[TRACKING] Cannot Connect to Thunderbolt 2 Monitor

Hi All, I’m trying to set up my (awesome) new Framework laptop, but running into some issues with connecting to my Thunderbolt 2 monitor using this Apple adapter.

It works fine when I connect from my old HP. But with the Framework, I try to plug it in before even turning the laptop on, and I don’t see anything from power on to OS (Arch) load. No monitors or USB devices are detected. Plugging in after it’s booted I don’t see anything in DMESG. Happy to post some logs and outputs of lsusb among others - just let me know what would be most helpful to see :slight_smile:

Thanks in advance!

It might help if you could let us know the make and model of the display you’re trying to use?

Yep! It’s an Apple Thunderbolt 2 display. One of these bad boys: Apple Thunderbolt Display - Wikipedia

Bumping this thread in case anyone has any ideas… I’ve since bought a TB3 dock, gone through several TB3->TB2 dongles (some from Apple and from Startech), and otherwise learned more about the linux thunderbolt toolset (bolt, tbt, etc) than I ever thought I would.

The only thing I could find was this bug report which is why I got the Startech dongle (to no avail, even though it works when I use it to plug the monitor into a TB3-equipped PC).

All of this is leading me to think it’s a firmware issue… happy to post some logs/output just let me know what would be helpful (it doesn’t seem like it’s recognized anywhere in the system)

I guess there are reasons why we haven’t seen the TB4 certification given to the Framework laptop afterall.

In some early threads, think there was mention of cable length could affect device signals integrity.

That’s not actually a Thunderbolt 2 display, it’s TB 1, and getting it to work on a PC (especially with newer TB hardware (maybe more about cpu gen?)) is not trivial. On Windows, you need to get Apple’s boot camp drivers installed and to disable certain security features in the BIOS.

This apple thread has some more info:


I’m not aware of a Linux driver and I don’t see a way to disable anything useful for this in the FW BIOS.

I coincidentally have this display and had not bothered trying it with my FW until this post.

Update: tried it with my FW and got nothing, but it also won’t turn on for either of my Macs today so maybe my TB display is finally broken

I’m pretty sure what you’re talking about is just something that affects all Thunderbolt cables. They need a repeater if they want to get longer then 2 meters or so.

Referring to this: Not getting power+display from single cable when using my 2019 23.7-inch LG UltraFine 4K Display - #8 by Kieran_Levin

Bumping this thread… I have a Apple TB Display like @swag and I would like to use it with my soon ordered Frame.Work laptop. But it seems difficult ? I only used it with my MacBook Pro 2012 until now. And it works fine with this hardware and Ubuntu 20.04, or elementary OS 6.x

Did you get some solutions?

I am reading more about TB / TB4 docking station as well. But for me needs, a direct connection from FW laptop to Apple TB display will be enough, with the correct adpater. I already have a Apple TB cable of 2.0m.

Hi @Herve_Boinnard ,

It think @Andy_Coder’s explanation is spot on, at the moment linux most generally lack the necessary drivers to make Apple Thunderbolt Display work.

Thank you @Loell_Framework , I really appreciate your support. And @Andy_Coder seems to have Apple display not turning on with Macs, so we can’t rule out everything.

But as mine displays properly from my MBP 2012, running Ubuntu 20.04, Linux drivers are working, probably the NVidia drivers with Mac hardware (internal GPU + second GPU for Retina Display)

  • MacBook Pro
    • Retina display 15"
    • Apple Model A1398
    • Graphics and Video
      • Intel HD Graphics 4000
      • NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M with 1GB of GDDR5 memory and automatic graphics switching
      • Dual display and video mirroring: Simultaneously supports full native resolution on the built-in display and up to 2560 by 1600 pixels on up to two external displays, at millions of colors
      • Cable Thunderbolt Apple 2.0 m

Also, I intend to use external power to the Framework laptop, and only connect the laptop to the Apple TB display. I would try the Apple Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) to Thunderbolt 2 Adapter - Apple like @swag. Actually, which Framework are you using to test?

  • I’ve read than Framework laptops are now Thunderbolt certified, from the intel 12th gen. This is the one I will received in a few days. So I will be happy to report my tests and successes :triumph:

  • Finally, if not working, I would probably not insist too long, neither need a dock/hub station for the moment, and get a good 27’ display with HDMI, or TB that works with Framework and Linux (I will verify this before purchase). The Apple TB display, if not use with my old Mac, could be sold for a good price :wink:

Hi @Herve_Boinnard ,

thanks for getting back at this thread,

Cool, would be very interesting what you could find out, let us know how this goes, will labels this as tracking for now.

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I love my new Framework laptop 13 12th Gen :heart_eyes:
But now I definitively cannot stand Apple vendor lock-in strategy, and my Apple Thunderbolt Display 27" is looking for a new home :money_mouth_face:

Thanks @Loell_Framework for tracking this thread, I found it very useful for me, and I am sure other users are and will read it ! Unfortunately, my tests all failed.

With my Framework I have 2 USB-C connectors, and I did the following:

  • Always another USB-C with power adapter
  • Thunderbolt 1/2 from Apple display, with the Apple Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) to Thunderbolt 2 Adapter
  • plugged the TB adapter in all 4 locations, respectively
  • hot plug while laptop on
  • cold plug, and switching on laptop
  • power off the display, and back on again

Nothing in Ubuntu logs, no sounds, fan activation, etc…

Next steps:

  • buying another 27" monitor, one of these
    The 4 Best 27-Inch Monitors for 2023 | Reviews by Wirecutter
  • Sell Apple Thunderbolt Display
  • Copy/move my home folder from my daily Ubuntu 20.04 on Macbook, to Ubuntu 22.04
  • Adjust the system and settings, and make it my daily workstation once the monitor is there

Looking forward to complete the switch :raised_hands: