Apple Displays FAQ – Information and Tech Specs

Apple Inc. has sold a wide variety of computer displays throughout their history. Apple began to manufacture displays in 1980. Before they manufactured their own displays, they recommended third-party monochrome monitors. Here you will find the most frequently asked questions and answers about Apple displays.

Apple Displays FAQ

What Are the Benefits of a Larger Display?

Answer: Users may benefit from a large display. According to Mark Hattersley (Mac Secrets, Wiley Publishing, Inc., p. 7), in 2005, Pfeiffer Consulting tested the Apple 30-inch Cinema HD display against a 17-inch display in a number of tasks. Their report found that working on a 30-inch display doubled productivity when using applications such as word processing or spreadsheet editing. The 20-inch display tripled productivity when using design programs such as Adobe Photoshop. Thus, spending the extra money on a large display can pay for itself.

What are the System Requirements for the Thunderbolt Display?

Answer: To use the Apple Thunderbolt Display, you’ll need a capable computer running OS X v10.6.8 Snow Leopard or later. To use the Thunderbolt Display in Boot Camp, you’ll need a Thunderbolt-capable Mac, and the latest software and firmware updates for Thunderbolt-capable computers.”

Do all Thunderbolt Cables Work with Older Thunderbolt Devices?

Answer: Yes. All Thunderbolt cables work with Thunderbolt 2 and older Thunderbolt ports and devices.

Which Mac models are Thunderbolt Display capable?

Answer: The following Macs have Thunderbolt ports:

  • MacBook Pro Retina, 13-inch, late 2012 and later
  • MacBook Pro Retina, 15-inch, mid 2012 and later
  • MacBook Pro, 13-inch, early 2011 and later
  • MacBook Pro, 15-inch, early 2011 and later
  • MacBook Air, 11-inch, mid 2011 and later
  • MacBook Air, 13-inch, mid 2011 and later
  • Mac mini, mid 2011 and later
  • iMac, mid 2011 and later
  • Mac Pro, late 2013

Which Mac Models Are Thunderbolt 2 Display Capable?

Answer: The following Macs can be used with the Thunderbolt 2 Display:

  • MacBook Air, 13-inch, early 2015
  • iMac Retina 5K, 27-inch, late 2014
  • Mac mini, late 2014
  • MacBook Pro Retina, 13-inch, late 2013 and later
  • MacBook Pro Retina, 15-inch, late 2013 and later
  • Mac Pro, late 2013.

What OS Is Best for Operating Thunderbolt?

Answer: To get the best performance from your Thunderbolt, make sure your Apple Mac is running OS X v10.6.8 or later.

How Can I Install an Update for the Latest Software?

Answer: To install software updates, choose Software Update from the Apple menu. A list of available updates will appear. Install Thunderbolt specific updates among the other updates. You can also install Thunderbolt firmware for the Mac and display.

Will My Thunderbolt Display Be Affected If I Reinstall OS X On My Mac?

Answer:  You must disconnect any Thunderbolt devices before starting the installation of OS X. However, there is one exception – if a Thunderbolt display is connected to a Mac mini, leave it connected. After the installation, run Software Update and apply all OS X updates before reconnecting any Thunderbolt devices.

Apple Cinema Display 27-inch

Can I Use the Thunderbolt Port to Supply Power to Connected Devices?

Answer: Yes, you can. A Thunderbolt Display is connected to an AC power outlet (or running on battery power), and through its port the device supplies power to connected devices. It is recommended to connect all the devices which have their own power supplies in order to achieve optimal functionality. Note that if you are using Thunderbolt devices that get their power only from the Thunderbolt bus, the battery will drain more quickly on devices running on battery power.

Do I Need a Thunderbolt to Thunderbolt Cable?

Answer: The Apple Thunderbolt to Thunderbolt cable allows users to connect Thunderbolt devices. To connect Thunderbolt-equipped iMacs, use the Target Display Mode. To connect other Thunderbolt Apple computers, use the Target Disk Mode.

When I have a Mac Connected to a Thunderbolt Device, Do Other Devices Connected to That Mac Become Active On It?

Answer: No. The additional devices do not chain in this case and they become peripherals for the Mac.

What Is the Apple Thunderbolt to Gigabit Ethernet Adapter for?

Answer: This adapter lets you connect Gigabit Ethernet devices to your Mac through the Thunderbolt port.

What Is the Apple Thunderbolt to FireWire Adapter for?

Answer: This adapter lets you connect FireWire devices to your Mac through the Thunderbolt port.

Will Apple’s Thunderbolt to Thunderbolt cable, Thunderbolt to Firewire Adapter, or Thunderbolt to Gigabit Ethernet Adapter Work When Plugged into Another Port?

Answer: No, these accessories require a Thunderbolt port to function even they fit in a Mini-DisplayPort connector. They will not be recognized.

Are Thunderbolt 2 Devices Compatible with an Older Thunderbolt Port?

Answer: Generally, yes. Thunderbolt 2 Macs and peripherals are backwards compatible with older Thunderbolt devices. However, we recommend reading user’s manual provided by the device manufacturer for each device.

Can I Mix Thunderbolt and Thunderbolt 2 Cables and Devices?

Answer: Yes. All Thunderbolt cables work with Thunderbolt 2 and older Thunderbolt ports and devices.


Apple Thunderbolt Display Review (with Setup & Demo) [Video]

Published on September 22, 2011 by the Jonathan Morrison.



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