Apple Thunderbolt Display

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Apple Thunderbolt Display
Apple Thunderbolt Display.png
The Apple Thunderbolt Display
Developer Apple Inc.
Type Computer monitor
Release date July 20, 2011; 6 years ago (2011-07-20)
Discontinued June 23, 2016 (2016-06-23)
Predecessor Apple LED Cinema Display
Website Official website

The Apple Thunderbolt Display is a 27-inch flat panel computer monitor that was sold by Apple Inc. from July 2011 to June 2016. As of 2017, it is the final standalone display designed and sold by Apple.[1] 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 are incompatible with the Thunderbolt Display.[2]

27-inch model[edit]

Like its 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 aluminium and glass, having a similar appearance to the current ranges of iMac and MacBook Pro unibody designs. The display featured a built-in 720p[3] 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.[citation needed]

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."[1] Apple subsequently worked with LG to design Thunderbolt 3 enabled 4K and 5K displays.[4]

Backward compatibility[edit]

Apple Thunderbolt Displays, like the video input on Thunderbolt iMacs, drop compatibility with all previous standards, including VGA, DVI, and DisplayPort.[5] They are not compatible with computers that do not have a Thunderbolt port, including pre-2011 Macs and the vast majority of PCs. Also they are not compatible with the MacBook (Retina) 12" because its USB-C port doesn't allow a Thunderbolt adapter.

Using multiple displays[edit]

  • MacBook Air (Mid 2011): 1+1 Displays: Can use one Apple Thunderbolt display, in addition to the MacBook Air's own display.[6][7]
  • MacBook Air (Mid 2012): 2+1 Displays: Can daisy chain two Apple Thunderbolt displays, in addition to the MacBook Air's own display.[8]
  • 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.[7][9]
  • 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[10][11]
  • Mac Pro (Late 2013): 6 Displays: Can run six Apple Thunderbolt Displays using six Thunderbolt ports.[12]
  • MacBook Retina (early 2015 and late 2016): Cannot be connected with Apple Thunderbolt Display as it lacks a Thunderbolt port. [13]
  • 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.

Technical specifications[edit]

Table of models
Component LED-backlit LCD
Model Apple Thunderbolt Display (27-Inch)[2][14]
Release date(s) July 20, 2011
Discontinued June 23, 2016
Model number(s) A1407
Display 27 inches, TFT IPS active-matrix LCD, glossy glass covered screen, QHD (2560x1440 pixels) resolution, LED edge-lit backlight.
16:9 aspect ratio (widescreen)
Pixel density (in pixels per inch) 109
Response time 12 ms
Refresh rate 59.95 Hz
Colors 16.7 million (maximum) True Color
Contrast ratio 1000:1
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)
Material Aluminium frame and glass front
Video input 1× unpowered Thunderbolt cable
Audio output 2.1 channel speaker system (49 watts)
Other I/O 1× powered Thunderbolt port, 3× powered USB 2.0 ports, 1× powered FireWire 800 port, 1× Gigabit Ethernet port
Miscellaneous 1.3 meter[15] permanent octopus cable with Universal MagSafe (up to 85 W) and Thunderbolt plugs, Kensington Security Slot, 720p FaceTime HD camera with microphone
Dimensions (h × w × d, with stand) 19.35 in × 25.7 in × 8.15 in (49.1 cm × 65.0 cm × 20.7 cm)
Weight 23.5 lb. (10.8 kg)
System Requirements Mac OS X 10.7 or later, Thunderbolt port


In April 2017, Apple quietly confirmed that a new generation of Apple-branded displays will be released after 2017 alongside with the next generation of the Mac Pro.[16][17]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Clover, Juli. "Apple Discontinues Thunderbolt Display". Retrieved 2016-06-24. 
  2. ^ a b "Apple – Thunderbolt Display – Read the tech specs". Apple Inc. Retrieved August 20, 2011. 
  3. ^ Miles, Stuart (November 1, 2011). "Apple Thunderbolt Display review". Pocket-lint. Retrieved January 22, 2013. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ Apple Thunderbolt Display 27-inch User Manual
  6. ^ "Review of Apple Thunderbolt Display". AnandTech. 
  7. ^ a b Slivka, Eric. "Apple Thunderbolt Display with Multiple Monitors: No Daisy Chaining Mini DisplayPort Monitors". macrumors. 
  8. ^ "Thunderbolt ports and displays: Frequently asked questions (FAQ)". Retrieved 4 March 2014. 
  9. ^ "Dual 27" Apple Thunderbolt Displays Daisy Chained via Macbook Pro". YouTube. September 22, 2011. 
  10. ^ "MacBook Pro 15" with Retina Display Can Run 3 External Displays". Retrieved 21 February 2014. 
  11. ^ "MacBook Pro Retina Display does not run 3 Thunderbolt Displays". Retrieved 21 February 2014. 
  12. ^ "Mac Pro (Late 2013): Using multiple displays". Retrieved 21 February 2014. 
  13. ^ "How to connect an Apple Display to a USB-C MacBook". Macworld. Retrieved 2016-10-10. 
  14. ^ "Thunderbolt Display cable length?". 
  15. ^ "Apple Refreshes Mac Pro Lineup, Says All-New Modular Model With Apple-Branded Pro Displays Coming After 2017". 
  16. ^ "Apple-branded display in the works for iMac 'Pro' and Mac Pro". 

External links[edit]