Can I connect my MacBook Pro to 2 external monitors?

I want to use the 2 monitors only, not the MBP's monitor.
I want to run 2 separate programs on 2 separate screens.

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5 Answers from the Community

  • Best Answer:

    A note regarding the 13" MacBook Pro: You CAN use two Thunderbolt displays with the 13", same as the 15" and 17". The difference is that if you connect a second Thunderbolt display to the 13" then the internal display is automagically deactivated. The 15" and 17" will drive all three displays with no trouble.

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  • I hate to go against someone else's answer, but I have a 13" MacBook Pro (early 2011), and it does have Thunderbolt. All 2011 and later MacBook Pro's have Thunderbolt and all 2011 and later MacBook Air's have thunderbolt. If you have Thunderbolt, you can daisy chain you monitors together, like mentioned in the other answer. The Apple Thunderbolt Display is good for this, although a bit pricy ($999).

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  • I have a macbook pro retina, and I connect it to two external displays (the older style 30" cinema displays). I do that by using external thunderbolt to dual link DVI converters (apple sells these) and plugging these converters into the two thunderbolt ports on the mac. This has its limitations (can't plug any other thunderbolt devices in), but it works for my situation. I also use a couple of external USB power adapters to supply power to the converters so they don't use up my only two USB ports on my computer. Thirdly, I found it useful to have USB extension cables for the power to the converters so they aren't needing to be so close to the USB/thunderbolt "Y" portion of the converter. This gives me three displays. And they play well most of the time with my wacom tablet which helps a lot.

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  • Hi folks,
    this is a very old thread - anyway maybe this helps someone out. I have a MacBook Pro 13" Mid 2010.
    I am mostly working with Apple Logic on the MBP do mix down the sound for two bands. It is essentially to have two 24" displays for this.

    My MBP (yes, old one) does not have a Thunderbolt connector. My first attempt was a USB to DVI adapter that worked. OK, Mavericks and Yosemite updates were somehow tricky, but worked. But its very slow, the CPU does not have enough time for other tasks. Finally I bought the Matrox "DualHead2Go ME" and this is a pretty good solution. Recommended this.

    Solution 1: USB to DVI
    Pro: Cheap (bought for 29 EUR).
    Con: The screen content is rendered by the CPU (not GPU), then compressed, transferred to the interface via USB 2, decompressed and displayed. Your CPU will not be able to do other real-time stuff (like Logic). Tricky installation (mostly unsupported on Mavericks and above).

    Solution 2: Matrox DualHead2Go ME
    Pro: Very fast, as it is rendered by the GPU. Your CPU is nearly not involved.
    Con: More expensive (bought used for 89 EUR). The two displays are used as "one", so popup dialogs are displayed in the middle. I can live with that. You will have to fiddle around to find the correct setup (only once). External displays must be either on the left or the right of your MBP.

    Lesson learned again: When you buy cheap, you will buy twice.


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  • If you have a 13 inch model, no. If you have a 15 or 17 inch model from 2011 which has Thunderbolt then you can connect to two thunderbolt monitors by daisy chaining them together.

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