Student-Contributed Wiki

Student-Contributed Wiki

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Display won't turn on ¶ 

You keep trying and trying but your Thunderbolt Display just refuses to turn on.

No video/signal from the display ¶ 

Try to update the firmware for the display to make sure you have completely updated your computer. Restart the computer and unplug; then plug back in your monitor. If this does not fix the problem, try and plug the display straight into the wall, as a surge protector could also be the problem!

Black screen after plugging in to laptop ¶ 

Before going through with taking your display apart, first double check to make sure that all cords are attached and that your display is plugged into an outlet.

Double check that all connections are plugged in and secure. Try unplugging and plugging back in the video adapter or cable. If the problem persists, try using another adapter to see if it works.

Display won't wake up after waking up computer ¶ 

Try resetting the NVRAM or PRAM and the SMC on your Mac. If the problem persists, please contact Apple support.

No audio or distorted audio ¶ 

Your display is working fine but you cannot get any audio output from it.

No sound coming out of display ¶ 

The main problem is most likely coming from your connected computer. Take the thunderbolt cable and unplug it from your connected computer. Wait a few seconds and then plug the cable back in. If the problem continues, try restarting your computer.

Audio becomes distorted after using speakers for an amount of time ¶ 

If not done so already, update your computer to the latest software. Next, try using your thunderbolt display without having any usb devices plugged into it. If the problem still persists, you may need to inquire Apple about this issue, replace the speakers in the display, or use external speakers.

Usb ports stopped working ¶ 

The thunderbolt display will not recognize any usb devices connected to it

Usb ports stop working after waking up connected Macbook ¶ 

Update your Mac to the latest software and test to see if the problem persists. If it does, whenever you close your Mac (put it to sleep), unplug the video adapter that connects your Mac to your display. Also, try resetting the SMC on your Mac.

Faulty usb ports ¶ 

Your USB ports on your display may be faulty and may need to be replaced.

Scrambled Display, No Display, intermittent display ¶ 

When the Thunderbolt display is attached to the host Mac, display is distorted, or non existent. Unplugging and replugging the display gives varying results ¶ 

It is very possible that the cable has become crimped, cut, worn, or the display connector is damaged or defective. Evaluate the condition of the attached cable and connector.


1) Disconnect the Thunderbolt display cable from the host computer. Leave it aside.

2) Connect a known good Thunderbolt peripheral cable (male-male) to the Thunderbolt port on the back bottom edge of the display (next to the FireWire 800 and USB 2 ports). Connect the other end to the host computer. Power on both the Thunderbolt Display and host computer.

3) if the display acts as expected (shows a good solid display), replace the thunderbolt cable that is attached to the back of the display.


Ongoing, intermittent issue: (specs at bottom of comment)

I primarily have my sound coming through the 27 inch display. For the most part, it works fine. As I'm watching something on youtube (or hulu, or other), the sound will break once or twice for a second... . about 30 sec – 1 min later, the sound will stop. The video is still playing.

My current remedy (and possible marker toward the issue) is to unplug the 27" USB connection for about 10-30 sec. During that time the sound will often revert to the 24" monitor. Occasionally, the sound will be out of sync from the video.

When I plug the 27" USB back into the laptop, the sound returns & usually stays.

See system specs below

MacBook Pro (Retina, 13-inch, Early 2015)

3.1 GHz Intel Core i7

16 GB 1867 MHz DDR3

Intel Iris Graphics 6100 1536 MB

2 (non thunderbolt) Apple Cinema Displays connected through 2 thunderbolt ports

also have them connected via USB.

Display 1: 27" Apple Cinema Display

Display 2: 24" Apple Cinema Display

Pete Goode - Reply

Other realated problem -- Thunderbolt connector may have been damaged / deformed and this makes a bad connection when plugged into a computer.

One suggestion to troubleshoot: 1) disconnect the TBD thunderbolt connection from the host computer. 2) Use a known good standard Thunderbolt cable and connect one end to the host computer, and the other to the single Thunderbolt port on the back of the display (next to the FW800 and USB ports). If the display works as expected, replace the attached TBD cable. (OEM A1407 Thunderbolt Display All-In-One Cable For Apple 27" 922-9941 Assembly )

Michael Martin - Reply

edited the WIKI to attach the majority of this info .. (cool beans! )

Michael Martin -

Woah, the surge protector WAS the problem. It didn’t even occur to me…That was a wonderful tip and it saved me time and money. Thanks!!!

Adam Mancilla - Reply

Trying to troubleshoot a Thunderbolt display that won’t come on. Does the fact that there is no power (when plugged into a known good power source) to the USB ports indicate the problem is NOT the Thunderbolt cable and IS a problem with the monitor itself?

Michael Whyte - Reply

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