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Apple Mini DisplayPort adapters: Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Find answers here to frequently asked questions about using an Apple Mini DisplayPort to Dual-Link DVI adapter, Apple Mini DisplayPort to DVI adapter, or Apple Mini DisplayPort to VGA adapter to connect your Mac to an external display.

About the Apple Mini DisplayPort and high-definition content:

  1. What is a Mini DisplayPort?
  2. Does my computer have a Mini DisplayPort connector?
  3. My computer has the same connector but the symbol is different, what does that mean?
  4. What are the system requirements for Apple Mini DisplayPort adapters?
  5. Which Mini DisplayPort adapters are available from Apple?
  6. Can other adapters be connected or "daisy-chained" to Apple Mini DisplayPort adapters?
  7. What about HDMI?
  8. What is HDCP?
  9. Does my Apple Mini DisplayPort adapter support HDCP?
  10. What is the difference between active and passive adapters?
  11. Should I use a passive or active adapter?
  12. Can I output via Mini DisplayPort to an RCA or S-Video connection?

About the Apple Mini DisplayPort to Dual-Link DVI adapter:

  1. How is the Apple Mini DisplayPort to Dual-Link DVI adapter different from the Apple Mini DisplayPort to DVI adapter?
  2. Which displays should I use with the Apple Mini DisplayPort to Dual-Link DVI adapter?
  3. What can I do if my external display is not working properly when I use it with a Mini DisplayPort to Dual-Link DVI adapter?

About the Apple Mini DisplayPort to DVI adapter:

  1. Why doesn't the DVI connector for my external display fit my Apple Mini DisplayPort to DVI adapter?

About the Apple Mini DisplayPort to VGA adapter:

  1. What should I do if I have flickering or compatibility issues with my Apple Mini DisplayPort to VGA adapter?
  2. What is the maximum resolution available when using the Apple Mini DisplayPort to VGA Adapter? 


1. What is a Mini DisplayPort?

A Mini DisplayPort delivers a pure digital connection to external displays. It gives you plug-and-play performance with the Apple LED Cinema Display and works with single-link DVI, dual-link DVI, and VGA displays with the appropriate adapters. 


2. Does my computer have a Mini DisplayPort?

The Mini DisplayPort looks like this:

An Apple computer with a Mini DisplayPort will have this symbol next to the Mini DisplayPort:

On Apple portables, iMac, and Mac mini computers the Mini DisplayPort is located with the other ports and connectors. For the Mac Pro, the Mini DisplayPort is on the graphics card. Refer to the manual for your Mac for specific details about the location of ports and connectors on your computer.


3. My computer has the same connector but the symbol is different, what does that mean?

Some Apple computer have a Thunderbolt port instead of a Mini DisplayPort. Computers with a Thunderbolt port will have the following symbol next a port although the port physically appears the same as a Mini DisplayPort:

Thunderbolt ports:

  • Are compatible with all of the Mini DisplayPort adapters referenced below in question 5 and with Apple Mini DisplayPort equipped displays.
  • Support adapters like Apple's Thunderbolt to Gigabit Ethernet Adapter and Thunderbolt to FireWire Adapter which are not otherwise compatible with Mini DisplayPorts.

See Thunderbolt ports and displays: Frequently asked questions (FAQ) for more information on Thunderbolt.


 

4. What are the system requirements for Apple Mini DisplayPort adapters? 

Your computer needs Mac OS X v10.5.6 or later and a Mini DisplayPort to use these adapters. Note: When you use the Apple Mini DisplayPort to Dual-Link DVI adapter, your Mac should also have a free USB port. 


5. Which Mini DisplayPort adapters are available from Apple?

Apple Mini DisplayPort to Dual-Link DVI Adapter Dual-link DVI displays with resolutions above 1920 x 1200 Mini DisplayPort to Dual-Link DVI Adapter
Apple Mini DisplayPort to DVI adapter Displays that do not support Dual-link DVI resolutions (DVI displays with a resolution of 1920 x 1200 or lower)
Apple Mini DisplayPort to VGA adapter Displays that connect via VGA  

 


6. Can other video adapters be connected or "daisy-chained" to Apple Mini DisplayPort adapters?

No, you should not connect Apple Mini DisplayPort adapters to any other video adapters. Connect your computer directly to an external display via one Mini DisplayPort adapter.


7. What about HDMI?

Apple does not manufacture a Mini DisplayPort to HDMI adapter. For more information on Mini DisplayPort to HDMI adapters, see this article.


8. What is HDCP?
HDCP (High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection) is a form of digital copy protection that requires compatibility between a source—such as your computer and video adapter if present—and a receiver, such as a high-definition television. If any of these devices or cabling do not support HDCP, your content may not play, may present a warning message, or may play back at a lower resolution than expected. An example of content that supports HDCP is an HD movie on the iTunes Store. Note: For information about whether your cabling, receiver, or television supports HDCP, refer to the manufacturer of the device.


