Some secondary display products no longer work on macOS 10.13.4, including all products using DisplayLink technology like USB docks and graphics adapters, and all apps which enable using a tablet as a second monitor. It’s unclear if Apple will be providing fixes. The only available solution currently is to disable updates and stay on macOS 10.13.3.
Update: May 1, 2018
DisplayLink released an update on this issue; click the link to read their full statement: “Our team has made some solid progress towards finding a solution which would restore extended display support in a future release of macOS. We are still unable to provide a timeframe or a date for release of this solution.
Meanwhile, we have been developing a partial workaround solution which would add one extended USB display (up to 1080p) on macOS 10.13.4. We are aiming to release a preview version of this driver in around 7 to 10 days. The precise date depends on how the solution performs under deeper and wider testing, and how long it takes to resolve remaining issues. We expect the driver to enable one extended 1080p screen, and one cloned screen connected to a DisplayLink device. There may be some other functional limitations.”
Update: April 26, 2018
DisplayLink released an update on this issue; click the link to read their full statement: “DisplayLink has committed significant resources to finding a way to restore extended mode display support in a future release of macOS. We have made solid progress towards identifying a solution, however our team needs to complete more work before we can communicate a release plan for a driver that will restore extended mode displays.”
While this is potentially encouraging news, no further details or timeline are provided. (DisplayLink has not shared any additional details with Plugable at this point.)
Recently we wrote that the beta version of the next release of macOS, version 10.13.4, would cause USB video adapters and USB docking stations based on DisplayLink technology to stop working. This only affects Mac users, it does not affect those running Windows or Chrome OS.
Apple released the final version of 10.13.4 in the evening of 3/29/2018 and unfortunately the problem has not been fixed. If a system is updated to the final public release of macOS 10.13.4, all graphics devices which aren’t directly controlled by the system’s graphics processor or AirPlay will stop working.
As a result we strongly recommend that any Plugable customer using a DisplayLink-based product not update to 10.13.4. For advanced users, reinstalling macOS 10.13.3 and the necessary DisplayLink drivers should restore functionality. However, this is a time-consuming, complex process that isn’t for everyone.
To disable automatic update to 10.13.4, uncheck the two highlighted boxes in the screenshot below. The boxes to uncheck (disable) are “Download updates in background” and “Install macOS updates” These are found in the “App Store” portion of “System Preferences” within macOS.
Once a Mac is on macOS 10.13.4 it is a technically difficult process to return the system to 10.13.3. Here are some options:
- Revert to earlier version (Apple support)
- Re-install from recovery environment (Apple Support)
- Time Machine and other options
Are docks from other brands affected by this OS update?
Yes, all brands of USB docking stations which use DisplayLink chips and drivers are affected. This includes Dell, Lenovo, Toshiba, Targus, Kensington, Anker, StarTech, etc. Regardless of brand, if the dock uses DisplayLink technology for graphics output, it will no longer function as expected after updating to macOS 10.13.4.
Has Apple permanently disabled DisplayLink Support?
Not that we know of, but they’ve not made any statements on timeframe or commitment to fix.
What is DisplayLink doing?
While the primary issue is out of DisplayLink’s hands, DisplayLink has released a beta driver version 4.3 that will allow DisplayLink-powered displays to function in what is known as ‘clone’ mode.
When using clone mode, the image from the primary display (either an internal laptop display or an external display connected to a built-in video output not using DisplayLink technology) is ‘cloned’ to the DisplayLink-powered display. This will happen transparently and there will be no ability to control this behavior via the ‘Displays’ preference pane. The resolution of the DisplayLink-powered displays will match that of the primary and will scale and/or letterbox as necessary.
The beta driver (version 4.3) can be downloaded from DisplayLink directly here -> http://www.displaylink.com/downloads/macos
Is there a way for users or organizations to request that Apple fix the issue?
For those with an Apple developer ID, DisplayLink suggests reporting the issue to Apple, referencing existing bug ID #37385102 to help raise the priority of the issue:
Is this a temporary or permanent situation?
We don’t know. We understand that the current situation will be extremely frustrating for our customers. We are taking every step we can with DisplayLink and Apple. We will update this blog post with updates as we have them.
Are there any other options to add additional displays to my 10.13.4 Mac?
It depends. Without the ability to use virtual graphics technologies like DisplayLink and others, Mac systems are limited to either the number of monitors natively supported by their system’s graphics adapter (“GPU”) or the number of display outputs on their system, whichever is lower. We’ve written a blog post with an overview of how many monitors are supported by each type of USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 Mac system and information on how that can be accomplished, along with additional details about options for legacy MacBooks with USB 3.0/USB-A and Thunderbolt 2 ports.
If you have any additional questions, please let us know in the comments below.