I just got a 16" MacBook Pro (M1 Max, 2021) and want to continue using my Apple Thunderbolt Display.

I'm new to USB-C dongles/docks/adapters/hubs (I am going to use "dongles" to mean all 4 because I don't understand the implied differences) and would like to know what combination would be efficient and supported.

Currently I'm looking at:


In this dongle I'd put:

  1. An Apple ThunderBolt 2 to ThunderBolt 3/USB-C adapter to connected to the display
  2. An AnyWatt MagSafe 1 to USB-C adapter to use the display's MagSafe power cable
  3. Ethernet cable from time to time to troubleshoot issues with routers, not at the same time as the display

The dongle seems overkill I really just need a USB-C dongle with 2 more USB-C ports and an ethernet point. It also says the USB-C ports are "data only" or "power only" but they are both USB-C... how do you tell the difference? Will they support TB2 display?

The goal is to plug in a single USB-C cable into my MacBook and have my display etc all just work and not be plugging 3/4 things in and out of the MacBook each time.


1 Answer 1


For anyone who finds this from searching, here's what I've figured out:


This explains that using the adapter required a proper Thunderbolt dock and not a normal USB-C extension, these docks are usually more expensive and powered externally through a barrel plug or similar to provide the pass-through power requirement for Thunderbolt.

As such, these more expensive docks remove the need for the MagSafe 1 adapter, because the dock can provide power over USB-C to the MacBook itself.

Docks such as the ones listed on this article (probably laden with affiliate links) should work with pass-through video but I'm not going to get one to test this as the cost benefit is too low to me.

Long story short.. I'm just going to use the display cable into the laptop directly and not bother docking it. The display itself is enough of a USB dock for my uses. Your millage may vary.

  • Yes, I'd avoid putting the Dock in between. I have the 16" too: I have an Anker USB-C to 4 x USB-A hub; and a Belkin USB-C to Ethernet adaptor. Between that and the built-in ports, that's most things covered.
    – benwiggy
    Commented Nov 26, 2021 at 11:17

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