Why Apple Should Make a VESA Monitor Mount

Apple’s software is all about accessibility. It’s hardware? Not so much

  • Most VESA mounts are janky compared to Apple’s beautiful hardware. 
  • A good, adjustable monitor stand is essential for healthy ergonomics. 
  • Apple’s monitor stands are beautiful, but don’t go far enough.
Apple VESA Mount Adapter Kit for iMac Pro


Apple’s monitors are beautiful, but if you want any kind of ergonomically good setup, you have to screw a big, ugly VESA arm onto the back. 

VESA (Video Electronics Standards Association) is a fantastic standard, but even the best arms don’t cut it. I have an Ergotron arm, recommended by everyone (including Wirecutter), and its pivots are either scratchy, or too tight, and almost nothing is smooth. When I tilt the display back or forward, I feel like I’m going to bend the screen—and that’s on the loosest setting with lubricant applied. Apple is already in the fancy, expensive stand game, so why not just make an overpriced VESA stand, too?

"A good VESA arm can increase productivity and efficiency at a workstation, address posture and disability concerns, and save valuable space when not in use," Anthony Martin, structural engineer and CEO of structural shielding company TotalShield, told Lifewire via email.

Mount Up

The standard VESA mount is officially named the Flat Display Mounting Interface (FDMI), but we all know it as a VESA mount. It’s a metal plate with four holes in a standard pattern and size. This mates with the back of your monitor, which has matching holes, threaded for machine screws.

There are actually a few different sizes in the spec, but if you just buy a VESA mount from, say, Amazon, then you’ll almost certainly get one with two sets of holes on the plate, complying to the 75x75mm and 100x100mm VESA patterns. 

HX Desk Monitor Arm (white)


The standard has spread to other uses, too. Many drum machines, like Elektron’s Digitakt and Syntakt, for example, have VESA holes in the back, and manufacturers sell arms that let these units float above the desktop.

And that’s where the problems begin. There are a zillion VESA mounts available, some as simple as a plate that lets you hang a TV on the wall, while others are complex enough to include several movable arms to mount multiple monitors. Surely a good one exists somewhere, although when even Wirecutter’s recommendation is janky, you know you’re in trouble. 

Stand Up

Apple already makes three interchangeable monitor stands. There’s the $1,000 Pro Stand for its $5,000 Pro Display XDR monitor, and two options for the latest Apple Studio Display. You can buy and mount the Pro Stand yourself, but you have to specify the stand for your Apple Studio Display at the point of purchase. It may be possible to have Apple swap them for you later, but the stands are not designed to be user serviceable.

Apple also makes a VESA mount option for both its monitors, letting you integrate it into your existing VESA setup. 

A good VESA arm can increase productivity and efficiency at a workstation.

The big problem with Apple’s display mounts is adjustability. The standard Studio Display mount does nothing but tilt, and many users and reviewers say it’s too short to be ergonomically viable. This means you need a stand for your stand, or a pile of books, to get it to a healthy height. The height-adjustable version sounds better at first, but adds only 4.2 inches to the height. Neither will rotate.

For a healthy ergonomic computer setup, an appropriate monitor height is crucial. The top edge of the screen should be at or slightly below eye level. Apple’s stands might do that if you’re lucky, but probably not. And if you use a sit/stand setup, there’s no way its stands are adjustable enough to cover both positions. 

"I’m very tall and need the flexibility on positioning," software developer and VESA fan Greg Pierce says on Twitter. "Also, since you cannot change them out later, [VESA is] the most flexible choice."

Considering Apple’s software is so great for accessibility, it seems odd that its hardware is so bad. 

Too Standard?

So why doesn’t Apple make a VESA stand? One possibility is that it doesn't want to, that it doesn’t see such a basic accessory as something it should make. And that makes sense, in a way. One of the best things about VESA mounts is there are so many variations. You can buy stands and arms for any setup. They move, or don’t, they’re longer for tall folks, or regular. They clamp or bolt to the desk, or screw into the wall.

Another possibility is that VESA is too standard. Take a look at the mount on the Pro Display XDR. It kind of bayonets into place, and snaps home thanks to magnets. A VESA plate may seem pedestrian. 

But imagine if Apple did make a VESA mount. For a start, it would work perfectly with the Apple Studio Display. It would be weighted precisely so that adjusting height, tilt, and rotation could be done with a finger, and not feel like you were about to snap something. And Apple users tend to like Apple design, and buy Apple accessories.

In this case, everybody would win.

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