Apple thunderbolt display

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Apple Thunderbolt Display - Technical Specifications


27 inches of high-resolution screen space.

27-inch (diagonal viewable image size) thin film transistor (TFT) active-matrix liquid crystal display (LCD) with in-plane switching (IPS)

  • Resolution: 2560 by 1440 pixels
  • Colors (maximum): 16.7 million
  • Aspect ratio: 16:9
  • Viewing angle: 178° horizontal; 178° vertical
  • Brightness: 375 cd/m2
  • Contrast ratio: 1000:1
  • Response time: 12 ms

Size and Weight

Big screen. Small footprint.

Height: 19.35 inches (49.1 cm)

Width: 25.7 inches (65 cm)

Depth (with stand): 8.15 inches (20.7 cm)

Weight: 23.5 pounds (10.8 kg)1

Cables and Peripheral Connections

Create a powerful docking station without a lot of clutter.


  • Built-in Thunderbolt cable
  • Built-in Universal MagSafe cable (up to 85W)

Peripheral connections

  • Three powered USB 2.0 ports
  • FireWire 800 port
  • Gigabit Ethernet port
  • Thunderbolt port
  • Kensington security slot

Audio and Video

Everything you need to make video calls and play music, movies, and games.

  • Built-in FaceTime HD camera with microphone
  • Built-in 2.1 speaker system (49 watts)

System Requirements

  • Thunderbolt-enabled Mac computer, including MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, Mac mini, and iMac
  • OS X v10.6.8 or later

Electrical and Operating Requirements

  • Input voltage: 100-240V AC; 50-60Hz
  • Maximum power: 250W (Thunderbolt Display while charging MacBook Pro)
  • Energy saver mode: 2W or less
  • Operating temperature: 50° to 95° F (10° to 35° C)
  • Storage temperature: -4° to 116° F (-20° to 47° C)
  • Operating humidity: 20% to 80% noncondensing
  • Maximum operating altitude: 10,000 feet

Limited Warranty and Service

Your Apple Thunderbolt Display comes with 90 days of free telephone support and a one-year limited warranty. Purchase the AppleCare Protection Plan to extend your service and support to three years from your display’s purchase date. Only the AppleCare Protection Plan provides you with direct telephone support from Apple technical experts and the assurance that repairs will be handled by Apple-authorized technicians using genuine Apple parts. For more information, visit Apple support or call 800-823-2775.

In the Box

  • Apple Thunderbolt Display
  • AC power cord
  • Printed documentation

Additional Options


Apple's Thunderbolt Display

As the sequel to Apple’s LED Cinema Display, the Apple Thunderbolt Display (Orig. $999, now on Ebay for much less) was originally introduced in July 2011, and had not changed until it was discontinued in June 2016. Measuring 27″ on the diagonal, the metal and glass Thunderbolt Display uses the same 2560×1440 screen found in the original 27″ iMac and the LED Cinema Display, with a chassis thickness somewhere between the last two iMac generations. Three speakers are inside the frame for 2.1-channel audio, along with a basic FaceTime HD camera and a microphone.

The display is different because it has a Thunderbolt connector, which makes a MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, Mac mini, or Mac Pro easy to hook up. After plugging the monitor into a wall outlet, you connect your Mac via the Thunderbolt cable to gain access to three powered USB 2.0 ports, a Firewire 800 port, a Thunderbolt port, and an Ethernet port. There’s also a MagSafe plug to supply up to 85W of power to a MacBook, as well as a packed-in MagSafe 2 adapter for newer MacBooks. Thunderbolt is required for the video connection; no other video standard is supported.

The Thunderbolt Display has not been updated for roughly four years, and shows its age in physical thickness, non-Retina display resolution, the age of its ports, and pricing. It’s very hard to recommend right now, and we’d expect Apple to release a new version in the not-too-distant future.

Need extra cash to upgrade? Sell your Thunderbolt Display to Gazelle.

