Some Users Having External Display Connection Issues With macOS Big Sur 11.1 and 11.2

Some macOS Big Sur users who are running the 11.1 and recently released 11.2 update have been experiencing ongoing issues with external displays, based on multiple reports on the MacRumors forum, Apple Support Communities, Twitter, and Reddit.

macbook pro touch bar m1
There are at least two separate issues at play, but both are related to external display connections. The problems appear to have started with the macOS Big Sur 11.1 update, and the 11.2 update has not provided a fix and in some cases, has worsened the issue.

The first issue causes USB-C ports to fail to recognize external monitors, rendering external displays unusable and unable to connect. This appears to be affecting both DisplayPort and HDMI displays connected directly and through hubs and adapters.


We saw this issue firsthand after upgrading a MacBook Pro to macOS Big Sur 11.2, with the update preventing an external monitor from connecting with USB-C, and there are several other complaints from affected users. From Reddit:

Upgrading to 11.2 broke my second external monitor connection.
Primary monitor LG Ultrafine 4k (Mac version) connected via Thunderbolt.
Secondary monitor (same model) connected via HDMI->DisplayPort adapter (BENFEI), then DisplayPort->USB-C cable no longer works after updating (worked fine on 11.1 before updating).
macOS appears to recognize the monitor and resolution, as it is shown in display settings, and Apple Support was able to remove into my computer and see both screens. It's almost as if the signal for the monitor to turn on is not being sent.

The second issue results in resolution issues with external displays unable to work at a full 4K 60Hz resolution, instead locked at 30Hz. In some cases, a 4K monitor is only recognized as a 1080p monitor.


It appears that many of those affected with display issues have a 16-inch MacBook Pro, but there are also reports of other Macs with the same connectivity problems. There does not appear to be a reliable, widespread and tested fix or workaround at this time.

Mac users did not experience these problems in the initial release of macOS Big Sur 11.0.1, and it appears that the macOS Big Sur 11.3 update released yesterday also does not address the problem, but there is still some time for Apple to work in a fix before the 11.3 software sees a public release.

Top Rated Comments

cal6n Avatar
11 months ago
It’s good to see this on the front page. Let’s get some visibility.

My Benq PD2720U drops to 1920 x 1080 when my MBP M1 wakes from sleep, but still tries to display my higher res desktop.

Turning the monitor off and on restores normality, so it’s an annoyance but it still shouldn’t be happening.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Johnny907 Avatar
11 months ago
Well yeah, because in so many ways Big Sur is a huge piece of garbage. Apple needs to get serious about squashing bugs and getting back to “It just works” again.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
sirozha Avatar
11 months ago
Thats an understatement. Huge issues with external display for me on the M1 MacBook Air. HDMI connection is not recognized after the Mac goes to sleep. I have to unplug the cable and plug it back in and then bang on the space bar repeatedly for the Mac to detect the monitor via the HDMI port on the monitor.

The DP 1.4 (5K) connection on this monitor is not recognized by the M1 MacBook Air at all no matter what I do. It works just fine with the 2020 MacBook Pro (10th generation Intel CPU).

Apple admitted to me (after a month of me badgering them and demanding that the ticket be sent to Engineering again and again) that the M1 Macs have an issue with DP1.4 not being recognized.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
fumi2014 Avatar
11 months ago
I've had this issue since I bought my Mac mini M1. USB-C to Display Port (cable straight from the Mac mini to the display - no hubs or anything). At least once a day, it will not wake long enough to detect the display. When this happens, I can VNC in and everything looks fine.


* It's almost as though the signal to wake isn't being transmitted or detected long enough to really wake the display.
* When this wake issue happens, on my monitor, NEC PA301W, I also get an error warning me that the display input has not been detected. Even though I keep my Mac running all the time. It's not like I'm even asking the Mac to wake from sleep.
* But the only way in is by powering off the monitor. When it comes back, sometimes it's all I need to do. Occasionally, the resolution has gone to hell and I have to go in and redo all my open windows.
* It happens often enough now that I know it's a genuine fault.
* For the last few years, I had an Intel MacBook Air connected to this display and I never once had the 'Wake' issue.



Honestly, I've been tearing my hair out over this. Hope this thread gets some good visibility and Apple sort it.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
star-affinity Avatar
11 months ago
An SMC reset ('https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201295') doesn't help?

