Apple’s M1 MacBook Air and MacBook Pro are full of surprises, though their limited monitor support is one surprise that no one expected. Thankfully, you aren’t stuck living life with just one desktop monitor. Here’s everything you need to use two or more external displays with your M1 MacBook.
We’re going to use software called DisplayLink to add up to six external monitors to your M1 MacBook. This workaround works well and doesn’t compromise the M1 MacBook’s speed. Plus, your Mac will treat monitors connected over DisplayLink just like any other external monitor, so you can control everything fromand not some annoying app. DisplayLink also works when your MacBook is closed—a concern that some people have when they first hear about this workaround.
Still, DisplayLink has a minor impact on CPU usage, which might become evident during some tasks. And while this workaround works today, a future macOS update could temporarily “break” DisplayLink support. Keep that in mind when you see some of the prices in this guide!
and a with HDMI-out to create a makeshift “dual monitor” setup.
. Not because it’s the best DisplayLink dock, but because it’s the best bang for your buck. The Dell Universal Docking Station supports up to four external displays (one native, three through DisplayLink) with 4K resolution and packs 65-watt pass-through charging. Problem is, this dock lacks a wide port selection, with just 2 USB ports, one USB-C port, and an Ethernet jack.
If you don’t mind spending more money, then theis a better option than the Dell Universal Docking Station. It supports four displays with 4K resolution, 60-watt charging for your MacBook, and a wide port selection with several USB ports, card readers, and an Ethernet jack.
But what if you want more than four external displays? There aren’t many DisplayLink docking stations with that kind of monitor support, and the ones that exist cost. If you want to run five or six external displays with your M1 MacBook, then you’ll need to pair the or the with a cheap .
Best Value for 4+ Monitors
Dell’s Universal Docking Station supports four external monitors with 4K resolution via DisplayLink. It doesn’t have a wide port selection, but it’s the cheapest docking station for four+ monitor M1 MacBook setups.
Premium Pick for 4+ Monitors
adapter is your best bet, but if you’re fine with HD video, look at adapters from , , and to see which is the cheapest (they go on sale a lot). Dual-port DisplayLink adapters cost a bit more, and is one of the only reasonably-priced options.
Don’t forget that your MacBook doesn’t have USB-A ports, so you need to buy a USB-C hub. This hub will provide an HDMI output for your M1’s native video-out signal, plus a few USB-A ports for your USB DisplayPort adapter. I suggest buying a USB-C hub with pass-through charging, like the cheap setup. (A USB-C hub without pass-through charging will also work if you happen to have one lying around.). Larger hubs, like the are ideal if you want a wider port selection or a cleaner-looking
Whatever USB-C hub you end up buying, make sure that it has an HDMI port. Otherwise, you’ll have DisplayLink USB video output, but you won’t have any way to use your MacBook’s native video-out signal!
Best for 2+ Monitors
You Need This for Your DisplayLink Adapter!
. DisplayLink will ask for “Screen Recording” permission during installation—don’t worry, this simply enables the software to render external displays.
After installation is complete, a DisplayLink icon will appear in the Menu Bar at the top of the screen. Clicking this icon shows a mostly empty window, as all of your DisplayLink monitor management happens through the. Still, you should take a moment to check the “launch app automatically” box in the DisplayLink window to enable the software on startup.
External monitors hooked up to your MacBook through a DisplayLink dock or adapter should start working automatically. They will function just like any external monitor on macOS, with full support for virtual desktops and the Mission Control overview system. If your DisplayLink-connected monitors aren’t working, try reconnecting everything or resetting your Mac.
Some hubs and docking stations require external power for full functionality, so if you’re having trouble getting your external monitors to work, double-check that your hub or dock is plugged into an outlet with the included power supply or a USB-C cable. Also, if you’re using a DisplayLink USB adapter, make sure it’s plugged into your hub or dock’s USB 3.0 port (the blue one).
in whatever orientation you like (right to left, up and down, etc). You can also choose which display your Menu Bar shows up on and enable options like screen mirroring. Your MacBook should remember these preferences every time you connect your external displays.
If you utilize Spaces for virtual desktops, now’s also a good time to fiddle with the Mission Control menu of your System Preferences. Disabling “Automatically rearrange Spaces based on most recent use” forces your Spaces to stay in a specific order instead of constantly rearranging themselves, which is useful when you’re dealing with multiple screens. Other options, like “Displays have separate Spaces,” can also come in handy while.
External monitors connected via DisplayLink will continue working when you close your MacBook, so feel free to kick back once everything is set up. If your external monitors look like crap, give them a minute to warm up and take a crack at. You could also use to skip the painful process of calibrating a screen by hand.