The Apple Silicon based 2020 Apple M1 MacBook Pro supports Thunderbolt version 3 and I'm wondering if anyone has tried connection one to an Apple Thunderbolt Display?

Of course you'd need to use one of Apple's Thunderbolt 3 to Thunderbolt 2 converters.

I also understand that this version is limited to supporting only a single 4K or 6K display, but since the original Apple Thunderbolt Display is only 2K I’d want to try and daisy chain these.

Can I run more than one external display from the Apple Silicon M1 CPU/GPU based MacBook Pro (or Air)?

  • I can confirm this is still an issue. I had two LG 4k monitors daisy chained via thunderbolt from my 2018 Mac Mini for years… My default config is 1 monitoring via thunderbolt however adding a second causes the M1 to crash.. Sort of frustrating that this doesn’t work. The same is true for my thunderbolt eGPU which was working on my old mini but now doesn’t work on M1.
    – Bprendy
    Jul 14, 2021 at 0:16
  • Here are some work arounds for multiple external displays off of M1 as of 2022: macworld and reviewgeek
    – Yarin
    Nov 21, 2022 at 14:29

3 Answers 3


No, you get only one external display - for two supported displays total and they do not chain (in the case of the mini and two external displays).

One is the MacBook Pro / Air screen and the second can be as large as the 6K Pro Display XDR. The Mac mini has the same limitation - two displays only, no chaining of displays. Initial reports from the Thunderbolt 2 to 3 adapter are very encouraging that those displays work well. As do the latest displays with newer connections.

Now, just because Apple doesn’t support it, you can add all sort of Thunderbolt docks and USB to HDMI adapters. DisplayLink works like an external / virtual GPU to pass video data over USB so it’s slower and you have to manage the drivers often updating each time Apple ships an update or security fix.

Five displays works with third party software + hardware.

This team has tested 5 displays from an Air and 6 from the Mini. It looks like you can push things far more using DisplayLink software instead of the supported direct connection with reasonably priced adapters if you really need more pixels and are willing to sacrifice performance and handle third party display software limitations and potential bugs.

  • Have you tested a single original Thunderbolt Display? Not an Apple Pro XDR. Nov 20, 2020 at 5:38
  • 3
    I can confirm that the M1 Mini works with the Thunderbird Display and the adapter Apple sells. Arrived, well, a few minutes ago :-)
    – nohillside
    Nov 20, 2020 at 17:25
  • I'll also add, that the TD works fine with adapter, and the TD's USB ports working fine -> I have youbikey and a usb drive connected to TD and my MMM1 can access those with ease Dec 5, 2020 at 21:22
  • 1
    DisplayLink is a remote GPU typically talked to over USB, so the refresh rate is slower than for the built-in graphics adapter. Dec 21, 2020 at 4:23
  • DisplayLink solution seems broken with Big Sur 11.4. See displaylink.org/forum/showthread.php?t=67702 Jul 3, 2021 at 20:32

The youtube video showed 5 display works with M1 systems is not using M1 video solution, but a third-party DisplayLink (not DisplayPort) solution, which using USB ports and the computing power of installed systems to redirect/ repack the video output via USB ports.

So, technically speaking if your systems have unlimited USB ports, then you can have unlimited monitors connected to the systems (not limited to M1 systems), as long as the connected systems can provide the process resources for the DisplayLink converter/adapter. That is why the solution MUST have a matching DisplayLink driver for the installed OS version on each connected system.

The solution is not perfect, but looks like is the only solution currently to provide multi-monitor for M1 systems.

  • I agree totally, going past Apple “supported” configuration can be fraught with issues people didn’t expect. Some people will love displaylink, but many (perhaps even most) may be disappointed.
    – bmike
    Sep 20, 2022 at 7:23

This videos shows how to connect 3 monitors on macbook pro with M1 chip:


make sure second dock is compatible with DisplayLink drivers. its working for me. :)

  • While this link may answer the question, it is better to include the essential parts of the answer here and provide the link for reference. Link-only answers can become invalid if the linked page changes.
    – grg
    Dec 21, 2020 at 13:59

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