Category Archives: Mac

Does OS X 10.9 Mavericks log you out of your session?

We do not recommend USB graphics solutions on OS X 10.9 Mavericks, because of compatibility breaks in OS X after 10.8.5. This unfortunately, has yet to be fixed. But it does work for some cases on 10.9.x, and we have had some die hard customers (including myself) using it daily. But lately there has been a strange and frustrating new problem. It seemed like the operating system would suddenly kick the user out of the session. All the work was lost, and there you were, sitting in front of the log-in screen scratching your head, wondering what happened.

This is a manifestation of the window server crashing which in the past would have all displays repeatedly go black/blank while the window server restarts but would still deem the system unusable.

After digging on various forums for answers why the window server would crash on Mavericks, a suggestion was made to disable certain animations. This forum post was of great help and it turns out if you disable “opening and closing windows and popovers” you severely limit the chances of your window server crashing while using DisplayLink products. To disable this feature, do the following:

  1. Open the terminal
  2. Run the following command:

    defaults write -g NSAutomaticWindowAnimationsEnabled -bool false

  3. Reboot

And that’s it. This is what it took to eliminate the windows server from crashing for our customers and myself. If you still experience crashes like these after running this command you can go down the list of the forum post and disable other features of animations such as “smooth scrolling”, “showing and hiding sheets, resizing preference windows, zooming windows” and “opening and closing Quick Look windows”.

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Plugable Launches Small, Durable USB to Audio Adapter for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Chromebook Systems

The new Plugable USB Audio Adapter is a compact, effortless solution for adding an external audio interface to nearly any computer or tablet. The adapter has separate standard 3.5mm receptacles for stereo headphones and microphones. It lets you easily USB enable your favorite analog headset or headphones, so you don’t need to compromise to get USB connectivity back to your PC.

This can be used to bypass or replace a faulty sound card or audio port. It can be left connected to a USB hub or docking station to add convenient, easy-to-reach audio jacks — saving stress on the audio ports on your computer. The adapter body is lightweight and durable with its black anodized metal body.

The adapter is compatible with Windows, Linux, Mac OS X and Chromebook systems with a free full-sized USB port. No drivers are necessary as the adapter’s C-Media CM108 chip exposes the standard and widely supported USB Audio class.

Just plug in the adapter, select it as your default output and input device for instant audio playback. Note that most operating systems support multiple audio outputs, but only allow a single one to be enabled at a time. So this manual step of selecting the right audio output from the operating system’s built-in audio control panel is essential.

This audio adapter really shines with custom Linux development boards like the Raspberry Pi, Beaglebone Black, and other unique scenarios such as a “Hackintosh” setup where the on-board audio devices don’t have Mac drivers.

Any questions? Feel free to comment below or email us at support@plugable.com. We’re happy to help.

Thanks for going out of your way for our broad line of Plugable products!

Plugable USB Audio Adapter with 3.5mm Speaker/Headphone and Microphone Jacks (Black Aluminum; C-Medi... Product Details
$9.95
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Plugable’s new USB “On The Go” MicroSD reader

A compact solution to access MicroSD cards from both standard and micro ports. Plugable’s new USB2-OTGTF is designed to make life easier for digital denizens by enabling access to a MicroSD card from as many devices as possible.

Just insert your microSD card as shown here, and connect to an available USB 2.0 “A” or “MicroB” port.
sdinsert_animated

Many, if not most, portable devices today support inserting a MicroSDHC (up to 32GB) card directly, via the OTGTF’s USB 2.0 A, or USB 2.0 “Micro B” connectors.

The USB-OTGTF’s compact design and flexible make it a great solution if you’ve ever:

  • Been frustrated waiting for a long sync to your device to complete
  • Wanted a way to take more of your media collection with you
  • Struggled with how to get a photo, long complex password, or some other data from one device to another.

