Thunderbolt 3/USB C dock for both MacBook Pro 2015 & MacBook Pro 2017?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by zygmunt555, Jul 1, 2017.

  1. zygmunt555 macrumors newbie

    Jul 1, 2017
    Hi all,

    I'm wondering if there are any thunderbolt 3 /USB C docks that can work with both a new MacBook Pro (2017) and an older MacBook Pro (2015). Anything that will use USB C for a new MacBook Pro (2017), but will also work with the MacBook Pro (2015) over Thunderbolt 2 using this adapter?

    Or, do I have to stick with a Thunderbolt 2 dock if I want it to work with both laptops.

    Hoping to have USB 3.0, ethernet, thunderbolt and some display outputs.

  2. TonyK macrumors 6502a


    May 24, 2009
    The 2015 MBP is Thunderbolt 2. A TB3 dock is not not going to work for a TB2 system, not in the way you expect or intend it to. The 2015 MBP would not put out the same information via its port as a 2017 MBP.

    The description from your link above is:

    "The Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) to Thunderbolt 2 Adapter lets you connect Thunderbolt and Thunderbolt 2 devices — such as external hard drives and Thunderbolt docks — to any of the Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports on your MacBook Pro."

    This means you have to use a TB2 dock on the 2017 and the dongle to connect the TB2 dock to the MBP 2017.

    Do you have a TB2 dock at this time?
  3. zygmunt555 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 1, 2017
    Thanks for the response. Yes that's what I suspected. I was hoping to future-proof the setup a bit, so that when the 2015 gets upgraded I already have the newer USB C dock. I don't have a dock yet.

    However, the link also states: "As a bidirectional adapter, it can also connect new Thunderbolt 3 devices to a Mac with a Thunderbolt or Thunderbolt 2 port and macOS Sierra."

    So I'm a little confused about what Thunderbolt 3 peripherals will work with the 2015.
  4. TonyK macrumors 6502a


    May 24, 2009
    Did you read the reviews on the link above? Some seem to address concerns like what you've voiced here.
  5. zygmunt555 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 1, 2017
    Hmm lots of mixed reviews. At the very least it seems it won't work with mini-display port?
  6. TonyK macrumors 6502a


    May 24, 2009
    That is what I read regarding the MD port. My 27" LED Cinema monitor has a DP and not MDport and so it works with my OWC TB2 dock.

    Wonder if any of the members here have tried or researched what you are asking about.
  7. dyn macrumors 68030

    Aug 8, 2009
    That is incorrect as TB3 is backward compatible with TB2. Obviously you will only get the features TB2 provides, not the additional ones that TB3 provides as that requires the computer to have TB3 too. In this particular use case it will provide the features the OP is after.

    Or the other way around: use a TB3 docking station and connect it to the 2017 MBP with the TB3 cable it comes with. Use the TB2-TB3 adapter and a TB2 cable to connect it to the 2015 MBP (the adapter from Apple can be used to connect TB3 devices to TB2 computers as well as the other way around). The difference will be that the 2015 requires the power adapter it comes with whereas the 2017 can get its power from the docking station.

    Mini-DisplayPort speaks DisplayPort which isn't Thunderbolt. The TB2-TB3 adapter only speaks Thunderbolt, which isn't DisplayPort. Thus mini-DisplayPort and the TB2-TB3 are NOT compatible. It's a bit like 4 legs. Just because it has 4 legs doesn't make it a dog; cows have 4 legs too as do horses, pigs, etc. etc.

    To make a long story short: get either a TB2 or TB3 docking station, the TB2-TB3 adapter from Apple (and in case you get a TB3 dock you also need a TB2 cable to connect to the 2015 MBP. Don't get any of the USB-C docking stations because these are USB-only and may only work properly on the 2017 MBP.

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