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I have been told that the only way to connect more than one external display to a MacBook Air was to buy Apple's Thunderbolt monitor and daisy chain.

Mavericks promises better support for external displays. Is it now possible to run two non-Thunderbolt monitors from a mid-2013 MacBook Air or is this still impossible?

  • Note that this question is similar but refers to older hardware and software. – pnj Oct 23 '13 at 15:15
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    this Matrox adapter is a partial solution, but tricks the mac into thinking the two monitors are one super-wide display. It would be nice to have a solution that recognizes that the two displays are in fact two displays. – pnj Oct 23 '13 at 15:23
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The changes in Mavericks make it possible to connect a DisplayPort monitor to your MBA and also use an Apple TV as an external display - I've just confirmed it on my setup - but that is pretty slow over wifi.

The issues with connecting monitors to the MBA are in hardware, not software. For example, the reason why you cannot connect a DisplayPort adapter to the Apple Thunderbolt Display is because the monitor itself uses the DisplayPort channel:

http://www.anandtech.com/show/4832/the-apple-thunderbolt-display-review/8

Connecting two displays to the MBA requires two thunderbolt devices.

The first device can be either the Apple TB display or one of the Thunderbolt docks with a DVI / HDMI connector. Both of these options use the DisplayPort channel, so connecting a DisplayPort monitor to them won't work.

This is where the second Thunderbolt device comes in (a hard disk or other device with two TB ports for pass-through). This acts as a man-in-the-middle and can extract a second DisplayPort signal.

So your setup will look like this:

<Air> -- <TB dock/display> -- <TB drive> -- <DisplayPort monitor>

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You can connect two monitors to a 2013 Macbook Air by connecting one to the Mini DisplayPort, and one to the USB port via this USB - DVI adapter:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0086359SG/ref=oh_details_o00_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

With the computer open, this gives you up to three screens. The USB connected screen is minimally laggy - fine for work, but probably not good for games or video.

  • on Marvicks I have this issue when the displayLink (USB to dvi adapter) is connected that sometimes the whole machine would just crash and restart it self. Anyone else having this issue? – space_balls Aug 12 '14 at 0:17
  • I've had this same setup and it works, however the system tends to crash when using expose or mission control. – Gene Parcellano Feb 10 '15 at 2:58
  • sadly, these DisplayLink adapters are still this buggy. when you use Mission Control, your computer crashes and logs you out. not a good solution. – fletom Nov 19 '16 at 23:37
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It's possible to daisy chain two external monitors.

This KB-article lists the models that support up to 2 displays through one Thunderbolt port.

  • MacBook Air (Mid 2012 and later)
  • MacBook Pro (13-inch, Mid 2012 and later)
  • MacBook Pro (15-inch and 17-inch, Early 2011 and later)
  • iMac (Mid 2011 and later)
  • Mac Mini (Mid 2011 and later)
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    The question was about using non-thunderbolt displays. – wisbucky Jan 15 '15 at 19:11
  • You can use two thunderbolt docks. The original page is visible on web.archive.org/web/20151220213512/https://support.apple.com/… – sucotronic May 7 '18 at 9:40
  • I just one to confirm that using two Belkin thunderbolt 2 docks connected in daisy chain, I'm able to use tow screens at the same time with no problem, with my Early-2015 macbook air. Only viable thanks to 2nd hand docks getting cheaper :P – sucotronic Jul 4 '18 at 9:24
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You could use a Thunderbolt to HDMI then a HDMI splitter and I know there's a program to make your MacBook think you are using one big display.

  • Won't the splitter mirror the displays, as the Macbook can't differentiate between the two? – Tanmay Aug 12 '16 at 4:20

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