3-plugged to phone
If you have an Android device without a MicroSD slot but need a way to increase your device’s storage capacity, check our post on OTG Host and USB mass storage support for Android. Regardless of OS, up to 32GB additional storage is available using this adapter — MicroSDXC cards above 32 GB are *not* supported.

We’ve even made the packaging easy to open — no blister pack or knife here — just pop open the corner of the plastic, like a tupperware, as shown below:
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“Many devices today…” So what doesn’t work?

Customers are often surprised when they find a USB port on their device won’t work with a certain device– especially so when the device is a simple flash drive or card reader. Apple’s popular iOS, and any iPads, iPhones, or iPods simply don’t support USB storage devices, and simply won’t work with this adapter.

Android device support will be hit-or-miss on devices running Android 4.x.x. Older Android 2.x and 3.x devices are unlikely to support USB mass storage, although a few devices may work. This is because not every Android device supports the two USB standard device classes needed:

  1. Support for USB “OTG” host mode
  2. Support for USB Mass Storage class devices

Each Android device maker gets to customize the exact version of Android they distribute, so some devices will have support for accessing data on USB storage devices, and others will not. Some manufacturers have chosen not to support USB storage. When that happens, there are a few options for adding this support via applications, or, for very advanced or adventurous users, to install a version of android that does support USB storage on their device.

The good news is that many popular Android devices do support USB storage devices. When a device fully supports USB mass storage, it will pop up a notification when a storage device is attached– typically noting the “mount point” where you can navigate using your file manager of choice. If your device doesn’t “just work” with a USB storage device, read our post on adding USB OTG and MicroSD support to Android devices.

“Just Works” with all Windows devices

And, of course, if you have a Windows Tablet with either a standard “A” or “Micro-B” OTG port (like the Dell Venue 8 Pro), you know it will always work as support for USB storage devices is built into all versions of Windows (since XP).

Where to Buy

Plugable USB2-OTGTF Phone | Laptop | Tablet MicroSD Card Reader... Product Details
$9.95

Have any questions at all? Please feel free to comment below. We’re happy to help!

Plugable Launches New USB 3.0 Switch for Sharing a Device or Hub Between Two Computers

For several years, thousands of customers have enjoyed the functionality and flexibility of our best-selling USB 2.0 switch to share a device (or hub full of devices) between two PCs. For most simple, low-bandwidth devices such as a keyboard, mouse, or printer, the USB 2.0 switch is still an excellent, cost-effective choice.

To meet the needs of our customers who wish to switch a device or hub that benefits from the increased bandwidth of USB 3.0 such as our various USB 3.0 display adapters or our USB3-HUB7-81X seven-port USB 3.0 hub, Plugable is excited to announce the launch of the next generation USB 3.0 member of our switching family, the USB3-SWITCH2.

One of the most popular scenarios we envision with this device is connecting our UD-3900 docking station with attached displays, keyboard, and mouse to the USB 3.0 switch, allowing for switched access to the dock, monitor(s), and peripherals between multiple systems – an all-USB KVM of sorts. In an age where many of us have a combination of devices such as a home laptop and another for work, a laptop and Windows tablet, or a desktop PC and a laptop, switched device access can save time, desk space, and clutter.

Aside from USB 3.0 graphics adapters, the type of device that benefits most from the increased bandwidth of USB 3.0 is external mass storage devices. Given the way the switching process works (in practice the switch is essentially unplugging the device from one system, and plugging in into another), we suggest that USB 3.0 storage devices remain directly attached to a USB port on the PC rather than the switch. A dedicated, non-switched USB connection for the storage device will minimize the risk of accidentally switching the device without cleanly ejecting/unmounting it first. For additional information regarding switching and storage devices, please check out the FAQ on our product page: USB3-SWITCH2 FAQ

As with all of our products, the USB3-SWITCH2 is available at Amazon.com. If you have any questions about its functionality or have trouble getting things set up (or if you just want to share a photo of how you’ve got things setup with the switch at your home or office), please contact us at support@plugable.com. We’re here to help!

