Reset-Mac-Thunderbolt-DisplayApple's Thunderbolt Display, for myriad reasons, may not display an image from your Mac, recognize USB peripherals, connect to Ethernet, or power on whatsoever.

In many cases, the display is not broken. Before contacting Apple, follow these troubleshooting steps to see if you can reset your Thunderbolt Display.

Update OS X

OS X El Capitan LogoAs a preliminary measure, it is recommended that you update your Mac to the latest version of OS X.

  1. Click on the Apple logo in the top-left menu bar.

  2. Click on About This Mac in the dropdown menu.

  3. Click on the Software Update… button.

  4. Click on the Update button next to the latest OS X version in the Mac App Store.

Power Cycle for 30 Seconds

Thunderbolt-Display-RearShut down and disconnect both your Mac and Thunderbolt Display from AC power for at least 30 seconds.

  1. Disconnect the Thunderbolt Display's MagSafe cable from your Mac.

  2. Disconnect the Thunderbolt Display from AC power by unplugging the cord.

  3. Disconnect all USB peripherals and any cables plugged into the Thunderbolt Display.

  4. Wait at least 30 seconds before powering on your Mac and Thunderbolt Display.

Reset Your Mac's SMC

SMCIntel-based Macs have a System Management Controller (SMC) that can be reset as a possible fix for Thunderbolt Display issues.

These instructions are for Mac notebooks with non-removable batteries.

  1. Shut down the Mac.

  2. Plug in a MagSafe or USB-C power adapter to a power source and to your computer.

  3. On the Mac's built-in keyboard, press the left side Shift-Control-Option keys and the power button simultaneously.

  4. Release all the keys and the power button at the same time.

  5. Press the power button to turn on the Mac.

Apple provides steps for Macs with removable batteries, and the Mac Pro, iMac and Mac mini, on its support website.

On Macs with MagSafe power adapters, the cable's LED might change states or temporarily turn off when you reset the SMC.

Reset Your Mac's NVRAM or PRAM

NVRAMNVRAM, short for "non-volatile random-access memory," stores certain settings even when your Intel-based Mac is turned off. On older Macs, it is known as PRAM.

  1. Shut down the Mac.

  2. Turn on the Mac.

  3. Press and hold the Command-Option-P-R keys immediately after you hear the startup sound.

  4. Hold these keys until the Mac restarts and you hear the startup sound for a second time.

  5. Release the keys.

After resetting NVRAM, you may need to reconfigure the Mac's settings for speaker volume, screen resolution, startup disk selection, and time zone information.

Thunderbolt-Cable

Use a Standalone Thunderbolt Cable

Try connecting a standalone Thunderbolt cable between your Mac and Thunderbolt Display. If this resolves the issue, then possibly your Thunderbolt Display's dual MagSafe-Thunderbolt cable is damaged.

Contact Apple

If none of the troubleshooting methods worked above, it is recommended that you contact Apple Support by calling 1-800-MY-APPLE, scheduling a Genius Bar appointment or choosing another option. You may also consider visiting an Apple Authorized Service Provider if your Thunderbolt Display requires repair.

Top Rated Comments

Bubba Satori Avatar
79 months ago
4 1/2 year old, $1000 monitor needs an 18 step trouble shoot.
Unbelievably sad.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
DVNIEL Avatar
79 months ago
Dammit I thought this was an announcement for a new Thunderbolt Display when I saw the picture.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
c0ppo Avatar
79 months ago
Does your 3rd party display provide power, USB, Thunderbolt, ethernet, and Firewire 800 to your MacBook Pro? Is it a work of art destined for some modern art museum? Does it have the simplicity of only needing two cables to operate? No? Then maybe the $1,000 piece of glass is worth it. Was to me. I'm a digital media editor (photos, videos) and a musician. Some things are a necessity.
Mine does. Everything except Firewire. Since I never used Firewire, I can honestly say 3440x1440 resolution, 2 thunderbolt ports, better screen, better speakers, more connectivity options, etc. are worth it. Of course, some would argue firewire 800 is more precious than those things mentioned here.

And btw, I had Apple Thunderbolt Display. After 2 years it died on me. Sometimes it would turn on, sometimes it wouldn't. Upgrading firmware, smc reset, 1000x more things and it finally died on me. You have a long thread about this issue on apple forums. Lots of people with exact same situation I was in.

Do you think Apple reacted to this? Of course not.

Will I ever buy Apple monitor again? Nope. I payed premium expecting a premium product and a premium support. Got neither. Glossy screen with large bezels that was pretty expensive couldn't last me 2 years. With so many great monitors out there that support thunderbolt 2, and so many coming out that will support thunderbolt 3, I really see no reason in waiting and finally purchasing a monitor from Apple.

