Correct way to connect MBP 2017 to Thunderbolt Display

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by keogh, Nov 25, 2017.

  1. keogh macrumors member


    Sep 1, 2010
    Welling, UK
    Hi Guys,

    I've got the latest MBP 2017 (touch bar with 4 Thunderbolt 3/USB-C ports) and a Thunderbolt 2 display. I've got the official Thunderbolt 3 > Thunderbolt 2 adaptor and my display all works fine with my MBP, but I just want to know the correct way to connect these each time I remove the MBP. Just a note that this may be obvious, but I've not owned a MBP for 10+ years, and always had iMac/Mac Pro/Mini's.

    The reason I ask is, sometimes its a bit of a faff to get video out my Thunderbolt 2 display. I plug my MBP in to the mains, plug the TB3 cable in and I get nothing. I lift the lid up, remove the TB3 port, remove the power, plug them in diff times, and it seems to be random when I finally get video.

    So what I'm asking, is there a correct way to do this? E.g. plug the TB3 in first, wait, then the power, or vice versa, or leave the lid up/down etc etc? It's just getting annoying keep faffing around everytime I go mobile and back to the screen again, I just want to plug and play if you like :)

    Any help appreciated!

  2. rawweb, Nov 25, 2017
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2017

    rawweb macrumors 6502a


    Aug 7, 2015
    Mine is plug and problem at all. Make sure your connection is solid? I usually plug into the left side ports on the MacBook Pro. I'm usually driving a 5k Ultrafine on the right side bus. Press a key or two on the MacBook or external keyboard to wake her from sleep and bam!

    As long as you don't have a removal storage device attached to the ATD, you should have no issue hot swapping the cable/adapter.
  3. Fravin macrumors regular


    Mar 8, 2017
    Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
    Are you using only the external display in clamshell mode?
  4. Acronyc macrumors 6502a

    Jan 24, 2011
    If you are plugging it in when the MBP is in clamshell mode you might need to wake it up before you will get a video signal. Even plugging in the power to the MBP might not work because it is still sleeping. What I do with my Thunderbolt Display is plug in the and display while it is in clamshell mode and then press a key on my bluetooth keyboard. This is enough to wake it up and it always sends a video signal through just fine.
  5. Fravin macrumors regular


    Mar 8, 2017
    Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
    Actually, you don't need to wake it.

    As Apple states, these are the requirements to use Clamshell mode:

    Requirements for closed-display mode
    To use closed-display mode with your Mac notebook, you need:

    • An AC power adapter
    • An external keyboard and mouse or trackpad, either USB or wireless
    • A USB-C to USB adapter if you're using a USB mouse or keyboard with MacBook (2015 and later) or MacBook Pro (2016 and later)
    • An external display or projector

    Look here:
  6. Acronyc macrumors 6502a

    Jan 24, 2011

    I’ve seen that document before, but I notice sometimes if my Mac is asleep when I plug it in it doesn’t catch the bluetooth signal from my external keyboard/mouse unless one of them is used to wake up the Mac. Since an external keyboard and mouse are required and my Mac receives no input from either, it stays asleep. Tapping on a key or clicking the mouse button will wake it up quickly. However, other times my Mac wakes up just fine without any manipulation of the external keyboard/mouse required. Either way its not a big deal for me, I’ve never had a problem with the video coming through on my Thunderbolt Display.

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5 November 25, 2017