By the way, I think having more than one display connected in macOS is handled pretty badly compared to Windows 10 as far as what I know is possible.

Things I'm missing in macOS that Windows 10 can do:


* In software, disable one of the connected display as if it was disconnected despite being physically connected and turned on.
* Have the Dock (Task Bar in Windows) displayed on both (or all) displays at the same time.
* [S]Have the menu bar being displayed on both (or all) displays at the same time (well in Windows each menu bar follows the application window, but in practice it becomes like having a menu bar on each display if having one app on each display).[/S]


Or am I missing some setting in macOS to achieve something like the above?

Edit:
OK, I see the menu bar is on both the MacBook Pro 13" (2018) display and my external display using Big Sur 11.2 here at work. Don't know why the menu bar only show up on on the main display of my old Mac Pro (2010) with Big Sur 11.2 at home. At the same time Big Sur isn't officially supported on that computer, so can't really complain I guess...

Edit 2:
The menu bar missing on my second screen was due to the setting Displays have separate spaces being disabled in Apple meny -> System Preferences -> Mission Control.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
anshuvorty Avatar
11 months ago
I can confirm that I am having this issue as well. Here is my issue in more detail:

* I have a 34-inch 3440 x 1440 Ultrawide monitor connected to a Belkin Thunderbolt 3 Express Dock via Displayport to USB-C cable.
* Whenever I connect the Thunderbolt 3 USB-C (from the dock) to the USB-C cable into my M1 MBA, the monitor doesn't activate.
* The only solution that I found was to remove the USB-C to USB-C cable from my laptop, open the lid, and connect the cable again. At this point, the monitor is detected in macOS 11.2, and then I can close the lid again.

A little annoying, but I am not too flustered by this issue.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Related Stories

jamf malware secret screenshots

macOS Big Sur 11.4 Addresses Vulnerability That Could Let Attackers Take Secret Screenshots

Monday May 24, 2021 5:26 pm PDT by
macOS Big Sur 11.4, which was released this morning, addresses a zero-day vulnerability that could allow attackers to piggyback off of apps like Zoom, taking secret screenshots and surrepetiously recording the screen. Jamf, a mobile device management company, today highlighted a security issue that allowed Privacy preferences to be bypassed, providing an attacker with Full Disk Access,...
macOS Big Sur Feature Orange

Apple Releases macOS Big Sur 11.4 With Apple Podcasts Subscription Support

Monday May 24, 2021 10:08 am PDT by
Apple today released macOS Big Sur 11.4, the fourth major update to the macOS Big Sur operating system that launched in November 2020. macOS Big Sur comes one month after the release of macOS Big Sur 11.3, an update that added M1 optimizations, AirTag integration, and more. The new ‌‌‌‌macOS Big Sur‌‌‌ 11.4 update can be downloaded for free on all eligible Macs using the...
First Look Big Sur Feature2

Apple Releases macOS Big Sur 11.2.2 to Prevent MacBooks From Being Damaged by Third-Party Non-Compliant Docks

Thursday February 25, 2021 10:07 am PST by
Apple today released macOS Big Sur 11.2.2, the fourth update to the macOS Big Sur operating system that launched in November. macOS Big Sur 11.2.2 comes two weeks after the release of macOS Big Sur 11.2.1, a bug fix update. The new ‌‌‌‌macOS Big Sur‌‌‌ 11.2.2‌ update can be downloaded for free on all eligible Macs using the Software Update section of System Preferences....
macOS Big Sur Feature Purple

Apple Seeds Second Beta of macOS Big Sur 11.4 to Developers [Update: Public Beta Available]

Tuesday May 4, 2021 10:19 am PDT by
Apple today seeded the second beta of an upcoming macOS Big Sur 11.4 update to developers for testing purposes, with the new beta coming two weeks after the release of the first macOS Big Sur 11.4 beta. Developers can download the ‌‌‌macOS Big Sur‌‌‌ 11.4 beta using the Software Update mechanism in System Preferences after installing the proper profile from the Apple Developer...
macOS Big Sur Feature Blue

Apple Seeds Seventh Beta of macOS Big Sur 11.3 to Developers

Thursday April 8, 2021 10:07 am PDT by
Apple today seeded the seventh beta of an upcoming macOS Big Sur 11.3 update to developers for testing purposes, with the new beta coming one week after the launch of the sixth beta and more than a month after the release of macOS Big Sur 11.2, a bug fix update. Developers can download the ‌‌macOS Big Sur‌‌ 11.3 beta using the Software Update mechanism in System Preferences after...
macOS Big Sur Feature Blue

