Apple Thunderbolt Display

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Apple Thunderbolt Display
Apple Thunderbolt Display.png
The Apple Thunderbolt Display
DeveloperApple Inc.
TypeComputer monitor
Release dateJuly 20, 2011; 9 years ago (2011-07-20)
DiscontinuedJune 23, 2016 (2016-06-23)
PredecessorApple LED Cinema Display
SuccessorLG UltraFine (consumer)
Pro Display XDR (professional)
WebsiteOfficial website

The Apple Thunderbolt Display is a 27-inch flat panel computer monitor sold by Apple Inc. from July 2011 to June 2016. It replaced the former Apple LED Cinema Display. New to the Thunderbolt Display was the switch from Mini DisplayPort and USB to a single Thunderbolt connection for data transfer between computer and display. The increased throughput from switching to Thunderbolt enabled inclusion of a Gigabit Ethernet port and a FireWire 800 port on the display. Older model Macs introduced prior to 2011 with Mini DisplayPort and the single USB-C retina MacBook are incompatible with the Thunderbolt Display without use of additional adaptors.[1]

The Apple Thunderbolt Display was replaced by the LG UltraFine displays developed by LG, and ultimately succeeded by the Pro Display XDR launched in 2019.

27-inch model[edit]

Like its 27-inch LED Cinema Display predecessor, the resolution of the 27-inch model is 2560×1440 pixels, and follows a 16:9 aspect ratio. It was made with aluminum and glass, having a similar appearance to the contemporary ranges of iMac and MacBook Pro unibody designs. The display featured a built-in 720p[2] FaceTime HD camera (replacing the iSight in the previous model), microphone, and stereo speaker system with subwoofer (2.1 channel). An octopus cable combining Thunderbolt and MagSafe is permanently attached to the back of the display for data input and charging laptops, respectively. There is also a separate Thunderbolt port, a FireWire 800 port, three USB 2.0 ports, and a Gigabit Ethernet port.

The Thunderbolt port allows for the possibility of daisy chaining Thunderbolt Displays from a supported Mac, or connecting other devices that have Thunderbolt ports, such as external hard drives and video capture devices.

Apple released Rev B of the Thunderbolt Display (model MC914LL/B) which includes a MagSafe to MagSafe 2 adaptor to the charging cable built into the display.[3]

On June 23, 2016, Apple announced through a statement that it was discontinuing the Thunderbolt Display and would no longer produce stand-alone displays, saying "There are a number of great third-party options available for Mac users."[4] Apple subsequently worked with LG to design the Thunderbolt 3-enabled UltraFine line, consisting of 4K and 5K displays.[5]

On April 5, 2018, Apple announced that it would re-enter the standalone display business in 2019 by releasing a new display with a new version of the Mac Pro.[6] On June 3, 2019, Apple announced the Pro Display XDR.

Backward and forward compatibility[edit]

Apple Thunderbolt Displays, like the video input on Thunderbolt iMacs, drop compatibility with all previous standards, including VGA, DVI, and DisplayPort.[7] They are not compatible with computers that do not have a Thunderbolt port, including pre-2011 Macs and the vast majority of desktop PCs.

As of April 2018, MacBook (Retina) 12" laptops only have a USB-C port, which cannot communicate with a Thunderbolt adapter. However, newer MacBook Pros and MacBook Airs have Thunderbolt 3 ports. Although these ports have the same connector as USB-C, they are compatible with the Thunderbolt protocol, and can use a Thunderbolt Display with a Thunderbolt 3-to-2 adapter.[8]

Using multiple displays[edit]

MacBook Pro[edit]

  • Macbook Pro (2011): 2 Displays: Can daisy chain two Apple Thunderbolt Displays together to get two displays, but the laptop's LCD may turn off.[9][10]
  • Macbook Pro (2012): 2+2 Displays: Can daisy chain two Apple Thunderbolt Displays, in addition to one HDMI display and the Macbook Pro's own display, for four displays total[11][12]
  • MacBook Pro (Late 2016): Apple released a Thunderbolt 3 to Thunderbolt 2 Adapter for enabling the Thunderbolt 3 ports of MacBook Pro (Late 2016) to connect to Thunderbolt 2 devices.
  • MacBook Pro (2017-2019) Using 2 of the Thunderbolt 3 to Thunderbolt 2 Adapters can run 4 Thunderbolt Displays in addition to the built in Retina Display for a total of 5.

