How do you like the new MBP in clam shell mode?

Hi there, I’m using MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2018) in the clam shell mode most of the time, and am having a LOT of problems.

I’m just curious to know if the new MBP is doing alright, because I’m planning to switch gears.

Option A. Studio display + Mac Studio (plus, iPad for mobility, probably with remote desktop app if needed)

Option B. Studio display + New MBP

I’m heavily towards the option (A), just because I had so much stress regarding the clam shell mode, and the monitor not waking up quick enough, and many different USB hubs didn’t work properly and died, etc.

Before jumping into any conclusion, I decided to ask if the option B is pretty solid, or not.

Thanks for reading!

What problem are you having?

  1. I bang on my keyboard and trackpad, and it takes several seconds for my monitor to show up.

  2. And now I start typing the password, and the monitor goes down again, and flickering. It comes back after I bang on my keyboard again.

These two are the most common issues I go through every day.

This sounds like a monitor connection issue instead of a MBP issue. I have system at work were the Samsung monitor is terrible at waking back up. Any other monitor is fine with it.

Yeah, that’s indeed a valid theory. I just have no way to validate it on my end :sweat_smile:

So I was hoping if someone can let me know if their new MBP has no issue with third-party monitors (or even with Studio display). If there is, then I should definitely go for option (A). If not, then I should really start comparing those two options.

Someone asked me this question years ago when I was having issues with clamshell mode, why use clamshell mode at all? You get a second screen “for free”. So ever since, I keep my laptop open when connected to a monitor and most often park Messages, Mail and Things on the laptop.


You’re not crazy – you’ll find countless stories of poorly behaved Intel machines suffering in clamshell mode.

I have found the M-series laptops significantly better behaved than their intel counterparts.

My 2019 Intel MBP was extremely hit or miss and I frequently had to replug monitors to get things right.

My MacBook Air M1 with LG 5k display was nearly perfect at waking up promptly and having everything connected.

My 16-inch M1 Max w/ Studio Display is 100% perfect. Haven’t had a single issue in clamshell yet.


I totally agree. I have the MBP 16" and a large 32" dell both going at the same time. I love clicking one keyboard maestro key and both screens fill up perfectly with various apps and finder windows perfectly placed on both screens.

I worked with two monitors but didn’t like it, because my neck hurt and I got distracted to the second monitor. Ever since, I’m a one-monitor guy.


you’ll find countless stories of poorly behaved Intel machines suffering in clamshell mode.

Yes! I don’t remember, but someone in the Relay network, who is a host, said exactly the same symptom I described.

I have found the M-series laptops significantly better behaved than their intel counterparts.

Awesome. Glad to know that!

Then, now I can really start thinking about what to choose between Mac Studio and M1 MBP. I was wondering if Mac Studio is the only choice or not, before your comment.

I wouldn’t ever trust my sample size of one, but I know at least one or two Relay hosts have referenced the problems being much better or entirely solved with the M-series as well. I can picture Myke saying it, and I believe one of our beloved MPU hosts have said it as well.

I’m using them 14” MBP in clam shell mode with two Dell screens connected via a Caldiigit Elemental Hub. Happy so far :crossed_fingers::crossed_fingers:

When I plug in Apple’s LG Ultrafine monitor to my M1 MacBook Air, I leave the laptop open and in front of the 24-inch monitor which sits just above and behind the MBA’s screen. Works great. Did that at work with my PC laptops, too. No turning side to side. Just an idea.

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The brand and model of external monitor used, the quality of the cable used to connect, and the ports on either end that connect it all together are enormous variables. That’s why some report no problems while others have nothing but frustration.


Yeah, I think it was probably Myke. And I posted this in the hope to double-check it. Anyway, I’m not buying anything like, in a week. So it’s an early investigation, and your opinion is very valuable to me. Thanks!

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Chiming in to confirm I’m also having issues with my 2017 15" MBP in clamshell mode. Connection issues to both monitor and network (wired). It seems to have gotten better with the latest macOS Big Sur updates though.

It’s one of the reasons my next Mac will probably be a desktop. The other one is that the MBP is 99.9% of the time in clamshell mode and on mains power. Which is not optimal.

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