Anyone with an eye on the newly announced MacBook Air or 13-inch MacBook Pro should be aware that they have a limitation: each supports only a single external monitor. It seems that’s all the Apple M2 processor can handle.
But the same is true for MacBooks with the original M1 chip, and workarounds were developed for these devices that will likely work with the M2 models.
M2 MacBooks limited to a single external display
Many Mac users love multiscreen setups. They make multitasking so much easier – whatever you want to look at is probably already on a display.
Those who are really into it don’t settle for two screens. They want three. But that won’t be an option for the M2 Macs.
Apple’s list of specifications for the M2-powered MacBook Pro states that it supports the internal display and “one external display with up to 6K resolution at 60Hz.”
The same is true for the 2022 MacBook Air with the M2. The specs say that it supports “one external display.” But this can also be up to 6K at 60Hz.
There are workarounds
A limitation to one external display might sound familiar. The same was true of the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro released in 2020 with the basic M1 processor.
Since then, however, clever workarounds have been found to let those M1-powered Macs use more external monitors. These require a hardware/software combination.
The OWC USB-C Dual HDMI 4K Display Adapter with DisplayLink is one example. Plug this into the macOS laptop, run the software, and an M1 MacBook supports a pair of external monitors.
And the Anker 563 USB-C Docking Station lets you have three external displays.
But be aware that these haven’t yet been tested with the M2 MacBooks. The new laptops were only recently announced and won’t even go up for preorder until July.
Also be aware that, based on Apple’s previous products, this limitation will affect only MacBooks with the basic M2 chip. The M1 has the same limitation but the M1 Pro, M1 Max and M1 Ultra do not. So those who really depend on multiple external monitors should consider holding off for the M2 Pro, M2 Max or M2 Ultra.