9. Does the Apple Mini DisplayPort adapter support HDCP?
Apple Mini DisplayPort adapters that offer digital connections—such as the Apple Mini DisplayPort to Dual-Link DVI adapter and the Apple Mini DisplayPort to DVI adapter—support HDCP content. Apple Mini DisplayPort adapters that offer analog connections—such as the Apple Mini DisplayPort to VGA adapter—do not support HDCP content.


10. What is the difference between an active adapter and a passive adapter?

An active adapter can convert a signal from one connector to another. The Apple Mini DisplayPort to Dual-Link DVI and Apple Mini DisplayPort to VGA adapters are active adapters. A passive adapter acts as a pass-through from one connector type to another and does not convert a signal. The Apple Mini DisplayPort to DVI adapter is an example of a passive adapter.


11. Should I use a passive or active adapter?

On some Apple computers, like the Mac Pro (Mid 2010), you can connect three displays to a single graphics card. In this scenario—to connect to three display to use three ports—use active adapters to connect the Mini DisplayPort ports to your external displays. Two displays can connect via Mini DisplayPort and one via DVI. Note: Learn more about supported display configurations for the Mac Pro.


12. Can I output via Mini DisplayPort to an RCA or S-Video connection?

No. The Mini DIsplayPort connector allows output to Mini DisplayPort, DisplayPort, VGA, DVI, and HDMI connections when using the proper cables and adapters. However, output to RCA, Component, or S-Video connections is not supported.


13. How is the Apple Mini DisplayPort to Dual-Link DVI adapter different from the Apple Mini DisplayPort to DVI adapter?

The Apple Mini DisplayPort to Dual-Link DVI adapter works best with displays that operate at dual-link resolutions, which are resolutions above 1920 x 1200. For displays that do not support dual-link DVI resolutions (displays that operate at resolutions of 1920 x 1200 or lower) you should use the Apple Mini DisplayPort to DVI adapter instead.

 


14. Which monitors work with the Apple Mini DisplayPort to Dual-Link DVI adapter?

Use the Mini DisplayPort to Dual-Link DVI Adapter to connect your computer to a 30-inch display that includes a dual-link DVI connector, such as the Apple Cinema HD Display. Note: For such displays, be sure to connect the USB connection on the adapter to the USB port on your Mac; also connect the USB connection from the display to the USB port on the adapter.


15. What can I do if my external display is not working properly with the Mini DisplayPort to Dual-Link DVI adapter?

If you are using an external display that is not dual-link DVI, use the Apple Mini DisplayPort to DVI adapter for best performance.

Try these steps if your dual-link DVI display has video issues while it is connected with the Mini DisplayPort to Dual-Link DVI adapter:

  1. Reset the Mini DisplayPort to Dual-Link DVI adapter by disconnecting its Mini DisplayPort and USB connections from the computer for few seconds.
  2. Reconnect the cables to the computer to see if the issues persist.
  3. If your issue is still unresolved, disconnect the Mini DisplayPort to Dual-Link DVI adapter as described in step 1, then power off the monitor.
  4. Reconnect all cables and power on the display. 
  5. If issues continue to persist, restart the computer.


16. Why doesn't the DVI connector for my external display fit my Apple Mini DisplayPort to DVI adapter?

Important: The DVI connector on the Apple Mini DisplayPort to DVI adapter is for digital connections only. Some DVI connectors use additional pins on the connector to send analog information from the display to the computer. Connectors with additional pins are not compatible with the Apple Mini DisplayPort to DVI adapter.

 

Apple DVI to VGA adapter Apple Mini DisplayPort to DVI adapter

The Apple DVI to VGA adapter has four additional pins around the thin connector on the left. Those pins provide an analog signal and are not used with the Apple Mini DisplayPort to DVI adapter.


17. What should I do if I have flickering or compatibility issues with my Apple Mini DisplayPort adapter?

Be sure to install the latest update for your Apple Mini DisplayPort to VGA adapter. If you have flickering issues using your Mini DisplayPort to Dual-Link DVI Adapter with certain displays, learn how to update to an adapter with Firmware version 1.03.


18. What is the maximum resolution available for use with the Apple Mini DisplayPort to VGA adapter?

The resolution available with the Apple Mini DisplayPort to VGA Adapter is 1920 x 1200. VGA displays that use higher refresh rates (such as 85 Hz) at resolutions of 1600 x 1200 or greater may not generate video properly until you lower the refresh rate. 

Additional Information

For information about products not made by Apple, refer to the manufacturer of the device.

Important: Information about products not manufactured by Apple is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute Apple’s recommendation or endorsement. Please contact the vendor for additional information.
Last Modified: Sep 1, 2014
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  • Last Modified: Sep 1, 2014
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