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I have been trying to hook my 2017 13" MacBook Pro (2 thunderbolt ports, no touchbar) up to an external display but it's not detecting any screen is connected at all. I've tried going via HDMI (USB-C cable to HDMI), tried via VGA (Via a USB-C hub) but nothing. I've tried multiple different screens too (including my TV), tried several different cables... Nothing. Might as well have connected the screens via a piece of string. It would behave the same way.

Options I've tried:

  • PRAM reset
  • SMC reset
  • Uninstalling and reinstalling DisplayLink
    • (I believe it should be showing in allow 'Screen Recording' security and privacy setting, but there's no reference of DisplayLink in there.)
  • Weird combinations of disconnecting, powering off, reconnecting...

I'm basically out of options. I know the new screen works because I've tested it with other devices. I know all the cables work, because I've done the same with those.

Is this issue symptomatic of a specific motherboard issue, or is there another option I can try?

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  • There's lots of questions here dealing with connecting external displays. Have you searched and tried any of those answers (like rebooting with the external cable connected)?
    – fsb
    Mar 21 '20 at 13:19
  • Yes. Everything around cables + rebooting that I can think of. Cables in, cables out, monitor on, monitor off. Swapping ports, the lot.
    – JonW
    Mar 21 '20 at 14:56
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Well, I got a (very) hacky fix for this that may help other people so I'll detail it here.

I have a Samsung S10 phone. So I picked up the Duet Displays app that allows you to extend your PC / MAC to another device over Wifi. This meant I could use my S10 as a second screen.

Next step was to connect the phone to the monitor and mirror the display.

That sort of works.

A slightly better option was that because it's a Samsung phone that means it has the DeX OS installed, and you can run the Duet Displays app within DeX. That gives me full-screen access on my monitor (albeit at not an ideal resolution, and sometimes lag too as it's over Wifi).

If you have an iPhone then I suppose Sidecar could also do the same configuration.

So there you go. Extend Mac desktop to phone. Connect phone to monitor.

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