Where to Buy

Plugable USB 3.0 Switch for One-Button Swapping of USB Device/Hub Between Two Computers... Product Details
$29.95

Plugable Launches New 10-Port USB Hub Family

Plugable has had the top-selling 10-port USB 2.0 hub on Amazon for over 3 years — much of that time in the “top 100″ of all electronics. And over that period, we made many large and small improvements responding to customer feedback.

That’s made the Plugable USB2-HUB10S a proven, rock-solid solution for giving your USB-capable computer additional USB ports. It will work with any Windows, Mac, or Linux computer along with many game consoles, wireless routers, and other devices that have a USB port and support USB hubs.

Today, we’re building on this solid foundation by adding a higher-end USB 2.0 model with extra charging features. The Plugable USB2-HUB10C2 uses the same Terminus Technology FE 1.1s chip in our popular 4-port charging hub to support extra charging features on the two swivel ports. It upgrades the power supply to a high-quality 5V 4A model — the same used on our top-selling $109 USB 3.0 universal docking station. Charging rates are device dependent, so make sure to check our charging rates table for this model before purchase. This is a great solution for iOS and Android users with PCs or Macs who want both connectivity and charging of devices in a single hub, along with lots of extra USB ports for other devices.

Even more exciting is we’ve brought this same 10 port design to USB 3.0, for making the most of all your high-performance USB 3.0 devices. Over the past few years, with updates to chips, firmware, and the various operating systems, USB 3.0 has become mature. Our new Plugable USB3-HUB10C2 uses the same VIA VL812 Rev B2 chips and 9000 series firmware as our top-selling USB 3.0 7 port hub to deliver no-compromise compatibility with USB hosts and devices for all operating systems. It’s also fully backward compatible with USB 2.0 and 1.1. It includes a beefy 12V 4A power supply (with step-down in the hub to USB’s 5V).

For charging, there are some compromises with these USB 3.0 chips and firmware — devices will charge at maximum rate only when the PC is off or not connected. Our hub supports this feature on the two swivel charging ports. Again, see our charging rates table for this model for more details.

We’re very excited to have these 3 great options to cover the full range of USB hub needs with proven components. Today, these hubs are available on Amazon.com, and over the next few weeks will be available throughout Europe, UK, Canada, and Japan.

There is much more detail on each product pages and throughout the site. Any questions? Please feel free to comment below or email support@plugable.com. We’re happy to help!

Plugable USB 2.0 10-Port High Speed Hub with 12.5W Power Adapter and Two Flip-Up Ports (Terminus Tec... Product Details
$24.95

Plugable USB 2.0 10-Port Hub With Two Flip-Up Charging Ports (20W Power Adapter)... Product Details
$35.00

Plugable USB 3.0 SuperSpeed 10-Port Hub with Two Flip-Up Ports and 48W Power Adapter (VIA VL812 Rev ... Product Details
$49.95

DisplayLink Releases Version 2.1 Driver for Mac OS X

There have been many multi-monitor regressions from OS X 10.8.5 to 10.9, and USB graphics has been significantly impacted.

Part of the confusion is not knowing which new problems are fixable by DisplayLink and which ones will require waiting for the next point releases by Apple.

We have a clearer picture of that now with DisplayLink’s version 2.1 driver final release. A number of things are greatly improved, including a fix for the new performance problems on 10.9 — performance is now back up to 10.8.5 levels.

However, we’re still recommending that anyone on 10.8.5 with a multiple-monitor setup, stay there until Apple has a chance to get out some point releases. In particular, multi-monitor setups of many types are losing configuration, often on sleep. And virtual graphics drivers like DisplayLink aren’t working for 2 or more displays. Both of these problems are new for 10.9.

See the comments on our original 10.9 multi-mon post for different problems reported by customers with DisplayLink and non-DisplayLink hardware. DisplayLink lists the 10.9 issues they’re aware of in the DisplayLink KB article for OS X 10.9.

