Your M3 MacBook Pro will be able to support multiple displays soon, just like the M3 MacBook Air

MacBook Air M3
(Image credit: Apple)

Users of the M3 MacBook Pro are going to get one of the biggest new features of the M3 MacBook Air with a software update — native support for multiple displays.

The same limitations apply, however, Apple confirmed to 9to5Mac. That means you can only have the two displays active while the MacBook is closed — so your second screen is either your external monitor or your MacBook display.

More screen real estate for all

The M3 MacBook Air is the first MacBook with a base model chip to be able to handle another extra screen. The M1 and M2 models of MacBook Air and MacBook Pro could only handle one extra screen at a time, whether the screen was open or closed. This new update, while weirdly restricted, is a welcome addition to the newest members of Apple’s laptop family.

Users of the more expensive MacBook models, such as the M2 Pro or even the M1 Pro and beyond have been able to use multiple displays since launch, although that’s due to the incredible power behind the chips and better connectivity. It also gives them another selling point over the lower-priced and lower-powered models. Even now, they’re still superior in multi-display support — you can use the MacBook screen while you use two external displays.

There are workarounds for users of M1 and M2 MacBook Air models — DisplayLink being one of the better options. It’s a free piece of software that allows users to hook up multiple displays, be that over the USB ports or a dock, and get to work. It’s never been the ideal solution, however, as it's known to crash on occasion, although it is a lifesaver for those who need some extra screen — and it still may be for some, as it allows the use of external displays and the MacBook screen, effectively removing that irritating limitation with M3 machines.

We don't know if this software update will appear soon in macOS Sonoma, or whether it will be part of macOS 15 unveiled at WWDC. Given its existing support for the M3 MacBook Air, it's likely to be the former.

The M3 MacBook Air and its multi-display support is a big leap for the best MacBooks, and to see it come to the M3 MacBook Pro is a massive boon — it’s just annoying that you can’t use your lovely MacBook screen while you use two bigger ones.

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Tammy Rogers
Senior Staff Writer

As iMore's Senior Staff writer, Tammy uses her background in audio and Masters in screenwriting to pen engaging product reviews and informative buying guides. The resident audiophile (or audio weirdo), she's got an eye for detail and a love of top-quality sound. Apple is her bread and butter, with attention on HomeKit and Apple iPhone and Mac hardware. You won't find her far away from a keyboard even outside of working at iMore – in her spare time, she spends her free time writing feature-length and TV screenplays. Also known to enjoy driving digital cars around virtual circuits, to varying degrees of success. Just don't ask her about AirPods Max - you probably won't like her answer.