How to connect two or more external monitors to M1/M2 MacBook

M1 and M2 MacBooks don't support more than one external monitor natively โŒ

You will need a workaround to get dual external monitor setup working.
On this page you'll find a complete guide and list of compatible devices โœ…

Last Updated: January 2023Visualisation of dual monitor setup

What are the workarounds to get multiple displays working with MacBook?

There are two possible workarounds. You will need either DisplayLink or SiliconMotion docking-station + drivers:

via SiliconMotion-powered Docking Station

SiliconMotion Logo
  1. Get yourself device labelled "SiliconMotion" from list below.
  2. Install required SiliconMotion drivers.
  3. Grant macOS InstantView the "Screen Recording" permissions (System Preferences -> Security & Privacy -> Screen Recording).
  4. Connect the monitor to the device.
  5. Click "CONNECT" in the macOS InstantView menu
  6. Configure the monitor as you typically do in the System Preferences -> Displays.

Recommended Docking Stations ๐Ÿ‘‡

How to check how many external monitors your MacBook can run

Click on the "Apple" logo -> About This Mac -> "Chip" or "Processor".

If you have an M1 or M2 "Chip" you can connect only one external display natively. To connect more, you will need a docking station from the list below.

If you have Intel "Processor", then you can connect external displays without such limitation.

Browse 30 MacBook-compatible devices


Targus USB-C Universal Quad 4K Docking Station

Allows you to connect up to 5 (1 native + 4 external 4K) displays via USB-C with charging.

  • Supports maximum number of external displays for M1/M2
  • 4x DisplayPort / 4x HDMI ports
  • High quality
  • Power Delivery (100 Watt)
  • Lots of ports

Plugable USB-C Dual 4K Display Horizontal Docking Station

Allows you to connect up to 3 (1 native + 2 external 4K) displays via USB-C.

  • Best selling
  • Dual 4K

Kensington Triple 4k Display Docking Station

Allows you to connect up to 4 (1 native + 3 external 4K) displays via USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 with charging.

  • Thunderbolt 3
  • Power Delivery (60 Watt)
  • Lots of ports

Kensington USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 Docking Station

Allows you to connect up to 3 (1 native + 2 external 4K) displays via USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 with charging.

  • Thunderbolt 3
  • Power Delivery (100 Watt)
  • Lots of ports

Targus USB-C Universal Dual Video 4K Docking Station with charging

Allows you to connect up to 3 (1 native + 2 external 4K) displays via USB-C with charging.

  • Power Delivery (60 Watt)
  • Can be used as a stand (wedge design)

Root of the issue: the hardware limitation in M1 & M2 Macs

Everyone knows how powerful the new M1 and latest M2 MacBooks are, but until you try to organize your workstation, you don't know a "little" surprise is waiting for you.

Unlike previous generations, new M1-powered or M2-powered MacBooks and Macs only support one additional monitor natively.

With all these great devices can offer, this limitation can make your work much more difficult.

New Apple M1 chip visualisation

3 types of devices that you can use for this setup

#1 - Connecting multiple displays by using Docking Station (recommended)

Connecting multiple monitors is most convenient via the docking station. Most docking stations have built-in Power Delivery; thanks to this, we can limit ourselves to only using one cable plug into the MacBook. It is the most reliable and, at the same time, the most expensive solution. So if you use your Mac for work - don't save on the docking station. With some devices you can connect up to 5 displays!

dock configuration schema

#2 - Connecting two or more monitors using USB-C Hub

Using a USB-C HUB is a solution we recommend to users who frequently travel or change their workstations. Hubs are available at a reasonable price and will help you connect many two or more monitors.

hub configuration schema

#3 - Using USB-A adapter(s) (not recommended)

Adapter(s) are connected to the USB-C Hub and, the USB-C Hub is plugged into your MacBook. This configuration is the most convenient when we want to connect only two external monitors, one of which is connected natively via a DisplayPort or HDMI to USB-C cable, which we plug directly into the MacBook, and the other through the Adapter - to the Multiport. But for three and more displays, we recommend these Docking Stations or USB-C Hubs.

adapter configuration schema

Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

How many displays can you connect to an M1 MacBook Pro?

With the devices listed above, you can connect up to 4 display monitors: 1 native + 3 externals via DisplayLink technology.

How many displays can you connect to an M2 MacBook Air?

M2 MacBook Air came out with the same limitation of only one natively supported external monitor.

How do I connect multiple monitors to my M1 (or M1) MacBook?

You have to have a device that supports DisplayLink technology.

Why can I not connect more than one display to my Apple M1/M2 MacBook?

To a surprise to many, new M1 (and M2) MacBooks have hardware limitations of only one native display.

Why is my Mac not detecting displays?

If you have a MacBook powered by an M1 or M2 chip and you are trying to connect the second additional display - you are blocked by the hardware limitation of new Macs.

I have bought the required adapter/dock/hub - what do I do now?

Refer to DisplayLink page, select your operating system and download the required drivers (DisplayLink Manager).

How do I connect a USB Type-A adapter to my M1/M2 MacBook?

You need USB-C Multiport Adapter to do so. But If you don't have it already, we suggest considering hub or a docking station instead.

Is there a way to connect multiple displays to my M1/M2 MacBook?

Yes - it's possible BUT only with specific devices. We have listed most of the compatible ones above.

DisplayLink technology creates a "simulated" display to overcome hardware limitations. Refer to the official site or this article for more information.

What is SiliconMotion technology?

Similar to DisplayLink, SiliconMotion InstantView allows you to connect multiple monitors via software (it creates a virtual monitor and sends the signal from the docking station to your Mac)

Will quality get decreased by using an adapter/dock/hub?

Overall quality is suitable for daily use. There could be a slight difference between a natively connected display and a software accelerated one. Most devices can run 2.5k at 50-60 Hz - check those details directly on a product page.

What is a Docking Station?

In short: "A docking station is a device that connects to a laptop and provides additional ports for connectivity (...). Read more extensive article here.

What DisplayPort Multi-Stream Transport (MST) is?

DisplayPort Multi-Stream Transport (MST) is a feature of DisplayPort 1.2 and newer that allows multiple display video signals to be transmitted through a single DisplayPort (DP) cable in one of two configurations: MST Hub or Daisy-Chain. MST Hub splits one DP cable into multiple video outputs, which can be both DP or other formats, while Daisy-Chain allows monitors to be connected in series. MST is supported on Intelยฎ Coreโ„ข processors of 4th Gen and newer. For detailed information on MST, you can read this third-party article.

Is DisplayPort Multi-Stream Transport (MST) supported on MacOS?

According to this user report - DisplayPort MST is not supported on MacOS.

For detailed instruction, please refer to the following video:

How to install SiliconMotion drivers?

For detailed instruction, please refer to the following video:


Which solution will best suit your workflow?

Neat Cable ManagementNoYesYes
Power DeliveryNoYesYes

Readers Reports

List of reports submitted to us by readers through contact form:
  • It would also be awesome to have info about resolution issues with both technologies (DisplayLink & SiliconMotion). I'm bumed that I'm stuck with 1080 or 4k. I'd personally prefer 1440.
    Kevin M. (Dec 6th, 2022)
  • (...) DisplayPort MST technology is NOT supported in macOS
    Alex S. (Dec 7th, 2022)

Thank you for all your submissions that help me keep this page and information up to date!