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Headless Mac Mini: how?

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I am currently controlling my Mac Mini using the standard screen sharing. But if no display adapter is connected to it, the refresh rate is very slow. I've read many others suffer from this.


I read that there is a way to tweak a VGA adapter using a simple resistor and this way have the Mac Mini think it has a display connected to it.


To all the headless mac mini people out there:

Is this the way everyone is doing it? Or is there a simpler way?




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A quick google confirms this as a common problem. Also it suggests to me that the simplest fix is via an adapter, the various other software tricks seem to be very system dependent not to mention unreliable.


Here's a straightforward (and illustrated) guide to making your own dongle from the apple mini displayport to via adapter and a resistor, no soldering required:


Macminicolo Blog (Build a Dummy Dongle for a headless Mac mini)


FWIW my own solution, based on many years of mac use at work and home, is to sidestep the issue altogether and always have a monitor connected (sometimes a very small monitor). Usually I'll also find a way of having a keyboard and mouse wired in as well. It makes general troubleshooting, and other things like running boot camp, so much easier.

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I just registered for the forum to pass this along... IF updating to Mavericks is an option, supposedly this issue has been addressed in this new OS and should cure the issue per the support page for the folks who make Pure Music. The newest topic on the support page under "Apple OS X 10.9 "Mavericks" Compatibility" states:


" Mavericks has addressed two issues present or introduced in OS 10.7.x and 10.8.x. First, the Intel 4000 graphics throttling behavior that affected performance by causing unexpected pauses, necessitating using an HDMI EDID emulator device in a "headless" Mac Mini setup, has been eliminated."


This can be seen at: CHANNEL D - Support


I have no way of testing this on my own at present, but I assume they know whereof they speak. In my case, Mavericks was more of a problem than a solution because I am dependent on a variation of the driver-in-development by M2tech for my Empirical Audio Off Ramp 5. And that is going nowhere fast. So on the one hand, your headless issue may be fixed simply be upgraded to Mavericks. But be sure your DAC or other gear is going to work under that OS before proceeding. Hope this helps.

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Thanks Dandaman,


After you said this was solved in Mavericks I tested it again, since I recently upgraded to Mavericks and indeed it seems to be ok. I could swear that I had tested it already after the upgrade. I guess I didn't test it properly.


That settles it. No need for crazy dongles.






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