Plugable DisplayLink products and macOS Catalina 10.15

SUMMARY: Users updating their Apple Mac system from macOS Mojave 10.14 to macOS Catalina 10.15 can experience problems with Plugable products based on DisplayLink technology not working. Plugable does not officially support using our DisplayLink products with macOS, however we want to provide some background information and a procedure that can potentially get things working again.

** Update 12/3/2019 – With the latest update to the DisplayLink macOS driver, the ‘additional’ instructions provided by DisplayLink on their support site (to be executed within Recovery Mode) that were required in some instances should no longer be necessary, and as a result DisplayLink has removed the information from their website. We have kept the information within the blog post for historical reference, but have struck it through to indicate it is no longer required. **

On Monday, October 7th Apple released macOS Catalina 10.15 for supported laptop and desktop systems. As with any other major operating system update, there is also the possibility for existing peripherals and applications to not work as expected.

We speak to some of these issues in recent blog posts:

BIG CHANGES UNDER THE HOOD IN MACOS 10.15 CATALINA

PLUGABLE MICROSCOPE NOT WORKING AFTER MACOS 10.15 CATALINA? WE CAN HELP!

USB ETHERNET ADAPTER NOT WORKING AFTER MACOS CATALINA 10.15 UPDATE? WE CAN HELP!

In this post we want to speak to how macOS Catalina affects Plugable products that use DisplayLink USB video technology, which at present include the following products:

UD-6950 Docking Station – https://plugable.com/products/ud-6950
UD-5900 Docking Station – https://plugable.com/products/ud-5900
UD-3900 Docking Station – https://plugable.com/products/ud-3900
UD-3900H Docking Station – https://plugable.com/products/ud-3900h
UD-6950H Docking Station – https://plugable.com/products/ud-6950h
UD-ULTCDL Docking Station – https://plugable.com/products/ud-ultcdl
UD-ULTC4K Docking Station – https://plugable.com/products/ud-ultc4k
UD-PRO8 Docking Station – https://plugable.com/products/ud-pro8
USBC-6950-DP Display Adapter – https://plugable.com/products/usbc-6950-dp
USBC-6950-HDMI Display Adapter – https://plugable.com/products/usbc-6950-hdmi
USB3-6950-DP Display Adapter – https://plugable.com/products/usb3-6950-dp
USB3-6950-HDMI Display Adapter – https://plugable.com/products/usb3-6950-hdmi
UGA-4KDP Display Adapter – https://plugable.com/products/uga-4kdp
UGA-4KHDMI Display Adapter – https://plugable.com/products/uga-4khdmi
UGA-2KHDMI Display Adapter – https://plugable.com/products/uga-2khdmi
UGA-3000 Display Adapter – https://plugable.com/products/uga-3000
USB3-3900DHE Display Adapter – https://plugable.com/products/usb3-3900dhe
UGA-165 Display Adapter – https://plugable.com/products/uga-165
UGA-VGA-165 Display Adapter – https://plugable.com/products/usb-vga-165

In brief, our DisplayLink-based products can be made to work with an Apple Mac system running macOS but this is not something Plugable officially supports at this time and we do our best to call this out in our product listings.

While DisplayLink (the separate company that makes the chips used in our DisplayLink-based products and does the driver development –> https://www.displaylink.com/ ) have released driver versions that work with macOS that some have reported work with our products, this is not officially supported by Plugable.

With the recent release of macOS Catalina 10.15, Apple has made changes to the operating system that require an updated beta DisplayLink driver and a few special steps during the installation process in order for any DisplayLink-based device (Plugable brand or otherwise) to work properly.

As a courtesy we have provided detailed installation instructions (and a video walkthrough) for removing any existing DisplayLink drivers and installing an updated DisplayLink driver on a macOS Catalina 10.15 system here –> https://plugable.com/drivers/displaylink/mac/#install_catalina

* Please pay particular attention to the security processes shown in steps #11, #12 and #13 of the install guide. These need to be completed in order for the process to work.

** We have had reports that even after following the installation instructions the DisplayLink device is still not working. Should that prove to be the case, first ensure you have a full system backup using Time Machine as a precaution. Once the backup is verified, please follow the instructions provided by DisplayLink here –> https://support.displaylink.com/knowledgebase/articles/1916602-macos-catalina-10-15-screen-recording-permission

In summation, while Plugable does not officially support using our DisplayLink-based products with macOS most likely things can be made to work. Customers updating from macOS Mojave 10.14 to macOS Catalina 10.15 may see their DisplayLink device stop working. Removing any existing DisplayLink drivers and installing an updated DisplayLink beta version driver may help, and we have provided a detailed procedure for doing so.

