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
110 months ago
4 1/2 year old, $1000 monitor needs an 18 step trouble shoot.
Unbelievably sad.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
DVNIEL Avatar
110 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
110 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
110 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
110 months ago
Hasn't this display been out since 2011? Why is this news now?
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
macgeek01 Avatar
110 months ago
The best fix is to buy a 3rd party 4K display.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

Apple Vision Pro 2 Feature 2

Apple Reportedly Suspends Work on Vision Pro 2

Tuesday June 18, 2024 8:17 am PDT by
Apple has suspended work on the second-generation Vision Pro headset to singularly focus on a cheaper model, The Information reports. Apple was widely believed to have plans to divide its Vision product line into two models, with one "Pro" model and one lower-cost standard model. The company is said to have been deprioritizing the next Vision Pro headset over the past year, gradually...
apple watch series 9 display

Kuo: Apple Watch Series 10 to Get Larger Screen and Thinner Design

Monday June 17, 2024 1:20 am PDT by
This year's Apple Watch Series 10 will be thinner and come in larger screen sizes than previous models, according to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. In his latest industry note -10-and-98075c44ce92">shared on Medium, Kuo said the screen size options on the next-generation Apple Watch will increase from 41mm to 45mm, and from 45mm to 49mm, while being encased in a thinner design. For reference,...
2022 back to school apple feature

Apple's 2024 Back to School Sale Launching This Week

Monday June 17, 2024 12:27 pm PDT by
Apple will launch its annual Back to School promotion for university students in the United States and Canada this week, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. Apple's back to school sales provide students with a free Apple gift card when purchasing a Mac or an iPad, and this year's promotion could help Apple push the new M2 iPad Air and M4 iPad Pro models. Last year, Apple offered U.S....
Apple Pay Later feature 1

Apple Discontinuing Apple Pay Later

Monday June 17, 2024 11:44 am PDT by
Apple is discontinuing Apple Pay Later, the buy now, pay later feature that it just launched last October. Apple Pay Later is being discontinued as of today, but people who have existing Apple Pay Later loans will be able to continue to pay them off and manage them through the Wallet app. Apple announced plans to end the feature in a statement provided to 9to5Mac, which also notes that...
iOS 18 CarPlay Feature

iOS 18 Adds These 5 New Features to CarPlay

Thursday June 13, 2024 7:44 am PDT by
Apple did not mention CarPlay during its WWDC keynote this week, but iOS 18 includes a handful of new features for the in-car software. Overall, there is not a whole lot new for CarPlay on iOS 18, with changes seemingly limited to the Messages and Settings apps so far. Below, we recap everything new for CarPlay on iOS 18. New for CarPlay on iOS 18 1. Contact Photos in Messages App...
iPod Nano vs iPod Pro Ad Feature 1

Apple Developing Thinner MacBook Pro, Apple Watch, and iPhone

Monday June 17, 2024 2:22 am PDT by
Apple intends to slim down the MacBook Pro, Apple Watch, and iPhone, with the new ultra-thin M4 iPad Pro a sign of the company's new design trajectory, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. When the M4 iPad Pro was unveiled last month, Apple touted it as the company's thinnest product ever, and even compared it to the 2012 iPod nano to emphasize its slim dimensions. Writing in the latest ...
watchOS 11 Thumb 2 1

watchOS 11 Supports Automatic Nap Detection

Monday June 17, 2024 4:05 pm PDT by
watchOS 11 appears to include a new feature that allows an Apple Watch to automatically detect and record when you're taking a nap. As shared on Reddit, an Apple Watch owner took a nap and was able to see the sleep data recorded in the Health app, despite not putting the device in Sleep Mode. Right now, the Apple Watch only tracks and records sleep when it is in Sleep Mode, and there is no...