DisplayLink Releases Updated Mac Driver (v2.4 Beta 1)

Update 11/12/2015: DisplayLink has released a new beta version driver, 2.5 beta2 in their continuing effort to improve the driver and workaround some of the limitations of Mac OS X 10.9,10.10 and 10.11 The driver links in this post have been updated to reflect the availability of this driver

Update 7/7/2015: The 2.4 code set has gone final and is no longer classified as beta! The background info in this post is still relevant, though the links will now take you to the current 2.4 release rather than the “Beta 1” release.

We regularly receive inquires from Mac users who are looking for updates regarding the compatibility of our DisplayLink-based USB docking stations and graphics adapters with Mac OS X. Progress has been slow, and there hasn’t been much substantive news to report in quite some time — until today.

imagesSome brief background for those unfamiliar with the situation: With the release of OS X 10.9 (Mavericks) almost a year and a half ago, we were disappointed to find that we could no longer recommend our DisplayLink-based docking stations and USB graphics adapters to Mac users running OS X 10.9 due to various issues introduced with the OS update. The regressions affected DisplayLink and other external display solutions (e.g. Thunderbolt to HDMI and DVI adapters; using iPads as extra displays). The 10.10 (Yosemite) update did not improve the behavior for DisplayLink devices.

Each new DisplayLink driver revision since the release of Mavericks has contained incremental improvements, though working around some of the key OS/API issues at the driver level has been a slow process.

DisplayLink has released their Version 2.4 Beta 1 Version 2.5 beta 2 driver for the Mac OS, and this release is the latest to make significant progress on some of the core issues that have been consistently present since the release of OS X 10.9.

The following are some of the most notable fixes in this release:

  • Display layout and positioning are now preserved after system reboot and sleep/wake
  • Portrait/landscape rotation orientation is correctly applied
  • Hot-plugging or unplugging a DisplayLink adapter is much less likely to cause undesirable system behavior
  • WindowServer crashing (which causes a spontaneous log-out from the OS) has been reduced
  • CPU utilization of DisplayLinkManager has been reduced in some scenarios
  • Constant OpenGL error logging in Console experienced by some users should be resolved

As excited as we are regarding the improvements above, caution is warranted as well. DisplayLink has had to work around existing OS X issues in this new driver release, which could make support fragile as OS X updates come out.

Some of the known-issues that still persist with this new driver are:

  • Some users will experience intermittent graphical corruption/distortion
  • WindowServer crashes/spontaneous log-out issues are still present in some scenarios
  • Higher than expected CPU utilization from DisplayLinkManager/WindowServer in some scenarios

Because this is a beta driver and because of the remaining Mac external display issues, we still can’t recommend our USB graphics products for use on Mac. But we’re quite glad to see this progress.

Download DisplayLink’s version 2.4 Beta 1 version 2.5 beta2 driver for Mac OS here.

Comments are welcome below, though we also recommend posting your experiences in the DisplayLink Mac Forum so that DisplayLink has visibility to as much user feedback as possible.

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