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Thunderbolt 3 dock compatibility with M1 chip Mac computers

In November 2020, Apple® released a new line of Mac® computers built using their newly designed ARM-based M1 chip.  The M1 is the first Apple-designed system on a chip (SoC) that has been developed for use in Mac computers and marks the company’s transition away from Intel® chips.  As with the Intel-powered Mac computers, the new M1 Mac computers are compatible with Belkin’s line of Thunderbolt™ 3 docks.

Due to the chipset included in the new M1 Mac computers, they are unable to support dual “extended” external monitors through their Thunderbolt 3 ports.  While you can still use a Thunderbolt 3 dock with the new M1 line of Mac computers to charge your laptop and gain USB, ethernet, and audio connections, you will only be able to use a single monitor while connected to these docks.  This is not a limitation of the Belkin Thunderbolt 3 docks, but of the Thunderbolt 3 ports on the new M1-based Mac.  This limitation is not present on Intel-based Mac computers.

There are options available for users of M1-based Mac computers to obtain dual extended external monitors while using a dock with their computer:

 
1.  The Belkin USB-C® Dual Display Docking Station, INC002, uses DisplayLink® technology to support dual extended external monitors and can be used with M1-based Mac computers.  This dock provides all the same features of the other Belkin Thunderbolt 3 docks in a USB-C-based package.
 
2.  The M1-based Mac mini® features a built-in HDMI® port on the back of the computer.  A monitor can be connected to this port when using a Belkin Thunderbolt 3 dock to achieve dual extended external monitors.

For more information on the Apple M1 chipset, please visit the Apple website at https://apple.com/mac/m1/.
 

Frequently Asked Questions

1.  Are the Belkin Thunderbolt 3 docks compatible with M1 MacBook® computers?  Do all three of Belkin's Thunderbolt 3 docks work with M1-powered Mac computers?

Yes, the Belkin line of Thunderbolt 3 docks including the Pro, Plus, and Core versions are compatible with the new M1-based Mac computers from Apple and support charging, extensions to different peripherals including keyboards and mice, and hard drives.

2.  Why doesn’t my Belkin Thunderbolt 3 dock work with the new M1 Mac computers to support a second display?

M1-based Mac computers cannot support dual extended displays through the Thunderbolt 3 port, therefore the Belkin Thunderbolt 3 docks are unable to support a second display.  The exception is with the new M1-based Mac mini computer, which can support up to two external monitors via an additional HDMI port.

3.  Are the Belkin Thunderbolt 3 docks compatible with older models of MacBook computers?

The Belkin Thunderbolt 3 docks are compatible with newer and older models of MacBook computers including the M1-based models.  The Thunderbolt 3 docks support charging, extensions to different peripherals including keyboards and mice, hard drives, and up to two extended displays.  Full functionality of the docks is also dependent on the functionality and support of the MacBook.  Except for the “extended” dual display, all aforementioned functionalities are available.

4.  Why can the new Mac mini, which has the M1 chipset, support dual display but not the MacBook Pro® or MacBook Air®?

The M1 chip-based Mac mini can support dual external displays via an additional HDMI port.  If you connect one display (or dock) to the Thunderbolt 3 port and another display to the HDMI, two external displays are possible. 

5.  I heard that DisplayLink can support dual extended display for the M1-based MacBook, is this true?

This is true.  The DisplayLink technology has the capability to bypass the limitations of the single display support of the M1 chipset to support dual display.

6.  How does DisplayLink do this?

The DisplayLink software installs and acts like a normal display on the host.  It detects monitors connected through a DisplayLink device and presents them to the operating system (for example Windows®) as if they were normally attached monitors.

For more information, you can visit https://www.displaylink.com/corporate/how.

7.  Does Belkin have any docks that support DisplayLink?

Yes, the Belkin INC002 features DisplayLink technology that enables users to connect two high-definition monitors to a Windows, Mac, or Chrome OS™ device.  This universal dock offers up to 85W of pass-through power for the ability to connect and work while charging your laptop through a single cable.  You can connect an external hard drive, mouse, keyboard, headphone, and other peripherals to the Belkin INC002 to reduce desktop clutter with a single cable connection to your USB-C laptop.

8.  Does the Belkin INC002 support dual display for the M1-based Mac computers?

Yes, the Belkin INC002 features DisplayLink technology that enables users to connect two high-definition monitors to a Windows, Mac, or Chrome OS device.  This includes the new M1-based MacBook laptops.



Related Article:

Belkin Thunderbolt™ Dock product comparison

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