Connect with Thunderbolt 3 on your new MacBook Pro

MacBook Pro models introduced in 2016 feature Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports that let you connect devices and displays, charge your computer, and provide power to connected devices—all through one simple, compact USB-C connector.

 

About Thunderbolt 3

MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2016), MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2016, Four Thunderbolt 3 Ports), and MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2016, Two Thunderbolt 3 Ports) come equipped with Thunderbolt 3, an I/O technology that connects devices to your computer at speeds up to 40 Gbps. Thunderbolt 3 combines data transfer, video output, and charging capabilities in a single, compact connector.

The Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports on your MacBook Pro support Thunderbolt 3 devices at speeds up to 40 Gbps when you use a Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C to USB-C) cable. You can also connect Thunderbolt and Thunderbolt 2 devices using the Apple Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) to Thunderbolt 2 Adapter at maximum speeds of 20 Gbps. Learn more about Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) to Thunderbolt 2 Adapter compatibility.

Up to six devices can be daisy-chained to each Thunderbolt 3 port on your MacBook Pro; the Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) to Thunderbolt 2 adapter doesn't count as a device against that limit.

Connecting your MacBook Pro to other devices

You can connect your MacBook Pro with Thunderbolt 3 ports to other devices and displays using adapters:

Thunderbolt 2 displays and accessories: Use a Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) to Thunderbolt 2 Adapter to connect to Thunderbolt 2 devices like displays and external disks. Note that devices connected to this adapter transfer data at Thunderbolt 2 speeds (20 Gbps). You can learn more about the devices and connections that work with this adapter.

Standard USB accessories: Use a USB-C to USB Adapter to connect to devices like digital cameras and thumb drives.

HDMI display: Use a USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter to connect to an HDMI display. In addition to HDMI, this adapter lets you connect a standard USB device and a USB-C charging cable to charge your MacBook Pro. 

VGA display: Use a USB-C VGA Multiport Adapter to connect to a VGA display or projector. In addition to VGA, this adapter lets you connect a standard USB device and a USB-C charging cable to charge your MacBook Pro. 

iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch: Use a USB-C to Lightning Cable to charge and sync your iOS device.

Adapters and other accessories are sold separately at apple.com and your local Apple Store. Review the documentation for your device or check with its manufacturer to make sure you choose the right adapter for your MacBook Pro. Not all USB accessories are supported.

Thunderbolt 3 data speeds per MacBook Pro port

MacBook Pro models introduced in 2016 vary slightly in the data speeds they provide to each Thunderbolt 3 port.

MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2016) delivers full Thunderbolt 3 performance on all four ports.

MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2016, Four Thunderbolt 3 Ports) supports Thunderbolt 3 at full performance using the two left-hand ports. The two right-hand ports deliver Thunderbolt 3 functionality, but have reduced PCI Express bandwidth.

Always plug higher-performance devices into the left-hand ports on MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2016, Four Thunderbolt 3 Ports) for maximum data throughput.

MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2016, Two Thunderbolt 3 Ports) delivers full Thunderbolt 3 performance on both ports.

About USB speed

For USB devices, all 2016 MacBook Pro models deliver USB 3.1 Gen 2 (10 Gbps) performance on all Thunderbolt 3 ports.

Use a USB-C to USB adapter to connect a USB-A device or cable to a Thunderbolt 3 port on your MacBook Pro. Use a USB 3.1 (USB-C to USB-C) cable to connect a USB-C device.

Connecting to external video

The Thunderbolt 3 ports on your MacBook Pro also support video output, allowing you to connect to an external display, projector, or HDTV. Use these adapters or cables to connect.

VGA display or projector: Use a USB-C VGA Multiport Adapter to connect the display or projector to a Thunderbolt 3 port on your MacBook Pro.

HDMI display or HDTV: Use a USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter to connect the HDMI display or HDTV to a Thunderbolt 3 port on your MacBook Pro. If you have an HDTV connected to an Apple TV, you can also use AirPlay to mirror your MacBook Pro display on your TV screen in up to 1080p HD.

USB-C display: Connect the cable that came with the display to a Thunderbolt 3 port on your MacBook Pro.

Thunderbolt 2 display: Use a Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) to Thunderbolt 2 Adapter to connect the Thunderbolt 2 display to a Thunderbolt 3 port on your MacBook Pro.

USB-C DisplayPort displays: Use the cable that came with your display or a USB 3.1 (USB-C to USB-C) cable.

Native Thunderbolt 3 displays: Use the cable that came with your display or a Thunderbolt 3 cable. Learn more about connecting your MacBook Pro to the LG UltraFine 5K Display and the LG UltraFine 4K Display via Thunderbolt 3.

Apple Thunderbolt display: Use a Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) to Thunderbolt 2 Adapter.

You can also attach 4K Single-Stream Transport (SST) displays, as well as 5K/4K Multi-Stream Transport (MST) displays, to all 2016 MacBook Pro models. Learn more about using these displays with your MacBook Pro.

Charging your MacBook Pro and other devices

The Thunderbolt 3 ports on your 2016 MacBook Pro can receive power to charge your system as well as provide power to bus-powered USB or Thunderbolt devices.

To charge your MacBook Pro, use two accessories that are included in the box with your computer:

  • The Apple 61W (for 13-inch models) or 87W (for 15-inch models) USB-C Power Adapter
  • The Apple USB-C Charge Cable

MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2016) draws up to 85W. Use the Apple USB-C charge cable that came with your MacBook Pro, or a certified USB-C cable supporting 5A (100W), to power and charge your MacBook Pro at its full capability. 

MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2016, Four Thunderbolt 3 Ports) and MacBook (13-inch, 2016, Two Thunderbolt 3 Ports) draw up to 60W. 

Notes on charging your MacBook Pro:

  • Your MacBook Pro draws power from only one power supply, even if more than one is attached—so using multiple power supplies won't speed up charging. 
  • If you connect multiple power supplies to your MacBook Pro, the one that provides the most power will be used, regardless of the order in which you connected them. 
  • You shouldn't connect any power supply that exceeds 100W, as it might damage your Mac.
  • Using a power supply that doesn't provide sufficient power can result in slow or delayed charging. It's best to use the power supply that came with your Mac.
  • MacBook Pro can receive a maximum of 60W of power through the Apple USB-C VGA Multiport Adapter or USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter. For the best charging performance on MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2016), connect the power supply directly to your Mac.

Charging devices

Thunderbolt 3 ports can also supply power to attached devices.

MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2016) and MacBook (13-inch, 2016, Four Thunderbolt 3 Ports) can power two devices that use up to 15 watts, and two more devices that use up to 7.5 watts. It doesn't matter which side of your MacBook Pro that they're connected to—power is delivered on a first-come, first-served basis.

MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2016, Two Thunderbolt 3 Ports) can power one device that uses up to 15 watts and one device that uses up to 7.5 watts.

Not all cables that have a USB-C connector deliver the same levels of performance or power delivery. Be sure to choose a cable that meets the requirements for your external devices.

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