Jonathan Peacher

Multiple Monitors on Apple Silicon

If you are reading this, you probably just discovered that your second monitor isn’t working when you connect it to your M1/M2 Mac. Surprise, those chips have only one video output and thus can only support one external monitor! Bummer…

To get around this, and move on with your life, you can use DisplayLink to output extra monitors via USB! Normally, connecting to an external monitor looks something like this:

flowchart LR Machine -- video --> Monitor

With DisplayLink, that video signal gets compressed and outputted via USB. This data is then decompressed by a DisplayLink adaptor and outputted to the monitor as a video signal. That looks something like this:

flowchart LR Machine -- video --> DLS[DL Software] -- compressed --> DLA[DL Adaptor] -- video --> Monitor

From my experience using it so far, it works pretty well! I have noticed some minor latency and flickering issues, but that is a small price to pay, I think, for gaining a second monitor.

So TLDR, to get a second monitor on M1/M2 Mac, you have to:

  1. Install DisplayLink.
  2. Buy a DisplayLink adaptor that is compatible with your monitor specs.
  3. Plug and Display!
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