Apple Thunderbolt Display
The Apple Thunderbolt Display
DeveloperApple Inc.
TypeComputer monitor
Release dateJuly 20, 2011; 12 years ago (2011-07-20)
DiscontinuedJune 23, 2016 (2016-06-23)
PredecessorApple Cinema Display
SuccessorLG UltraFine (consumer, Apple-endorsed third party)
Apple Studio Display (consumer, Apple-branded)
Pro Display XDR (professional)
WebsiteOfficial Website at the Wayback Machine (archived February 7, 2015)

The Apple Thunderbolt Display is a 27-inch flat panel computer monitor developed and sold by Apple Inc. from July 2011 to June 2016. Originally priced at $999,[1] it replaced the 27-inch Apple LED Cinema Display. New to the Thunderbolt Display was the switch from Mini DisplayPort and USB to a single Thunderbolt connector for data and DisplayPort. The Thunderbolt Display also added a Gigabit Ethernet port and FireWire 800 port. The monitor is not compatible with computers without Thunderbolt, including but not limited to, desktop PCs without a Thunderbolt port, Macs released before 2011, the 2012 Mac Pro and the single USB-C Retina MacBook. Devices with Thunderbolt 3 (such as MacBooks released after 2016) can use the display with an adapter.[2]

The Thunderbolt Display was discontinued in June 2016, and replaced by LG UltraFine displays developed with LG on the consumer end, while the Pro Display XDR succeeded it in 2019 as Apple's professional display. In 2022, the Apple Studio Display was released as the first Apple-branded consumer display since its discontinuation.


Like its predecessor, the 27-inch LED Cinema Display, the resolution is 2560×1440 pixels in a 16:9 aspect ratio. It is aluminum and glass, resembling the contemporary ranges of iMac and MacBook Pro unibody designs. The display features a built-in 720p[3] FaceTime HD camera (replacing the iSight in the previous model), microphone, and stereo speaker system with subwoofer (2.1 channel). An octopus cable with Thunderbolt and MagSafe is permanently attached to the back of the display for data and charging MacBooks, respectively. On the rear of the display is a 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. In July 2012, Apple began including a MagSafe to MagSafe 2 adaptor in the box.[4]

Discontinuation and successors

On June 23, 2016, Apple announced through a statement of discontinuing all stand-alone displays.[5] Apple subsequently worked with LG to design the Thunderbolt 3-enabled UltraFine line, consisting of 4K and 5K displays, which were the only displays sold by Apple from 2016 to 2019.[6] In December 2019, Apple released the Pro Display XDR, the first Apple-branded display since the Thunderbolt Display's discontinuation. In March 2022, Apple released the Apple Studio Display, the first Apple-branded consumer display since the Thunderbolt Display's discontinuation, which similarly includes integrated speakers and a webcam.[7]

Backward and forward compatibility

The Thunderbolt Display drops compatibility with all previous standards, including VGA, DVI, and DisplayPort.[8] It is not compatible with computers that do not have a Thunderbolt port, including pre-2011 Macs and the vast majority of desktop PCs. The 12-inch Retina MacBook and 2012 Mac Pro do not support Thunderbolt.

Macs released after 2016 with Thunderbolt 3 and later, which uses a USB-C connector, are compatible using Apple's Thunderbolt 3-to-2 adapter.[9]

Using multiple displays

MacBook Pro

MacBook Air

Mac Pro

Mac mini

Technical specifications

Table of models
Component LED-backlit LCD
Model Apple Thunderbolt Display (27-Inch)[2][23]
Release date(s) July 20, 2011
Discontinued June 23, 2016
Model number(s) A1407
Display 27.00 inches (68.6 cm), IPS active-matrix TFT LCD, glossy glass covered screen, QHD (2560 × 1440) resolution, LED edge-lit backlight.
16∶9 aspect ratio (widescreen)
Pixel density 109 px/in
Response time 12 ms
Maximum Refresh rate 59.95 Hz
Colors 16,777,216 (8 bpc / 24 bit/px True Color)
Contrast ratio 1,000∶1
Maximum Brightness 375 cd/m2
Viewing angle 178° horizontal; 178° vertical
Power input IEC 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)

Aluminum frame and glass front
Audio output 2.1-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)
Mass 23.5 lb (10.7 kg)
System Requirements Mac OS X 10.6.8 or later, Thunderbolt port

See also


  1. ^ "Apple Thunderbolt Display 27-Inch Specs (Thunderbolt Display, MC914LL/A, A1407):".
  2. ^ a b "Apple – Thunderbolt Display – Read the tech specs". Apple Inc. Retrieved February 6, 2020.
  3. ^ Miles, Stuart (November 1, 2011). "Apple Thunderbolt Display review". Pocket-lint. Retrieved January 22, 2013.
  4. ^ Gurman, Mark (July 24, 2012). "Apple starts shipping slightly tweaked Thunderbolt Display SKU to stores". Archived from the original on July 26, 2012.
  5. ^ Clover, Juli (June 23, 2016). "Apple Discontinues Thunderbolt Display". Retrieved June 24, 2016.
  6. ^ "Apple Says It's Out of the Standalone Display Business". October 28, 2016.
  7. ^ Axon, Samuel (March 8, 2022). "At long last: Apple will sell a desktop monitor that doesn't cost $5,000". Ars Technica. Retrieved March 9, 2022.
  8. ^ "Apple Thunderbolt Display 27-inch User Manual" (PDF).
  9. ^ "Adapters for the Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) or USB-C port on your Mac". August 25, 2022.
  10. ^ a b Slivka, Eric (September 16, 2011). "Apple Thunderbolt Display with Multiple Monitors: No Daisy Chaining Mini DisplayPort Monitors". macrumors.
  11. ^ "Dual 27" Apple Thunderbolt Displays Daisy Chained via Macbook Pro". YouTube. September 22, 2011.
  12. ^ "MacBook Pro 15" with Retina Display Can Run 3 External Displays". June 20, 2012. Retrieved February 21, 2014.
  13. ^ "MacBook Pro Retina Display does not run 3 Thunderbolt Displays". Retrieved February 21, 2014.
  14. ^ Shimpi, Anand Lal. "Review of Apple Thunderbolt Display". AnandTech.
  15. ^ "Thunderbolt ports and displays: Frequently asked questions (FAQ)". Retrieved March 4, 2014.
  16. ^ a b Myrick, Andrew (May 11, 2022). "How To Use a Second Monitor With the Mac". AppleToolBox.
  17. ^ "Mac Pro (Late 2013): Using multiple displays". Retrieved February 21, 2014.
  18. ^ "Mac mini (Mid 2011) – Technical Specifications".
  19. ^ "Mac mini (Late 2012) – Technical Specifications".
  20. ^ "Mac mini (Late 2014) – Technical Specifications".
  21. ^ "Mac mini – Technical Specifications".
  22. ^ a b "Connect a display to Mac mini". Apple Support. Retrieved April 6, 2022.