M1 MacBook Air handles dual external monitors [Setups]

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There's a trick to running dual external monitors with an M1 MacBook, but it's not very tricky.
There's a trick to running dual external monitors with an M1 MacBook, but it's not very tricky.
Photo: ImajiiMac@Reddit

One of the downsides you hear about the M1 MacBook Air and the M1 MacBook Pro is that they officially (natively) support just one external display in addition to the laptop’s screen, not dual external monitors.

Well, that may be true in the user manual. But Redditor ImajiiMac is among those discovering that “official” ain’t everything.

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For months, Mac users excited to experiment with the new M1 Macs have tried perfectly good workarounds. Here’s one Cult of Mac wrote about that tethers six displays to M1 Macs, including laptop (includes video).

They can’t all be external 4K displays – wouldn’t that be asking a lot? — but it’s still a neat trick and not hard to pull off.

For dual external monitors, use DisplayLink

As ImajiiMac discovered, using DisplayLink software for Mac along with a DisplayPort adapter allowed him to use two separate, external monitors with his M1 MacBook Air.

He connects displays via a StarTech USB to HDMI adapter. He gets smooth images and no lag, he said.

Life isn’t always perfect with workarounds, but it can be good.

“Definitely not natively supported,” ImajiiMac cautioned an impressed commenter. “I used a DisplayLink-powered adapter, works pretty well.”

Vertical display orientation … not so much

Now here’s the imperfect part.

“Unfortunately, I can’t rotate secondary monitor vertically as this is not yet supported,” ImajiiMac continued. “That was my original set up with my Intel MacBook Pro, but had to go horizontal [with second display] with M1 MacBook Air.”

Looking around briefly on M1 MacBook help forums and such, we haven’t seen a workaround letting a second external display via DisplayLink be rotated to portrait orientation. If you have, let us know in the comments, below.

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If you would like to see your setup featured on Cult of Mac, send some high-res pictures to info+setups@cultofmac.com. Please provide a detailed list of your equipment. Tell us what you like or dislike about your setup, and fill us in on any special touches or challenges.