So, progress .. but for most 3+ monitor users, 10.9 is still not workable. So we can’t recommend any of our Plugable brand products with DisplayLink for Mac, unfortunately. We’ll update as Apple and DisplayLink put out additional point releases.

Feel free to post your experiences in the comments below — it helps everyone to have the behaviors be known. Thanks!

Before You Upgrade To Mac OS X 10.9 (“Mavericks”)

Good news: Mac OS X 10.9 is available today and for the first time, it’s a free update, so app and hardware developers will be able to start counting on Mac hardware running the latest software in general (kinda like the iOS world).

Bad News: Mac OS X versions have historically broken some percentage of 3rd party hardware, and OS X 10.9 appears to have a particularly big impact. Many hardware devices will need updated drivers for 10.9, either because the older drivers simply don’t work at all, or because they work but with new problems.

If you can, it may be better to wait for the adventurous to forge ahead and report their findings on 10.9, before taking the upgrade.

DisplayLink Based USB Products

Users with DisplayLink-based USB Docking Stations and Graphics Adapters should avoid updating to 10.9, if at all possible. See here for details.

DisplayLink-based USB devices that work well on 10.8.5 (up to 4 additional USB displays) will be broken for most uses by the 10.9 update. In particular, 2+ USB displays or any HDMI-attached displays (even non-DisplayLink) don’t work reliably because of screen configuration issues.

We don’t know when this is going to be fixed — but evidence is it will require fixes both from Apple and DisplayLink, so that will take a significant amount of time.

If you are able to stay on 10.8.5, or if you only need a single USB attached DVI/VGA monitor on 10.9, use
DisplayLink’s latest 2.1 Beta drivers.

USB Network Adapters


Mac OS X 10.9 (and 10.8.5) includes support for both the AX88772 chipset and the AX88178 chipsets in our USB 2.0 USB Ethernet adapters, and UD-160-A docking station. For these chips, we recommend first uninstalling any ASIX drivers and repairing disk permissions before upgrade to 10.9 (relying on your built-in net connection), and just plugging in to use the Apple drivers after upgrade.


For our USB 3.0 Gigabit Ethernet adapter, an updated ASIX driver is required. In addition to Mavericks support, compatibility issues with Android File Transfer seem to be resolved. That said, we’re seeing reports of some new problems with 10.9 and would recommend caution. For those who have already updated to 10.9, the compatible driver is available at:
the latest ASIX driver version to get 10.9 compatibility. Note that this driver does not yet have the new 10.9 signature, so you’ll also need to click ok on installing the driver unsigned.

USB Serial Adapter

The latest driver version is required to work with 10.9.

Plugable USB to RS-232 DB9 Serial Adapter

Serial devices will be automatically created (“ls /dev | grep serial”" to see them), however the network control panel in 10.9 now no longer shows serial devices as connected, even when they’re in use.

Other Devices

For all of our other devices, we’re recommending in-box drivers, or they don’t require 3rd party driver installs (hubs, cables, etc).

If you have a question about a product we didn’t mention, please feel free to comment below. We’ll get it added.

And if you hit any 10.9 upgrade problems with Plugable products, we’ll work to help. Just email support@plugable.com anytime.

Thanks!

Multiple Monitor Issues with OS X 10.9 (“Mavericks”)

OS X 10.9 (“Mavericks”) has been released today and is a free update.

But multiple monitor users should hold off – OS X 10.9 appears to break many multiple monitor setups.

At least 4 distinct issues with external displays have been duplicated on the “Golden Master” developer seed OS X 10.9. There are no known workarounds or resolutions available at this time:

  1. HDMI displays cause unexpected mirroring
  2. Display Preferences lost on reboot or hot plug
  3. A significant performance drop from 10.8.5 on USB attached displays
  4. Window server crashes

We have already created a bug report with Apple on the first issue, HDMI displays causing unexpected mirroring. However, Apple has not yet responded to it. In an effort to get more traction on this bug, we’ve created an OpenRadar bug report. We need your help to gather more information. Please leave a comment on the OpenRadar bug report with your system information and any relevant setup details.