Not with their past record. And besides, they aren't interested anymore in monitors or pro users. They have their iToys to play with now :)
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
JetLaw Avatar
79 months ago
What a ridiculous article this is. It doesn't even actually include the one thing suggested by the title: resetting the display. How can these guys expect us to take them seriously? They are either engaging in blatant click-baiting or they don't understand the difference between resetting a display and resetting the computer that is connected to the display. Either way, MacRumors should be embarrassed by this post.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
paulrbeers Avatar
79 months ago
Hasn't this display been out since 2011? Why is this news now?
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
macgeek01 Avatar
79 months ago
The best fix is to buy a 3rd party 4K display.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

iOS 15

Everything New in iOS 15.4 and iPadOS 15.4: Face ID With a Mask, Emojis, Apple Card Widget, Universal Control and More

Thursday January 27, 2022 12:08 pm PST by
Apple today seeded the first betas of iOS 15.4, iPadOS 15.4 to developers for testing purposes, adding a slew of new features to the latest iOS operating systems. iOS 15.4 is the biggest update that we've had to iOS 15 to date, and it brings Universal Control, Face ID with a mask, new emojis, and tons more. Face ID With a Mask With iOS 15.4, there is now an option to unlock your iPhone...
iOS 15

iOS 15.4 Adds New Emoji Like Melting Face, Biting Lip, Heart Hands, Troll and More

Thursday January 27, 2022 11:33 am PST by
With the iOS 15.4 update that was introduced today, Apple has added support for Emoji 14, introducing a selection of new emoji like melting face, biting lip, heart hands, and more. There are 37 new emoji and 75 skin tone additions in Emoji 14, resulting in a total of 112 characters. New faces include melting face, saluting face, face with open eyes and hand over mouth, face with peeking eye, ...
intel vs m1 max chip purple

Benchmarks Confirm Intel's Latest Core i9 Chip Outperforms Apple's M1 Max With Several Caveats

Wednesday January 26, 2022 8:56 am PST by
Benchmark results have started to surface for MSI's new GE76 Raider, one of the first laptops to be powered by Intel's new 12th-generation Core i9 processor. Intel previously said that its new high-end Core i9 processor is faster than Apple's M1 Max chip in the 16-inch MacBook Pro and, as noted by Macworld, early Geekbench 5 results do appear to confirm this claim, but there are several...
MAsk On Face ID iOS 15

iOS 15.4's Face ID With a Mask Feature Requires iPhone 12 or Newer

Thursday January 27, 2022 1:22 pm PST by
In today's iOS 15.4 beta that's available to developers, Apple added a useful new feature that changes the way Face ID works. There's now a Face ID with a Mask option that allows the iPhone to be unlocked when you're wearing a mask, but you need to have an iPhone 12 or newer. Right now, an iPhone can be unlocked with a mask if you have an Apple Watch for authentication to add an extra layer...
MAsk On Face ID iOS 15

iOS 15.4 Beta Lets You Use Face ID With a Mask On

Thursday January 27, 2022 10:54 am PST by
The iOS 15.4 beta that was introduced today added a new feature designed to allow Face ID to be used with a mask and without an Apple Watch for authentication. Apple says that the feature can "recognize the unique features around the eye" for authentication purposes. If you opt to use this feature during setup, you will need to rescan your face for Face ID. From there, Face ID will be able...
Apple Watch Red Yellow Green Feature 1

Apple Launches Black Unity Braided Solo Loop With 'Unity Lights' Watch Face

Wednesday January 26, 2022 6:05 am PST by
Apple today announced the Black Unity Braided Solo Loop for the Apple Watch, as well as a new downloadable watch face, to celebrate Black History Month. Following the launch of the limited edition Black Unity Apple Watch Series 6 and Sport Band in 2021, Apple today launched the Black Unity Braided Solo Loop as part of its celebrations for Black History Month this year.Apple is launching a...
ios 15

Apple Releases iOS 15.3 and iPadOS 15.3 With Fix for Safari Bug That Leaks Browsing Activity

Wednesday January 26, 2022 10:00 am PST by
Apple today released iOS 15.3 and iPadOS 15.3, the third major updates to the iOS and iPadOS 15 operating systems that were released in September 2021. iOS and iPadOS 15.3 come almost two weeks after the release of iOS and iPadOS 15.2.1, minor bug fix updates. The iOS 15.3 and iPadOS 15.3 updates can be downloaded for free and the software is available on all eligible devices over-the-air in ...
General Dropbox Feature

macOS 12.3 Will Include Cloud Storage Changes Affecting Dropbox and OneDrive

Tuesday January 25, 2022 3:31 pm PST by
Dropbox today announced that users who update to macOS 12.3 once that software version becomes available may temporarily encounter issues with opening online-only files in some third-party apps on their Mac. In a support document and an email to customers, Dropbox said it is actively working on full support for online-only files on macOS 12.3 and will begin rolling out an updated version of...