I have two MacBook Pros, a 2017 model with Thunderbolt 3 ports, and a late 2013 Retina with TB2 and USB3 ports. I use a HP USB-C Dock G4 docking station for the 2017 model. I have two 1080p HP displays attached; one is through HDMI straight to the docking station and the other goes through the HDMI input on a DisplayLink USB 3 adapter and connects to a USB3 port on the dock.

This setup is super convenient for me with the 2017 MacBook Pro as I can charge the device, use both displays and a bunch of other USB peripherals all over a single cable. I'd like to have a similar setup for the 2013 model as well.

When I connect it to the dock via a USB3 type A to type C cable, I get the DisplayLink monitor (which makes sense as it's a USB peripheral) and other USB devices, but not the direct HDMI monitor or charging. My understanding is that I probably won't be able to charge it through the dock since it uses a MagSafe connector, but I'm wondering if there's any adapter I can get to connect both monitors at the dock, without having to switch cables behind the dock?

My displays have 2 HDMI and 1 VGA inputs each. No DisplayPort on either of them. The dock has one HDMI (that I'm using) 2 DisplayPort plugs marked ++ but I don't know if they/re input/output/both/support daisy chaining etc or not.

Question is: What kind of adapter/cable should I get to connect my 2013 MacBook Pro to this dock to get maximum functionality with minimal cable clutter? My first thought is to use an HDMI cable for the direct-to-dock display, a USB A to C cable for all other peripherals and the stock MagSafe 2 adapter for charging. But I'm wondering if there are any Thunderbolt 2 (mini DP style) to USB-C type adapters that would reduce the clutter from three to two cables?

Thanks for the answers..

2 Answers 2


USB-C is a connector, not an interface. So, on your 2017 MBP, the "USB-C" ports are actually Thunderbolt 3, which includes displayport over USB-C. It is this video signal which is able to drive the monitor connected directly to the dock.

One option would be to get a TB2 dock (e.g. https://www.startech.com/Cards-Adapters/Laptop-docking-stations/thunderbolt-2-laptop-dock~TB2DOCK4K2DP). They are pretty rare now that TB3 has taken over, and hence expensive. You could potentially connect that dock either directly to the 2013 MBP, or to the 2017 MBP via a TB3->TB2 adaptor (I've not tested this, and I know the Apple adaptor is pretty fussy about what it will connect to, but it should be fine as the dock is true TB2 and not mini-DP). The dock has two display outputs - these are DP, but can be converted to HDMI with further adaptors. It's gonna be pricey, but would allow you to swap the setup between laptops pretty easily.

If it were me though, I would just keep the dock for the 2017. Your 2013 has an HDMI port built in, and you can readily convert one of the TB2 ports to HDMI with an adaptor. Your monitors can each handle 2 HDMI cables. So you could connect both laptops at the same time, and just switch between them using the monitor input settings. It's not as elegant, but it will be a lot cheaper.


I would recommend getting TB3 enabled monitors, then daisy chain them, less cables and easier access. "https://www.lacie.com/manuals/6big12bigtbolt3/daisy-chain-and-power-delivery/"

Here is an example of a monitor you can daisy chain with thunderbolt 2

Here is an example of a monitor you can daisy chain with thunderbolt 3

Now most of these monitors you'll find will be high end, but that that answers your question of reducing cabling and allowing you to connect multiple monitors.

You can use the thunderbolt 2 ports on your MacBook pro to connect 2 monitors using a thunderbolt 2 to hdmi cable. Then you can also connect another hdmi monitor via your hdmi port, but that might cap out your gpu allowance on your MacBook pro.

Also this also addresses your issue: How to use 3 external monitors on 15" late 2013 MacBook Pro Retina?

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