Networking two Mac systems directly with a Thunderbolt 3 cable requires Thunderbolt-enabled hosts

Mac systems support networking between two Thunderbolt hosts using a Thunderbolt cable. Thunderbolt networking over USB-C requires a Thunderbolt 3 cable and a Mac system that supports Thunderbolt 3, such as the MacBook (2016 and later) and iMac models introduced in 2017.

If you're having issues with Thunderbolt networking, or if you were directed to this page when you connected a Mac to another host, check the following:

  • Verify that your system supports Thunderbolt 3 over USB-C. Check with your system's manufacturer if you think the message was shown in error.
  • Be sure to connect your Mac directly to the Thunderbolt 3 computer and not through a USB-C hub. USB-C hubs don't support Thunderbolt 3 connections between their ports.
  • Make sure that the USB-C cable that you're using supports Thunderbolt 3. Not all USB-C cables support the requirements of Thunderbolt 3. For example, a USB-C charge cable doesn't support a Thunderbolt 3 connection.
  • If you're connecting a Thunderbolt 3 Mac to a Thunderbolt 2 Mac, use an Apple Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) to Thunderbolt 2 adapter and a Thunderbolt 2 cable.

If you need more help, contact Apple support or schedule a Genius Bar appointment.

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Published Date: 2017-06-06