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How to Setup Dual Monitors to an Apple M1 MacBook (2020)

SD4900P docking station connected to multiple monitors

In this blog, we’ll discuss the two main scenarios (or use-cases) and how you can set up your dual monitors for more than one display while using a new MacBook Pro or Air device with the M1 chipset.

Use-Case 1 – You Already Have a Docking Station

If you’ve configured your desk or workstation with USB-C Alt Mode, Thunderbolt 3, or a Thunderbolt 4 docking station, extending your display capabilities is as simple as downloading the latest DisplayLink driver for macOS. Once you’ve updated the driver, you can use a Kensington USB-A DisplayLink Video Adapter to connect your additional monitors.

Some of Kensington’s compatible adapters available include:

By using the latest video adapter software from DisplayLink, you can use your existing docking station to connect up to five displays to your M1 MacBook. If you encounter any issues after a macOS software update, make sure to check back with DisplayLink to ensure the latest version of their software is installed.

Use-Case 2 – You Don’t Have a Docking Station and Don’t Want to Use an Adapter

If you haven’t used a docking station in the past and you don’t want to use an additional adapter, Kensington has a range of USB-C DisplayLink docking stations available. Since these products leverage DisplayLink technology, you won’t need an additional adapter to connect multiple displays.

SD4700p docking station on desk connected to multiple monitors

Once you’ve decided on what DisplayLink docking station will suit your setup, simply download the latest DisplayLink software. Kensington’s DisplayLink docking stations include:

Again, if you face any issues after a macOS update, check back with DisplayLink and install the latest version of their software. With one of the docking solutions listed above, you can extend your external display capabilities to multiple monitors; resulting in productivity with your M1 setup. With a DisplayLink enabled docking station, you’ll be able to support your entire setup without needing any special adapters or complex workarounds.

Single Display Native Support with MacBook Pro and Air Devices

Apple’s decision to provide support for a single native display was tough to understand. It may have come down to a design constraint, as the company remains tight-lipped about why they went down this route. Many users who purchased one of the M1 range of MacBook Pro or MacBook Air devices were quick to rush to online forums to register their surprise.

The only device that supports more than one native display is the M1 Mac Mini. Even so, it only supports two external monitors (probably because it doesn’t have its own integrated display included). For any other M1 device, users will need to get a little creative if their desk setups used more than one external monitor.

Even with the latest changes in Apple’s underlying chip architecture, you can still use your new MacBook with multiple external monitors. 

Maximizing Your Productivity with Your New M1 MacBook

Those of us who use MacBooks for work have relied on their innovation to speed up our workflows and achieve new efficiencies. The new M1 MacBooks integrates multiple functions into a single, high-performance chipset that goes beyond the processors of the past.

To elaborate on that, this new design comes with unprecedented performance, giving you 3.9 times faster video processing and 7.1 times faster image processing.

2021 M1 MacBooks

The 2021 new MacBook Pro with the ‌M1 Pro‌ chip now supports more than one monitor. Kensington has these new MacBooks covered with a range of industry leading solutions. To highlight a few great options, our SD5600T Thunderbolt™ 3 docking station supports up to Dual 4K @ 60Hz, 40Gbps data transfer speeds and much more. If you’re looking for the latest technology solution available to pair well with your new 2021 M1 MacBook, our SD5700T Thunderbolt™ 4 docking station is the ideal choice. This docking station continues to support Dual 4K @ 60Hz as well as 40Gbps data transfer speeds. What it adds though is three downstream Thunderbolt 4 ports, allowing you to expand your desktop even further at the fastest speeds possible.

Should you have any questions or concerns, Kensington is here to help. Contact us today for more information on these docks and dual monitor solutions.