Plugable DisplayLink Products and macOS 11 Big Sur, macOS 10.15 Catalina and macOS 10.4 Mojave

SUMMARY: Plugable does not yet officially support using our DisplayLink-based products with macOS. However, we want to provide background information and guidance to our customers who wish to use their Plugable DisplayLink-based products with Mac systems running macOS 11 Big Sur, macOS 10.15 Catalina, or macOS 10.14 Mojave.

On Thursday, November 12th, 2020 Apple released the macOS 11 Big Sur operating system for supported Apple laptop and desktop systems. With this release we expect that many of our customers using a Mac in conjunction with our DisplayLink-based products (such as the UD-3900 and our other UD-series docking stations) will update to this new version.

While Plugable does not yet officially support the use of our USB video adapters or USB docking stations based on DisplayLink technology with macOS, our DisplayLink-based products can be made to work with macOS 11. Based on our internal testing, testing from DisplayLink, and user feedback, the newest DisplayLink drivers and Big Sur provide a positive user experience (though there are a couple of features like screen rotation and “clamshell mode” we hope to see enabled with future macOS and/or DisplayLink driver updates). We will continue to test and validate performance on Big Sur when we receive our new MacBooks based on the new “Apple Silicon” M1 CPU architecture in the coming weeks, and as always we deeply appreciate any user feedback as well.

As of this writing, there are two different versions of the macOS driver that have been released by DisplayLink (the separate company that makes the primary chip within our DisplayLink-based products, and who also develops the software driver).

A ‘legacy’ version which uses a kernel extension in order to provide its functionality, and a newer ‘DisplayLink Manager Graphics Connectivity’ App which utilizes a new architecture that does not rely on a kernel extension to provide its functionality:


DisplayLink Manager Graphics Connectivity App version 1.1.0 –> Link
(compatible with macOS Catalina 10.15 and macOS 11 Big Sur)

This is the recommended version, however please see the comparison table below for important information

Installation instructions –> Link


Legacy kernel extension driver version 5.2.5 –> Link
(compatible with macOS Mojave 10.14 and macOS Catalina 10.15)

The legacy version is only recommended for those users running macOS Mojave 10.14 and macOS Catalina 10.15 and who are not planning to upgrade to a newer version of macOS. Please see the comparison table below for important information about certain limitations

Installation instructions –> Link


Driver comparison

The choice of which driver to use is ultimately determined by one’s OS version and individual specific requirements, since each version offers different capabilities and operating system compatibility. We have provided a comparison table below that highlights their differences in an effort to help our customers make an informed decision.

macOS DisplayLink Driver Type Comparison Table

New DisplayLink Manager Graphics Connectivity App ‘Legacy’ DisplayLink driver
Supported operating system versions macOS 10.15 Catalina and macOS 11 Big Sur macOS 10.14 Mojave and macOS 10.15 Catalina
Ease of installation Straightforward Can sometimes be more difficult, as compared to the new App
Supports closed-display mode (aka clamshell mode -> https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201834 ) No Yes
Supports display ‘rotation’ No with macOS 10.15 Catalina
Yes with macOS 11 Big Sur on Intel-based systems
No with macOS 11 Big Sur on Apple CPU-based systems
Yes
Supports macOS ‘Login screen’ Yes, with additional ‘Login screen’ application installation Yes
Manageability Via DisplayLink icon within the Apple Menu bar No management application
Development status Actively being developed Being phased out due to changes within macOS

Summary

Plugable does not officially support the use of our DisplayLink-based products with the Mac platform, however they can be made to work with some limitations. There are two different versions of the macOS DisplayLink driver, each with different functionality and operating system version compatibility. While not yet officially supported, we want to provide background and context to our customers using our DisplayLink-based products with the Mac with regard to the different driver versions available and their respective capabilities.

If you are using a Plugable branded DisplayLink-based product with macOS and are having problems getting things working, please keep the Plugable product connected to your system (even though not working as expected) 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. Also, please feel free to share your experiences in the comments below!

4 comments on “Plugable DisplayLink Products and macOS 11 Big Sur, macOS 10.15 Catalina and macOS 10.4 Mojave”

  1. Vincent Reply

    Hi Team,

    Do you have any idea if your docking station will allow more than 1 display on the Macbook with an M1 processor chip?

    • Bob Boerner Reply

      Hi Vincent,

      As of today we have not tested the new Apple Mac systems with an M1 processor, so unfortunately we cannot answer your question at this time. We will be posting more updates on this topic as we have more information to share.

      • Bob Boerner Reply

        Thanks for sharing the video Jean. As we mention in our blog post, DisplayLink-based devices can be made to work with a Mac however this is not something Plugable supports. While we appreciate the demonstration shown in the video, we wanted to make mention again here in the comments in order to set honest expectations.

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