HDMI displays cause unexpected mirroring
Apple does not make bug reports submitted to them visible to others, so we are showing that report here. Apple has not yet responded to it. This bug affects DisplayLink-based hardware (like ours), along with other HDMI setups using non-DisplayLink hardware. Because this bug report was based on testing with 10.9 preview releases, the behavior might be better or different in the final OS X 10.8 final release version.

Submitted Apple Bug Report: HDMI displays create mirror issues under 10.9 GM seed

When attaching additional displays beyond a single primary display, HDMI attached displays will override a user’s display preferences (resolution and arrangement of additional displays).

This has been tested and reproduced using both USB to HDMI adapters, Thunderbolt to HDMI adapters, and the HDMI output built-in to a current gen USB 3.0 Mini.

When using a HDMI to DVI adapter (Apple branded or 3rd party), the issue is not reproduced: the error seems to be triggered specifically by HDMI (regardless of whether the HDMI is a built-in port, a Thunderbolt to HDMI adapter or cable, or a USB to HDMI adapter.

To be clear, I AM able to use a mix of DVI or VGA attached displays without hitting this issue: the issue only occurs when attempting to add an HDMI display.

After manually disabling mirroring and arranging the displays, they will work normally- however the issue will recur on reboot and typically whenever the HDMI display is re-attached. In the case of the Thunderbolt to HDMI cable or adapter or a USB to HDMI adapter (DisplayLink 2.0 and 3.0 based), a reboot or hotplug event will “break” the non-mirrored display arrangement—although anything other than “deep” sleep does NOT. That is to say display arrangement is retained until the system reboots or enters deep sleep, or on hot-plug events.

Please note that similar issues were seen on earlier 10.9 builds, however these actually got worse on the GM seed pushed 10/7/13.

Steps to Reproduce:
1. Use a normally working 10.9 Mavericks system with built-in Thunderbolt and HDMI display outputs.
2. Attach any HDMI display via built-in HDMI port, USB to HDMI display adapter, or Thunderbolt to HDMI adapter/cable.
3. Observe that HDMI display comes up in mirror mode rather than as an extended display.
4. Disable display mirroring, arrange displays to match physical locations.
5. Reboot system: observe that display preferences are lost.

6. Repeat, substituting a DVI or VGA connection to the same HDMI display. Observe that mirror mode issue is not encountered, and that display preferences are retained up on reboot.

Expected Results:
Displays should come up in “extended” mode, regardless of how they are attached.

Actual Results:
In my testing on 3 Mavericks systems, any HDMI display comes up in mirror mode, and causes display preferences to be lost on reboot (and various other conditions previously mentioned).

Version:
OS X 10.9 (13A598)

Submitter:
Jeff Everett (support@plugable.com)

Display Preferences Lost on Reboot or Hotplug
Distinct from the issue where HDMI displays cause unexpected mirror mode configurations, display preferences like monitor arrangement, resolution, and background are almost always lost on reboot and “hotplug” events when USB display adapters are unplugged and then reconnected. This means users may have to re-configure the OS X settings relating to physical arrangement of their multi-display systems on every reboot or every time they have to disconnect/reconnect from their USB display devices.

No or Slow Rendering on USB Attached Displays
An occasional problem when running 2 or more USB attached displays is that the displays won’t update most pixels. Mouse cursor movement is visible, however any updates made by applications onscreen are not visible, leaving the external display unusable.

Window Server Crashes
Although infrequent, the window server can crash. This renders a system unusable as all displays repeatedly go black/blank while the window server restarts.

Investigation is ongoing as to whether these issues are “core” OS issues with 10.9 Mavericks or may be resolved by further updates to DisplayLink’s 2.1 beta driver. At least one issue (with HDMI displays creating unexpected mirroring) appears to be a fundamental OS X issue, as this has been reproduced on a system with no DisplayLink driver installed, using only the HDMI and Thunderbolt ports built into a late 2012 Mac Mini 6,1.

