Dual monitor with M2 and M1 MacBook Airs

What are people using for using dual displays with the M1 and M2 MBAs? I’m looking at trading in my 32in Samsung for 2 27in LGs and am looking for advice.

Advice? Don‘t do it.

Most solutions seem to use a DisplayLink-powered adapter.

Do be aware that these adapters are basically their own graphics output and do need the installation of third-party drivers - which not only have some functional limitations (GPU acceleration, playback of protected content, resolution) and at least historically have been prone to breaking with Apple’s OS upgrades (probably not as much an issue as it used to be with Apple’s former kernel extension-based driver architecture).

Understanding DisplayLink, multiple displays, and M1 Macs – Daniel Compton

M1 MacBook Pro (2020) with 4K Displays connected via DisplayLink USB - Benchmark Review - lauruk

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I run a dual monitor setup with my M1 MBA. I will sort of echo what @AppliedMicro said with a couple caveats:

  1. Don’t expect it to work like a native screen. There will be inconsistencies, and it won’t be as smooth as a directly connected display.
  2. Expect odd bugs.
  3. Don’t do this if you regularly try to play protected content, as it just doesn’t work when the DisplayLink display is connected.

That said, I am using this adapter.

It “works”. Well, it worked much better until Ventura. With Ventura I’m having to run my 4k monitor in 2k resolution because it just loses connection at 4k. I’m guessing maybe it’s a bandwidth issue? I’m not really sure. It seems to happen when I’m trying to do something intensive on both screens at the same time. However I don’t have that issue at all when running it at 2k.

All that said, if you need an occasional second screen, then this is a “workable” solution. However if you are a heavy multi screen user and are going to have things running on it constantly, then I would probably stay with your current setup and save for a model that supports multiple screens natively.

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Thanks for the advice. I guess I’ll just look into another 32 in screen.

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The Max and Pro chips support dual monitors though, right? I never really paid attention because I didn’t care enough about having two monitors at the time

Yes. The M1 Pro MBP supports two external monitors and the M1 Max MBP supports four.

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