Update to macOS 11.4 NOW - Someone Could Be Spying On You

Sunday May 30, 2021 9:40 am PDT by
Apple's recently released macOS Big Sur 11.4 update addresses a serious security vulnerability, so all users should complete the software update immediately. Jamf, a mobile device management company, raised a major security issue in macOS Big Sur that allowed attackers to piggyback apps like Zoom to surreptitiously take screenshots and record the screen. The exploit allowed a user's Privacy...
macOS Big Sur Feature Orange

Apple Releases macOS Big Sur 11.3 With M1 Optimizations, AirTag Integration, Updated Controller Support, Apple Music Updates and More

Monday April 26, 2021 9:58 am PDT by
Apple today released macOS Big Sur 11.3, the third major update to the macOS Big Sur‌ operating system that launched in November. ‌macOS Big Sur‌ 11.3 comes two months after the release of macOS Big Sur 11.2, a bug fix update. The new ‌‌‌macOS Big Sur‌‌ 11.3 update can be downloaded for free on all eligible Macs using the Software Update section of System Preferences. macOS Big...
macOS 11

Apple Seeds Third Release Candidate Version of macOS Big Sur 11.2 to Developers [Update: Public Beta Too]

Thursday January 28, 2021 1:29 pm PST by
Apple today seeded a third RC version of an upcoming macOS Big Sur 11.2 update to developers for testing purposes, with the new update coming a week after the second RC and more than two months after initial macOS Big Sur release. Developers can download the updated ‌‌macOS Big Sur‌‌ 11.2 release candidate using the Software Update mechanism in System Preferences after installing the ...

Popular Stories

airtag in hand

Apple AirTag Linked to Increasing Number of Car Thefts, Canadian Police Report

Friday December 3, 2021 7:10 am PST by
Apple's AirTags are being used in an increasing number of targeted car thefts in Canada, according to local police. Outlined in a news release from York Regional Police, investigators have identified a new method being used by thieves to track down and steal high-end vehicles that takes advantage of the AirTag's location tracking capabilities. While the method of stealing the cars is largely ...
macbook pro 13 inch banner

Apple Planning Five New Macs for 2022, Including Entry-Level MacBook Pro Refresh

Sunday December 5, 2021 7:55 am PST by
Apple is working on five new Macs for launch in 2022, including a new version of the entry-level MacBook Pro, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. In the latest edition of his "Power On" newsletter, Gurman said that he expects Apple to launch five new Macs in 2022, including: A high-end iMac with Apple silicon to sit above the 24-inch iMac in the lineup A significant MacBook Air...
MBA Mock White Front Blue

2022 MacBook Air Getting Major Display Upgrade With One Drawback

Friday December 3, 2021 3:01 am PST by
Apple's next-generation MacBook Air is reportedly set to bring over many of the new MacBook Pro's features, with one noticeable omission, according to recent reports. The latest MacBook Pro models feature a mini-LED "Liquid Retina XDR" display with deep blacks and support for up to 1,600 nits peak brightness. The display also features Apple's "ProMotion" technology, which is capable of...
m3 feature black

Macs With 'M3' Chips Expected to Use TSMC's 3nm Chip Technology With Test Production Reportedly Underway

Thursday December 2, 2021 7:36 am PST by
Apple's chipmaking partner TSMC has kicked off pilot production of chips built on its 3nm process, known as N3, according to Taiwanese supply chain publication DigiTimes. The report, citing unnamed industry sources, claims that TSMC will move the process to volume production by the fourth quarter of 2022 and start shipping 3nm chips to customers like Apple and Intel in the first quarter of...
apple watch series 7 aluminum colors

2022 Apple Watch Lineup Rumored to Include New Apple Watch SE and 'Rugged' Model for Sports

Sunday December 5, 2021 8:22 am PST by
Apple is planning an entire revamp of its Apple Watch lineup for 2022, including an update to the Apple Watch SE and a new Apple Watch with a rugged design aimed at sports athletes, according to respected Bloomberg journalist Mark Gurman. Writing in the latest installment of his Power On newsletter, Gurman said that for 2022, alongside the Apple Watch Series 8, Apple is planning an update to ...