Additional details are available on DisplayLink’s “Known issues with DisplayLink on OS X 10.9 Mavericks” page, as well as in their OS X 2.1 beta driver forum.

DisplayLink Apple Mac OS X 2.1 Beta now available

DisplayLink has released a beta of their new version 2.1 drivers (Sept, 2013) for Apple Mac OS X 10.6 – 10.9.

This new 2.1 driver has many improvements over the previous Mac OS X version 2.0 drivers (March, 2013). In short, it’s a must-have install for Mac users on 10.8.5 and earlier. It supports all existing DisplayLink-based USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 adapters and docks, including Plugable’s. And it’s a first step towards 10.9 support.

Here are the details.

Limited support for OS X Mavericks (10.9)

Mavericks requires updated USB graphics drivers. 2.1 is the first version from DisplayLink with support for 10.9. However, it is very rough support, with a long list of limitations, detailed below.

Once Apple and DisplayLink have further updates leading up to the release of 10.9, Apple multi-monitor enthusiasts will have a lot of improvements to look forward to, in terms of improved multi-monitor support. From Apple’s OS X Mavericks page:

There’s no longer a primary or secondary display — now each has its own menu bar, and the Dock is available on whichever screen you’re working on. You can have multiple app windows running on either display. Or run an app full screen on each one. Even show a desktop on one display and a full-screen app on another.

Support for Dual Head Docks

DisplayLink 2.1 supports the latest firmware configuration format for the latest docks and adapters, and adds support for the new Plugable UD-3900 docking station, offering dual HDMI/DVI display outputs as well as ethernet input, 2 USB 3.0 ports, and 4 USB 2.0 ports.

Ethernet bug fixes

The DisplayLink Mac 2.0 driver was the first to offer support for the DL3500 chip’s ethernet functionality. This initial release revealed a few wonky issues with ethernet on our USB 3.0 DisplayLink based product, like the Plugable UD-3000 docking station. Most common was the issue of network disconnections- where the network cable would show being unplugged even when it was actually connected.

DisplayLink 2.1 resolves all known instances of these problems, allowing you to surf in peace.

What limitations and problems remain on Mac?

For technical users on OS X seeking to maximize workspace and productivity, DisplayLink’s 2.1 driver is a big step forward. However, there are still important issues to consider:

  1. Mac OS X will not support USB 3.0 audio until 10.8.5 / 10.9. Until then, audio on a dock or display will not work when connected via USB 3.0. This is an Apple limitation. Fortunately, Apple’s support for this is coming soon.
  2. Mavericks 10.9 breaks existing USB graphics drivers. While this version 2.1 driver has some early support for 10.9, there are still many issues remaining. DisplayLink calls out these issues:
    • Screen corruption and layout issues when adding more than one additional DisplayLink monitor.
    • Some applications using single buffer rendering may flicker on DisplayLink monitor.
    • Scrolling pages in Safari may cause corruption on DisplayLink screen.
    • Playing movie in QuickTime may cause the title bar to flicker.
    • Fast user switching may not work correctly when using DisplayLink monitors.
    • Sometimes rotating one DisplayLink monitor rotates a different display.
    • Sometimes when DisplayLink monitor is set as primary after waking up from sleep it is disconnected and there is no login screen visible.
    • Corruption on the screen may be visible while rotating DisplayLink displays.

    In short, until DisplayLink and Apple have further updates for 10.9, DisplayLink users should avoid the upgrade to 10.9 if possible.

  3. DisplayLink’s OS X 2.1 driver relies on system CPU and not GPU processing, so the video and application-specific notes in our previous blog post, DisplayLink USB Graphics and OS X Limitations, remain relevant.

The bottom line is that DisplayLink 2.1 fixes a number of larger bugs relating to ethernet and dual display outputs under OS X 10.8 “Mountain Lion” and provides initial support for OS X 10.9 “Mavericks”. This makes our USB 3.0 docking station products a whole lot better on OS X. Just keep in mind that this is still in beta, and it may introduce its own little quirks.