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Thunderbolt Display, ‘the ultimate docking station for your Mac notebook,’ turns 10 [Review-ish]

Apple unveiled the all-new Thunderbolt Display, a 27-inch standalone monitor priced at $999, 10 years ago this week. It was the first display to use the new Thunderbolt connection and the last Apple monitor to ship for less than $4,999.

But $999 might as well be $5,000 when you’re a freshman in college. I never had the opportunity to actually review Apple’s last consumer display, but based on what we knew then, this is the review I could have written at the time (followed by some classic video reviews):

“There’s always a better Apple monitor just around the corner.

July 20, 2011

Apple just revealed that it will soon sell the first-ever Thunderbolt Display, but I’m holding out for the next version. Apple makes the best monitors for Macs, but I’ll let someone else be the guinea pig to find all the bugs with Light Peak.

The I/O is definitely an interesting direction. Apple has been able to go from one cable with three connectors (Mini DisplayPort, 85W MagSafe, USB 2.0) to a single cable with two connectors (Thunderbolt and MagSafe).

At the current rate, ports and connectors will continue to change every few years while MagSafe is the only constant in our lives.

Ultimate Mac dock

The new display itself doubles as what Apple calls “the ultimate docking station for Mac notebooks.” That’s because a single Thunderbolt connection becomes not one but three USB 2.0 ports along with Thunderbolt, FireWire 800, and Gigabit Ethernet.

This is great for turning the new MacBook Air and MacBook Pro into futuristic iMacs. I can’t wait to see what Apple does with this technology when more Macs have Thunderbolt ports. Think about that: the ability to turn a single port into any connection type. Perhaps we’ll see Apple make standalone docking stations for Macs in the future.

Too soon to upgrade?

So if the Thunderbolt Display is so great, then why wait instead of buy now? There’s always a better Apple monitor just around the corner. It’s only been a year since Apple upgraded the LED Cinema Display from 24 inches to 27 inches. At this rate, we could see 32-inch Apple displays before the end of the decade.

Thunderbolt Display also has the same 2560 × 1440 resolution as last year’s 27-inch Cinema Display. If we’re on a yearly update cadence now like I think we are, just imagine what the future of Apple monitors holds over the next 10 years.

For example, the iPhone 4 has an ultra-fine resolution now with its Retina display, and that teardrop-shaped iPhone 5 rumor looks unbelievable. It’s only a matter of time before iPads and Macs go Retina, and that pretty much guarantees a Retina Thunderbolt Display is in the pipeline.

Think about it. If the iMac does go Retina, there’s no doubt Apple will upgrade this new Thunderbolt Display to match. It’s an easy add-on sale for Apple when every other display looks like it was made by IBM or Dell.

Pricey but premium

Don’t get me wrong. There’s a lot to love about this Thunderbolt Display.

The sub-par iSight camera from the Cinema Display is now a high-definition webcam at 720p. That’s the level of HD resolution that will make you want to touch up your appearance before you turn on your video for iChat.

The build quality is also top-notch with a mix of glass and aluminum like the new MacBook Pro, and Apple knows the Thunderbolt Display is premium at $999

This pricey monitor may not be the most affordable on the market, but there will be a reliable market for Apple displays as long as there are Macs. At this rate, I can’t wait to see where Apple displays go in five years.

Actual Thunderbolt Display reviews

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Apple Thunderbolt Display

‹ The templateInfobox information appliance is being considered for merging. ›

The Apple Thunderbolt Display is a 27-inch flat panelcomputer monitor sold by Apple Inc. from July 2011 to June 2016. It replaced the former Apple LED Cinema Display. New to the Thunderbolt Display was the switch from Mini DisplayPort and USB to a single Thunderbolt 1 connection for data transfer between computer and display. The increased throughput from switching to Thunderbolt enabled inclusion of a Gigabit Ethernet port and a FireWire 800 port on the display. Older model Macs introduced prior to 2011 with Mini DisplayPort and the single USB-C retina MacBook are incompatible with the Thunderbolt Display without use of additional adaptors.[1]

The Apple Thunderbolt Display was replaced by the LG UltraFine displays developed by LG, and ultimately succeeded by the Pro Display XDR launched in 2019.

