I was having similar problems and finally discovered that the Thunderbolt port itself is sensitive to pressure. So if your cable is putting pressure to the left or right because of the way you have it plugged in, the connection will not be made. I have to literally support the cable with my hand so it is straight until the link is made.
Actually, Tech Specs of your 13" MBP (2011) says:
Display Connection Thunderbolt digital video output Display Modes Dual display extended, video mirroring, and AirPlay Mirroring External Resolution Up to 2560 by 1600 pixels
Graphics Card Intel HD Graphics 3000
which is integrated.
So the problem is not in graphics card.
I've always had problems when trying to use external monitors or projectors with my MBP 15" early 2011 (with a Thunderbolt port). It is very disappointing and a surprise, because I've never had this kind of problem with a 2008 Macbook and mini DVI port.
I've recently realized that all the resolution problems (also image and audio when using a Moshi HDMI adapter) are gone if I do a trick: don't plug the Thunderbolt Adapters all the way to its end. Leaving it a bit "off" the TB connector makes any of the adapters work fine (VGA, DVI and Moshi HDMI).
Has anybody got a physical repair for this problem? Has Apple recognized it as a general problem?
Well, it's a nice rule, but, from my own experience, Apple can be blamed as easily.
I had a similar issue and Apple replaced my adapter four times before they started believing me it was a hardware issue with the motherboard. And yes, after 8 years of fixing PCs for my living, I knew what I was talking about.
They passed the laptop their list of tests which it passed with flying color and I was told that the laptop didn't have any issues.
When I asked them whether they tried repeating the scenario - attaching the adapter and monitor cable to the laptop and turning it, causing the adapter to fry - I was told "no", even though the genius who handled my case saw it with his own eyes when I fried two new adapters in front of him.
After some yelling and a harsh letter, the motherboard was replaced and I got a three months extension to my MB Pro's guarantee.
Yes, NOW, after months of back and forth, everything's working fine, but my time was wasted on more than one occasion and in different stores.
Apple can be blamed first, especially if they don't supply a proper solution or indication to the source of the problem.
Thanks maximium. Reading my post again I think it was not clear enough. Both Apple MDP-to-VGA and MDP-to-DVI adapters had the same wrong resolution problems (not only Moshi). I got both working using the "trick" I've mentioned (and also Moshi). I have this MBP 15" for almost 2 years by now and I'm only exposing this problem because I think it might be useful to others. So, I don't think I'm "blaming first". Thanks anyway.
PS: Also tried with different Mac OS versions: 10.6, 10.7 and 10.8. All had problem and started working using the "trick".
Can we all just agree that Apple has gone to **** and they don't know what the **** they are doing? I'm a UI designer and I depend on the extended display functionality. I have a 3 year protection plan, and the best they are offering me is shipping my laptop away to god only knows where, which means I can't work during that time.
I'm 98% certain I'll be switching back to PC very, very soon. And then getting an S4. Apple this **** definitely wasn't in our plans when we decided to spend the extra $1000 for your brand.
I have till now suffered from the same problem and then realised that the slightest loss of electrical contact between the cable and the adapter is to blame: poor electrical conductivity causes the operating system not to recognise soon enough the specs of the external monitor connected.
As soon as I secured (with screws) the cable to the adapter, disconnected and reconnected the adapter, I solved my problem.
Hope it helps.
This is one of those crazy fixes that doesn't seem like it would work and makes you wonder, "How did someone figure that out?" Definitely worked for me on late 2011 MacBook Pro 15", mini display to VGA adapter.
Furthermore, I fully seated the adapter cable in the Thunderbolt port after the monitor was detected and my monitor is still working.
I don't know which is crazier: That this worked or that you figured it out!
I have a 17in MBPPro early 2011 thunderbolt, and use it with a thunderbolt display when I am at my office. I have had intermittent experiences where the display would not come on when awaking the MBP from sleep, and now it seems to be a consistent phenomenon. I now have to unplug and reinsert the display connector to get it working. Not a great hardship, but anything I have plugged into the ports on the back of the display, such as an external hard drive, gets disconnected, sometimes defeating the purpose or at least convenience of the display ports. I have tried wiggling and partially inserting the connector, et cetera, but no luck.
I can't blame this on any adaptor as it is the direct connection. All software is up to date. Sys Profiler shows this for thunderbolt port even with the display plugged in:
Vendor Name: Apple Inc.
Device Name: MacBook Pro
Firmware Version: 22.1
Domain UUID: 46C9206E-5416-975F-AEFE-BC44607A3D16
Status: No device connected
Link Status: 0x7
Port Micro Firmware Version: 2.1.3
I have the same condition as fWebster. While it isn't preventing me from using the devices, it is very inconvenient and wasteful of time.
In my office, we have an extra Thunderbolt display, so I tried using it instead of mine. There was no change, so that ruled out the monitor (including the cables). The problem must be in the MBP (the port?). I would love to learn of a solution without committing a day or more to the Apple Store.