Additional details and the driver .dmg download are here:
DisplayLink 2.1 OS X Beta Forum.

We’re here to help and we welcome your questions. Email support@plugable.com anytime, or just comment below. Thanks for going out of your way for Plugable products!

Plugable UD-3900 USB 3.0 SuperSpeed Universal Docking Station with Dual Video Outputs for Windows 8.... Product Details
$109.00

Plugable UD-3000 USB 3.0 SuperSpeed Universal Docking Station for Windows 8.1, 8, 7, XP (HDMI and DV... Product Details
$89.00

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DisplayLink Graphics, Ethernet, and Audio Limitations on OS X 10.8.4

Plugable uses DisplayLink chips in all our USB 3.0 universal docking stations and graphics devices. DisplayLink’s chip and drivers can provide an extra display or two, along with audio and networking ports, all via one USB cable. For users seeking an affordable way to expand their Mac, this can both simplify connecting everything and increase the number of devices you are able to use – especially for thin and light Macs and MacBooks with few expansion ports.

Unfortunately, at the moment there are significant limitations, especially for USB 3.0, that will require fixes from both Apple and DisplayLink to solve. We list these limitations and known workarounds below.

Click the categories listed to the right to skip ahead for the status of open issues on OS X 10.8.4, however please note that older OS X versions may have different and unique issues as described below.

OS X Versions

Because of important Apple fixes in 10.8.3 that solve login screen problems and others, applying all available OS X updates prior to installation is recommended. OS X versions 10.8.1 and 10.8.2 are not supported, and must be updated before driver installation.

The latest updates for of 10.6 Snow Leopard and 10.7 Lion are also required for installation.

Older OS X versions such as 10.5 Leopard and 10.4 Tiger have a totally different beta-quality driver which is no longer supported: as a result, we do not recommend our USB display adapters for Macs running these OS X versions.

Audio

UPDATE: As of OS X 10.8.5, audio is working well over both USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 connections.

As of 10.8.4, OS X does not support USB 3.0 audio, so connecting via USB 2.0 instead of USB 3.0 is the only way to use the audio features on devices like the Plugable UD-3000 docking station or USB3-HDMI-DVI graphics adapter.

This issue is due to Apple not yet having a USB 3.0 audio class driver in OS X. However, we have reason to believe OS X update 10.8.5 may add this support. Resolution of this issue is dependent on future Apple OS X updates, so we cannot estimate a timeframe to resolve this issue.

If audio is important, our UD-160-A Universal Docking Station avoids this issue, since it is USB 2.0 only.

Ethernet

For our USB 3.0 DisplayLink based products with Ethernet, like our Plugable UD-3000 docking station, there are special USB Ethernet issues on OS X. To date, we are aware of two issues:

  1. IPv6 related kernel panics on OS X 10.8.4 (workaround available below).
  2. Network disconnects on OS X 10.8.x (ethernet detected as unplugged even when connected, or no network access when a valid IP is reported).

To date, all cases of IPv6 related kernel panics have been resolved by disabling IPv6 support only for the UD-3000′s ethernet port using the following command at a terminal window:

networksetup -setv6off "Plugable UD-3000"

For the command to complete, an administrative users password must be entered.

If you are experiencing issues where your UD-3000′s ethernet network connection is plugged in, however the connection is listed as cable unplugged in Network Preferences, please submit the output from the DisplayLink support tool, available here:

DisplayLink Support Tool

Video

For basic use scenarios like working with documents, web browsing, managing media libraries, or even streaming video, most users shouldn’t see any issues – however it is important to note some expected limitations of USB graphics devices. On OS X, any displays that aren’t “traditionally” attached via DisplayPort or Thunderbolt, users should be aware that a systems GPU will NOT be available to the USB attached displays. Since USB attached displays are reliant on CPU power alone, any additional load on the system (running additional programs, etc) may reduce video performance.