27-inch model[edit]

Like its 27-inch LED Cinema Display predecessor, the resolution of the 27-inch model is 2560×1440 pixels, and follows a 16:9aspect ratio. It was made with aluminum and glass, having a similar appearance to the contemporary ranges of iMac and MacBook Pro unibody designs. The display featured a built-in 720p[2]FaceTime HD camera (replacing the iSight in the previous model), microphone, and stereo speaker system with subwoofer (2.1 channel). An octopus cable combining Thunderbolt and MagSafe is permanently attached to the back of the display for data input and charging laptops, respectively. There is also a separate Thunderbolt port, a FireWire 800 port, three USB 2.0 ports, and a Gigabit Ethernet port.

The Thunderbolt port allows for the possibility of daisy chaining Thunderbolt Displays from a supported Mac, or connecting other devices that have Thunderbolt ports, such as external hard drives and video capture devices.

Apple released Rev B of the Thunderbolt Display (model MC914LL/B) which includes a MagSafe to MagSafe 2 adaptor to the charging cable built into the display.[3]

On June 23, 2016, Apple announced through a statement that it was discontinuing the Thunderbolt Display and would no longer produce stand-alone displays, saying "There are a number of great third-party options available for Mac users."[4] Apple subsequently worked with LG to design the Thunderbolt 3-enabled UltraFine line, consisting of 4K and 5K displays.[5]

On April 5, 2018, Apple announced that it would re-enter the standalone display business in 2019 by releasing a new display with a new version of the Mac Pro.[6] On June 3, 2019, Apple announced the Pro Display XDR.

Backward and forward compatibility[edit]

Apple Thunderbolt Displays, like the video input on Thunderbolt iMacs, drop compatibility with all previous standards, including VGA, DVI, and DisplayPort.[7] They are not compatible with computers that do not have a Thunderbolt port, including pre-2011 Macs and the vast majority of desktop PCs.

As of April 2018, MacBook (Retina) 12" laptops only have a USB-C port, which cannot communicate with a Thunderbolt adapter. However, newer MacBook Pros and MacBook Airs have Thunderbolt 3 ports. Although these ports have the same connector as USB-C, they are compatible with the Thunderbolt protocol, and can use a Thunderbolt Display with a Thunderbolt 3-to-2 adapter.[8]

Using multiple displays[edit]

MacBook Pro[edit]

  • Macbook Pro (2011): 2 Displays: Can daisy chain two Apple Thunderbolt Displays together to get two displays, but the laptop's LCD may turn off.[9][10]
  • Macbook Pro (2012): 2+2 Displays: Can daisy chain two Apple Thunderbolt Displays, in addition to one HDMI display and the Macbook Pro's own display, for four displays total[11][12]
  • MacBook Pro (Late 2016): Apple released a Thunderbolt 3 to Thunderbolt 2 Adapter for enabling the Thunderbolt 3 ports of MacBook Pro (Late 2016) to connect to Thunderbolt 2 devices.
  • MacBook Pro (2017-2019) Using 2 of the Thunderbolt 3 to Thunderbolt 2 Adapters can run 4 Thunderbolt Displays in addition to the built in Retina Display for a total of 5.

MacBook Air[edit]

  • MacBook Air (Mid 2011): 1+1 Displays: Can use one Apple Thunderbolt display, in addition to the MacBook Air's own display.[13][9]
  • MacBook Air (Mid 2012): 2+1 Displays: Can daisy chain two Apple Thunderbolt displays, in addition to the MacBook Air's own display.[14]


  • MacBook Retina (all models [early 2015, late 2016 and mid 2017]): Cannot be connected with Apple Thunderbolt Display as it lacks a Thunderbolt port. [15]

Mac Pro[edit]

  • Mac Pro (Late 2013): 6 Displays: Can run six Apple Thunderbolt Displays using six Thunderbolt ports.[16]

Mac mini[edit]