MacBook Air[edit]

  • MacBook Air (Mid 2011): 1+1 Displays: Can use one Apple Thunderbolt display, in addition to the MacBook Air's own display.[13][9]
  • MacBook Air (Mid 2012): 2+1 Displays: Can daisy chain two Apple Thunderbolt displays, in addition to the MacBook Air's own display.[14]


  • MacBook Retina (all models [early 2015, late 2016 and mid 2017]): Cannot be connected with Apple Thunderbolt Display as it lacks a Thunderbolt port. [15]

Mac Pro[edit]

  • Mac Pro (Late 2013): 6 Displays: Can run six Apple Thunderbolt Displays using six Thunderbolt ports.[16]

Mac mini[edit]

  • Mac mini (Mid 2011): 1 Display. 2 Displays daisy chained: AMD version[17]
  • Mac mini (Late 2012): 2 Displays daisy chained.[18]
  • Mac mini (Late 2014): 2 Displays.[19]
  • Mac mini (2018): 2 Displays using TB3 to TB2 converter.[20]

Technical specifications[edit]

Table of models
Component LED-backlit LCD
Model Apple Thunderbolt Display (27-Inch)[1][21]
Release date(s) July 20, 2011
Discontinued June 23, 2016
Model number(s) A1407
Display 27.00 inches (68.6 cm), IPS active-matrix TFT LCD, glossy glass covered screen, QHD (2560 × 1440) resolution, LED edge-lit backlight.
16∶9 aspect ratio (widescreen)
Pixel density 109 px/in
Response time 12 ms
Maximum Refresh rate 59.95 Hz
Colors 16,777,216 (8 bpc / 24 bit/px True Color)
Contrast ratio 1,000∶1
Maximum Brightness 375 cd/m2
Viewing angle 178° horizontal; 178° vertical
Power input IEC 60320 C7 port, 100–240 V AC @ 50–60 Hz (Up to 250 W while charging a MacBook Pro via MagSafe cable, 2 W or less in energy saver mode)

Aluminum frame and glass front
Audio output 2.1-channel speaker system (49 W)
Cables and peripheral connections


Peripheral connections

Dimensions (H × W × D, with stand) 19.35 in × 25.7 in × 8.15 in (49.1 cm × 65.3 cm × 20.7 cm)
Mass 23.5 lb (10.7 kg)
System Requirements Mac OS X 10.6.8 or later, Thunderbolt port

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Apple – Thunderbolt Display – Read the tech specs". Apple Inc. Retrieved February 6, 2020.
  2. ^ Miles, Stuart (November 1, 2011). "Apple Thunderbolt Display review". Pocket-lint. Retrieved January 22, 2013.
  3. ^ Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. ^ Clover, Juli. "Apple Discontinues Thunderbolt Display". Retrieved June 24, 2016.
  5. ^ "Apple Says It's Out of the Standalone Display Business".
  6. ^ "Apple Planning Modular Mac Pro Release for 2019, New Pro Workflow Team Providing Feedback for Professional Needs".
  7. ^ "Apple Thunderbolt Display 27-inch User Manual" (PDF).
  8. ^ "Adapters for the Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) or USB-C port on your Mac".
  9. ^ a b Slivka, Eric. "Apple Thunderbolt Display with Multiple Monitors: No Daisy Chaining Mini DisplayPort Monitors". macrumors.
  10. ^ "Dual 27" Apple Thunderbolt Displays Daisy Chained via Macbook Pro". YouTube. September 22, 2011.
  11. ^ "MacBook Pro 15" with Retina Display Can Run 3 External Displays". Retrieved February 21, 2014.
  12. ^ "MacBook Pro Retina Display does not run 3 Thunderbolt Displays". Retrieved February 21, 2014.
  13. ^ "Review of Apple Thunderbolt Display". AnandTech.
  14. ^ "Thunderbolt ports and displays: Frequently asked questions (FAQ)". Retrieved March 4, 2014.
  15. ^ "How to connect an Apple Display to a USB-C MacBook". Macworld. Retrieved October 10, 2016.
  16. ^ "Mac Pro (Late 2013): Using multiple displays". Retrieved February 21, 2014.
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^

External links[edit]