For a real world example, it is entirely reasonable to expect that a system would have enough CPU power to drive a USB attached display, and to update it quickly enough to reveal no issues when simply streaming video from YouTube or Netflix. If the same system is also running other CPU intensive processes (things like video editing, working with large 3d CAD files, or gaming) the performance on the USB attached display might drop- even when the “traditionally” attached displays are running well thanks to their access to the system’s GPU. This is why we recommend USB graphics only for “productivity” and “light video” usage on secondary (not primary) monitors. For a list of specific known issues and available workarounds, read on.

Some other specific issues arising from this limitation are:

  1. Disabling hardware acceleration in both Firefox and Chrome is sometimes necessary to avoid issues with mouse cursor lag or with items being rendered in odd shapes/sizes onscreen. For instructions on disabling hardware acceleration, go here.
  2. Using a USB attached display as the primary is neither supported or recommended – although users can avoid most issues with this scenario by using Spotlight to launch applications instead of Launchpad.  For further details click here.
  3. “Coherence mode” in Parallels 8 will not work when a DisplayLink adapter is in use, although it does after unplugging the adapter.
  4. Full screen video does not work in Adobe CS6 applications when USB displays are attached. Removing the USB display devices will allow this feature to work.
  5. Safari’s frequently visited sites new tab screen may flicker on USB attached displays.  Using Chrome or Firefox with GPU acceleration disabled is a recommended workaround.
  6. CoverFlow view in finder may flicker on USB attached displays.
  7. HDCP is not supported. While Netflix works in a Chrome browser window- so trying other applications may help in case of HDCP related playback issues- applications like iTunes that require HDCP will fail on USB attached displays..


Disabling Hardware Acceleration in web browsers on OS X
Because USB attached displays cannot benefit from the system GPU hardware for graphics acceleration, disabling these features in web browsers used on USB attached displays will actually improve performance. We’ve seen noticeable differences doing this in both Chrome and Firefox. Safari does not have global options to disable hardware acceleration, so using other browsers on USB attached displays is recommended.

To disable hardware acceleration in Chrome:

  1. Open Chrome preferences by using the keyboard combination “Command” (AKA Windows) key + , (comma).  Alternatively, from the menu bar for chrome, select preferences, as pictured here:chrome preferences
  2. Next, scroll to the very bottom of the preferences page.  Find and select “show advanced settings” as shown to the right.  More options will be revealed:chrome advanced settings
  3. Scroll to the bottom of the newly revealed settings, and uncheck the box pictured below to disable hardware acceleration:Chrome HWA
  4. Last but not least, restart chrome to apply the changes (close and re-open the application, or click the pictured option to “restart” Chrome.chrome restart

To disable hardware acceleration in FireFox:

  1. Use the keyboard combination “Command” or “Windows” key and , (comma) to launch FireFox preferences. Alternatively, select preferences from the FireFox menu bar as shown here:firefox preferences
  2. Click the gear icon to access the “Advanced Settings” for Firefox, then make sure the hardware acceleration option is de-selected as shown below:disable HWA firefox


Using an external display as primary on OS X
The only recommended method for using an external display as primary on OS X (using an external monitor for your menu bar, dock, and core OS X features like Launchpad) is to use a display output built in to your Mac or MacBook.  Setting a USB attached display as primary is neither supported nor recommended.

This is because LaunchPad may have substantial delays when used on a USB attached display set as the primary display. For MacBook owners, this means that whatever display you want to use to launch programs in LaunchPad MUST be attached using one of the DisplayPort or Thunderbolt outputs on your Mac for normal operation.  

While it is possible to use several external displays on OS X (as this user photo shows, there are several limits on the USB attached displays that are not present on the “traditionally” attached displays)- keep this in mind when designing your workspace. 


Have questions, or an issue that you don’t see listed here?  Please let us know – email support@plugable.com anytime, and we welcome your comments below. Thanks!