If you are using a Plugable branded DisplayLink-based product with macOS Catalina 10.15 and are still experiencing issues using the device after having followed all of the procedures referenced above, please keep everything connected (even though not working) and send the output of our diagnostic utility PlugDebug –> http://plugable.com/support/plugdebug to us directly via support@plugable.com and we will do our best to try and help.

26 comments on “Plugable DisplayLink products and macOS Catalina 10.15”

  1. Ray Reply

    Reached out to support regarding me following the previous set of instructions, and in 24 hours I got a reply from Bob referring to this page and an additional set of instructions which needed to be applied in Recovery Mode.
    Followed the instructions, and my secondary Apple Cinema Display was brought back to life like magic!!
    Really appreciated Bob’s prompt response and pointing me in the right direction to resolve the issue after the MacOS 10.15 update.

    • Bob Boerner Reply

      Thank you for sharing your experience with our readers Ray, and thank you for the kind words they are much appreciated!

      • Bob Boerner Reply

        Hi Max,

        In the time since this post was published, DisplayLink has updated their Mac driver installation process so that the additional steps Ray mentioned (within Recovery Mode) are no longer required. The basic instructions we mention in our blog post (https://plugable.com/drivers/displaylink/mac/#install_catalina) should be sufficient to install the latest DisplayLink driver on a Mac and we have updated the post to reflect this.

        If you are using a Plugable branded DisplayLink-based product with macOS Catalina 10.15 and are still experiencing issues using the device after having followed those instructions, please keep everything connected (even though not working) and send the output of our diagnostic utility PlugDebug –> http://plugable.com/support/plugdebug to us directly via support@plugable.com and we will do our best to try and help.

  2. Anthony Reply

    I reached out to Plugable’s support team and got in contact with Pat Pennell who was super nice, understanding, and patient. I was able to get help resolving an issue with a docking station (Model UD-6950H) working with a 2015 model Mac. Plugable states that it does not officially support Mac products, but they do support their customers. The experience I had resolving this issue and others in the past with Plugable have all been very pleasant. Thank you Plugable and thank you Pat!

    • Pat Reply

      Hi Anthony,

      Thank you very much! We really appreciate your feedback and I am glad we could help you to get everything working again!

  3. Scott Reply

    Using Catalina with DisplayLink. Walked through installing the new Beta software driver, check the box for screen recording, etc. Both monitors work, but mirror each other. Can anyone help?

      • Stewart Scott Gurley Reply

        Has something changed since last week? After 2 support calls we were told to reinstall Mojave.

        • Mitchell F Reply

          Just to clarify for those who may be following this comment thread — the support calls mentioned were NOT provided through Plugable but rather one of our competitors. Plugable does not offer phone support nor do we advise our customers to roll back to macOS Mojave. Thanks!

  4. jk Reply

    Macbook Pro 2014 / MacOS Catalina 10.15.1 / Asus MB168B+ monitor.
    Uninstalled & reinstalled the DisplayLink driver about 5 times (reboot, reboot, reboot), no luck.
    System Preferences -> Privacy & Security -> Screen Recording: I didn’t have any DisplayLink option displayed.
    Browsed to
    /Library/PriviledgedHelperTools//DisplayLink
    Started DisplayLinkUserAgent.app
    And, presto, DisplayLinkUserAgent was no an option under “Screen Recording”.
    Unlock -> Check box, and it works

  5. Luan N Reply

    I follow the step but it does not work for me. I have two monitors working just fine before I upgraded to Catalina today. The model i have is UD 3900.

    Can you please help ?

    Thanks

    • Pat Reply

      Hi Luan,

      Thank you for reaching out to us through our blog post as well as through our email support! Thanks for letting me know the issue was resolved by fully removing and reinstalling the drivers using the instructions for our Mac driver page here: https://plugable.com/drivers/displaylink/mac.

      Thank you!

  6. Shri Reply

    Hello, I recently got a Mac OS 8 GB update to Catalina, and my 2 display monitors stopped working. LG (HDMI) and Dell (VGA).
    I have restarted my Mac ~10 times trying to figure this out. The keyboard,mouse and LAN connection are working fine. But the displays have stopped responding.
    Requesting your help.

    • Bob Boerner Reply

      If you are using a Plugable branded DisplayLink-based product with macOS Catalina 10.15 and are still experiencing issues using the device after having followed the courtesy installation instructions, please keep everything connected (even though not working) and send the output of our diagnostic utility PlugDebug –> http://plugable.com/support/plugdebug to us directly via support@plugable.com and we will do our best to try and help.

  7. fred Reply

    not the most tech savvy but can hold my own when i thoroughly read instructions. sometimes atypical and i just lean on my it person. but i’m trying to work through this on my own. have a macbook air 2017, installed catalina bc i read somewhere that os sierra was not supported. anyways, can’t get display link working. considering returning. but would hate to go through the hassle and really just want to make it work. thanks in advance for any assistance. i worked through each step carefully.

