connect the two that do not involve the use of an HDMI cable.

You may use a video capture card along with video streaming software.

Or you may use the PlayStation remote play service.

Both methods turn your MacBook into a monitor for your PS console and allow you to play PS4 games as you would on any other monitor.

Last update on 2022-08-07 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API.


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