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Mac Mini (M1) dual display doesn't work.

I'm enjoying my Mac mini with the M1 soc but unfortunately connecting two monitors does not work. Upon fresh boot, both monitors display correctly on login screen. However, when logging in, both monitors start flickering (see video). I have to disconnect and reconnect one hdmi cable for displays to work again. I currently have one one monitor connected through the HDMI port; the second monitor is connected with a USB-C to HDMI adapter. I should clarify that both monitors work perfectly on their own; the issues come when both are connected. Any ideas?

I've liked a video of flickering. The apps are non-responsive when flickering is occurring.

Mac mini 2018 or later

Posted on Nov 20, 2020 8:09 PM

2 replies
Question marked as Helpful

Nov 23, 2020 8:35 AM in response to whatisdeadmayneverdie

Just a shot in the dark here, but several have reported that Big Sur 11.0 broke HDMI support on the 2018 Mac mini (previous setup worked under Catalina). One user said that upgrading to Big Sur 11.1.0 beta fixed the problem. Not the M1 Macs but possibly all this is a Big Sur issue.

Not advocating that you update to a beta version since there is a risk of not being able to downgrade back. Just something to ponder.

380 replies

Nov 22, 2020 12:51 AM in response to whatisdeadmayneverdie

I have the same issue on my M1 Mac Mini too. I'm connecting using an HDMI cable for one screen and USB-C to HDMI cable on the other. Both screens work perfectly fine until I log back in after a reboot, sleep or shutdown.

As soon as I log back in, both screens flicker. Sometimes the screens have swapped positions too, with the background image changing on one screen and the refresh rate changed from 144Hz to 60Hz. The menu bar is still visible and I can get to System Preferences so that I can 'reset' the screens by changing their properties back to how I had them setup originally.

If I use only one screen, there doesn't seem to be an issue either with the HDMI cable or USB-C to HDMI cable.

Nov 22, 2020 4:54 AM in response to whatisdeadmayneverdie

FWIW, if any of the displays have a Display Port input,

get a USB-C to DisplayPort adapter or USB-C to DisplayPort cable

and connect with a DisplayPort cable.


Over the years there have been numerous issues with connecting MacMinis

to the non-HDMI ports with any HDMI adapter. One would thing that may

have been solved by now, but perhaps not.

Nov 22, 2020 8:47 AM in response to woodmeister50

Thanks for the suggestion. I will try this. Might be a couple of days since I first have to order it and wait for adapter to arrive. Both my monitors have a Display Port port so will give it a try. At first I thought I had a defective Mini but given others are having same issue then it’s probably a support problem. We’ll see.

Nov 22, 2020 10:58 AM in response to BillyBrown301

Usually when I get the flicker I have to do the following:

  • I disconnect the USB-C adapter and only connect one monitor through the HDMI port. (No USB-C should be connected to any of the ports).
  • I reboot and login to the system (only one monitor connected)
  • Once logged in, everything should be working fine with one monitor
  • I connect the second monitor by plugging the USB-C connector.
  • The second monitor should display fine and both should work until next time you reboot or put Mac to sleep.

*if this doesn't work, then I do the exact sequence but starting with the USB-C instead of the HDMI.

***** this is happening to us. I'm still not sure if it is a Mac issue or adapter issue.

Earlier today I noticed this on the Mac mini specs page:

Simultaneously supports up to two displays:

One display with up to 6K resolution at 60Hz connected via Thunderbolt and one display with up to 4K resolution at 60Hz connected via HDMI 2.0
Thunderbolt 3 digital video output supports
Native DisplayPort output over USB‑C
Thunderbolt 2, DVI, and VGA output supported using adapters (sold separately)
HDMI 2.0 display video output
Support for one display with up to 4K resolution at 60Hz
DVI output using HDMI to DVI Adapter (sold separately)


So maybe Mac mini doesn't support connecting two displays via HDMI, maybe one has to be Display Port as the specs do list it as supporting 'Native DisplayPort output over USB‑C".

I'll ponder about buying a USB-C to Display Port adapter to try.

For now I'm just using one monitor since I don't want to be disconnecting/connecting cables each day...

Mac Mini (M1) dual display doesn't work.

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