    • Bob Boerner Reply

      Hi Fred,

      If you are using a Plugable branded DisplayLink-based product with macOS Catalina 10.15 and are still experiencing issues using the device after having followed the courtesy installation instructions, please keep everything connected (even though not working) and send the output of our diagnostic utility PlugDebug –> http://plugable.com/support/plugdebug to us directly via support@plugable.com (along with the Amazon Order ID number for your Plugable purchase) and we will do our best to try and help.

  8. Winston Reply

    I have had the UD-3900 and the UD-3900H docking stations for years. (Same products, just vertical vs horizontal.) The 3900 is connected to two Samsung monitors via DVI to HDMI and HDMI to HDMI. The H model is connected to two BenQ montiors the same way. With my Dell XPS laptop (Windows 10) I have always had to close the lid immediately after powering it on or the screen resolutions on my external monitors might not be correct (1920×1080). This was not always immediately evident as the desktop might look correct but then the resolution of the apps when launched would be incorrect. My 2015 Macbook pro prior to the Catatlina update didn’t seem to have this behavior. I could open and close the lid at anytime and the monitor resolutions would adjust properly. However, after using the information here to get my UD-3900H working with my MacBook I noticed that only one screen would come up with the proper 1920×1080 resolution. The second screen would was a lower resolution and stretches horizontally. If I went to the monitor system preferences 1920×1080 was not available on the second monitor. However, what i realized is that the behavior of my Macbook with Catalina is now like my Windows 10 laptop. If I immediately close the lid of my Macboook after powering it on then both screen resolutions will be correct. Hopefully this simple tip helps some people.

    • Pat Reply

      Hi Winston,

      Thanks for reaching out to us! Based on your description it sounds like both Windows and macOS are attempting to mirror the computer’s built-in display to one of the external displays, as these are most likely different resolutions and the laptop/MacBook displays are likely using display scaling as well this is causing the strange scaling you are seeing on the external displays.

      For the MacBook, extending the displays instead of mirroring should resolve this issue. The displays can be extended through the System Preferences > Displays menu, when closing the lid the built-in display will be disabled and should no longer affect the external displays.

      For the Windows system, extending the displays should also resolve this, but you may need to manually disable the built-in display when the lid is closed. Extending the displays can be done by pressing and holding the Windows flag key in the lower left corner of the keyboard, then tapping the ‘P’ key and finally releasing the Windows key. This should open the Windows “Project” menu on the right side of the screen, select the “Extend” option to extend the displays.

      Next open the Display Settings window by right-clicking on the desktop and selecting “Display Settings”. This will have a diagram showing all of the displays, use the identify button to map the physical displays to the diagram and left click to select one of the external displays. Scroll down to the “Multiple displays” and check the box to “Make this my primary display”. Scroll back to the top and left click on the laptop’s built in display from the diagram then scroll back down to “Multiple displays” and select the “Disconnect this display” option from the drop down menu. Now when you close the laptop lid the external displays should look normal, when the laptop is disconnected from the docking station the built-in display will be automatically enabled and become active again.

      Please let us know if this helps to get the displays working as expected, without having to time closing the lid on startup.

      Thank you,

      Pat
      Plugable Technology
      support@plugable.com

  9. Michael Reply

    Hi Plugable community,

    I have loved the UD-ULTC4K and been pitching them to all my friends. I moved this primary laptop (MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2017)) up to latest Catalina patched version (from Mojave) 10.15.5 (19F101) and have a different problem from what I have seen described. My normal setup has two “flanking” screens that are both identified as VX2025wm (1).. so they mirror each other rather than extending the desktop like the primary display and the HDMI display (which are extending the desktop across themselves and I can access the mirrored pair of VX2025wm displays. I switched one of the VX2025wm screens for an old G218a1 screen (which is basically the same hardware) and it worked like a champ again.

    Leaving this note for two reasons.. first, it might be of interest to or something you can give me insights about (it’s trivial, but I like having the same screen, not just same resolution) on both sides. Second, it might be helpful to someone else who think’s the situation is worse than it is if they have a different model screen they can substitute and use.

    Thanks!
    Michael

    • Joshua Henry Reply

      Hi Michael! Sorry to hear about this issue with your two identical displays only mirroring. Is the option to turn off mirroring unavailable when using the two VX2025wm displays in the display settings? In some situations macOS will default to mirroring, and it just needs to be disabled manually. If you’re unable to disable the setting, we might want to get a closer look at the system to see what’s going on. If you’d like to troubleshoot, go ahead and reach out to us directly at support@plugable.com and we can request some diagnostics info. Thanks and best wishes!

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