  • Mac mini (Mid 2011): 1 Display. 2 Displays daisy chained: AMD version[17]
  • Mac mini (Late 2012): 2 Displays daisy chained.[18]
  • Mac mini (Late 2014): 2 Displays.[19]
  • Mac mini (2018): 2 Displays using TB3 to TB2 converter.[20]

Technical specifications[edit]

Component LED-backlit LCD
Model Apple Thunderbolt Display (27-Inch)[1][21]
Release date(s)July 20, 2011
DiscontinuedJune 23, 2016
Model number(s)A1407
Display27.00 inches (68.6 cm), IPS active-matrix TFTLCD, glossy glass covered screen, QHD (2560 × 1440) resolution, LED edge-lit backlight.
16∶9 aspect ratio (widescreen)
Pixel density109 px/in
Response time12 ms
Maximum Refresh rate59.95 Hz
Colors16,777,216 (8 bpc / 24 bit/px True Color)
Contrast ratio1,000∶1
Maximum Brightness375 cd/m2
Viewing angle178° horizontal; 178° vertical
Power inputIEC 60320 C7 port, 100–240 V AC @ 50–60 Hz (Up to 250 W while charging a MacBook Pro via MagSafe cable, 2 W or less in energy saver mode)
MaterialAluminum frame and glass front
Audio output2.1-channel speaker system (49 W)
Cables and peripheral connections


Peripheral connections

Dimensions (H × W × D, with stand)19.35 in × 25.7 in × 8.15 in (49.1 cm × 65.3 cm × 20.7 cm)
Mass23.5 lb (10.7 kg)
System RequirementsMac OS X 10.6.8 or later, Thunderbolt port

See also[edit]


  1. ^ ab"Apple – Thunderbolt Display – Read the tech specs". Apple Inc. Retrieved February 6, 2020.
  2. ^Miles, Stuart (November 1, 2011). "Apple Thunderbolt Display review". Pocket-lint. Retrieved January 22, 2013.
  3. ^Gurman, Mark (July 24, 2012). "Apple starts shipping slightly tweaked Thunderbolt Display SKU to stores".
  4. ^Clover, Juli. "Apple Discontinues Thunderbolt Display". Retrieved June 24, 2016.
  5. ^"Apple Says It's Out of the Standalone Display Business".
  6. ^"Apple Planning Modular Mac Pro Release for 2019, New Pro Workflow Team Providing Feedback for Professional Needs". April 5, 2018.
  7. ^"Apple Thunderbolt Display 27-inch User Manual"(PDF).
  8. ^"Adapters for the Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) or USB-C port on your Mac".
  9. ^ abSlivka, Eric. "Apple Thunderbolt Display with Multiple Monitors: No Daisy Chaining Mini DisplayPort Monitors". macrumors.
  10. ^"Dual 27" Apple Thunderbolt Displays Daisy Chained via Macbook Pro". YouTube. September 22, 2011.
  11. ^"MacBook Pro 15" with Retina Display Can Run 3 External Displays". June 20, 2012. Retrieved February 21, 2014.
  12. ^"MacBook Pro Retina Display does not run 3 Thunderbolt Displays". Retrieved February 21, 2014.
  13. ^"Review of Apple Thunderbolt Display". AnandTech.
  14. ^"Thunderbolt ports and displays: Frequently asked questions (FAQ)". Retrieved March 4, 2014.
  15. ^"How to connect an Apple Display to a USB-C MacBook". Macworld. Retrieved October 10, 2016.
  16. ^"Mac Pro (Late 2013): Using multiple displays". Retrieved February 21, 2014.
  17. ^"Mac mini (Mid 2011) - Technical Specifications".
  18. ^"Mac mini (Late 2012) - Technical Specifications".
  19. ^"Mac mini (Late 2014) - Technical Specifications".
  20. ^"Mac mini - Technical Specifications".
  21. ^"Apple Thunderbolt Display – Technical Specifications". Apple Inc. September 16, 2011. Retrieved September 17, 2011.

External links[edit]

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Apple Thunderbolt Display (27-inch) Unboxing

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