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kaj1 Level 1 (0 points)

I just got  a macbook air (mid 2012 model). I can't seem to get it to hook up to an external projector properly via mini-dispaly (thunderbolt) to VGA. Each time I've tried I either get a blank screen or multiple copies of small parts fo my screen projected. I've tried changing resolution; mirroring displays etc. Sicne I bought this mostly for travelling and giving semianrs I'd really like to find a solution. Any suggestions?

MacBook Air
  • ChrisBZA Level 1 (5 points)

    This is a BIG issue for me too. 6 new airs and sales team are FUBAR! Here's what I've found:

    • This is for the latest 2012 thunderbolt air
    • Tried on 2 projectors, 2 screens
    • ALL work perfectly on other airs and pro's in the office
    • When connecting, I have to test loads of different res/Hz combinations and none work 100%, but 1024/75Hz works to show around 75% of the screen
    • Software update (screen patch) didn;t make a difference
    • Rebooting (full shut down!) with VGA connected DOES work! On all 4 screens, all 6 airs. This IS a solution for some, but NOT for me; my reps pre-load their browser with 20 screens, and then demo in areas with no 3G coverage. So a reboot kills them.


    The encouraging part is that it CAN work, which I think means Apple can patch this. For me I have 6 brand new top of the range Air's that I may as well throw away if this isn't solved soon

  • kaj1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks - good to know its not just me having issues. I'll try the reboot for my next presentation. I am always visiting new places with different projectors though so I'm guessing it won't always work...

  • samberl Level 4 (1,990 points)

    You can try turning mirroring off and use the projector as an extended desktop.


    Just drag your document to the 2nd monitor (in this case the projector). Should work for most situations.


    Let us know how you get on.

  • kaj1 Level 1 (0 points)

    This was one of the first things I tried - no luck.

  • curlyjive Level 1 (0 points)

    We have been troubleshooting a similar issue with apple for the past few weeks with our 13" macbook pros.


    When we plug into our NEC projectors or a dell monitor, we get a black screen with 4 vertical lines. If I change the resolution to better match the projector (1280x768 60hz), I can get a desktop with 4 lines through it, which looks like a segmented desktop. If  I reboot, I can get a working projected desktop. However, if I disconnect from the projector and reboot, I am back to a desktop image with 4 lines through it. This is using an apple branded displayport to VGA adapter. 3rd party adapters froze the laptop completely with no projected image.


    These are the Mid 2012 model 13" macbook pros. The previous generation (late 2011) models work fine as does a Mid 2012 15" macbook pro. Both of these work with the 3rd party adapters as well. The main difference I can find is the newer models have an intel 4000 graphics chip, versus the 3000 series, All are thunderbolt compatable.


    We have used lion restore to start with a clean image and updateed to 10.7.4. Apple engineering is now looking at our case and I have sent them log captures of the issue. So far, they have not been able to provide a solution.

  • kaj1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Sounds like the same issue - I'm also using the apple branded adaptor and on 10.7.4

    If you do have any joy with Apple engineering please pass on the solution.

  • Doug232 Level 1 (0 points)

    I just received my new MBA and had exact same problem with external projector.  Will be eager to see a fix as we utilize overhead displays extensively.  Using 10.7.4 and apple adaptor.  I noticed the stretched resolution options are not available.  Sat side by side with a 2011 MBA and it worked fine.  I noticed the older MBA used the stretched display resolutions.  Not sure if that is relevant.

  • jlugo85 Level 1 (10 points)

    I had the same problem. What worked for em was to plug in the device then restart it with the device plugged in and it worked. Good Luck

  • UABKirksville Level 1 (0 points)

    I am having this same problem. 13" Macbook Air, upgraded to Mountain Lion. Still no luck. As a college professor, this laptop is useless if it won't project. Restarting with the projector connected has yielded no results, BTW.

  • Doug232 Level 1 (0 points)

    I called the support line and they confirmed the issue is a known bug and Apple fix should be out within a couple of weeks.  Was advised to keep checking for updates.  The reboot on my mid-2012 MBA did enable the external projector to work just fine.  I did update to ML.

  • snoodis Level 1 (0 points)

    I have a Macbook pro 13" mid 2012 intel core i7 with Mountain Lion installed.


    Using the thunderbolt port with VGA adaptor I could not get a projector to see the video signal.


    Other Macs would drive the projector well. One person's Mac is a Macbook Pro 13" early 2011 running OS 10.6 and the projector would recognise that, and another Mac worked as well, sorry I don't know which version.


    I use my mac for VJing which uses a variety of projectors, it depends on the gig what kind of projector you will get. Last night I had to borrow another Mac to do the gig, not cool, as I just forked out a lot of $ so I can VJ with my Mac and it let me down at the critical moment. Sorry I don't know which projector because it was at a gig and the projector is on the roof, you just get a big long VGA cord. VJs all just walked in, plugged-in and played, I walked in and looked stupid.


    My Macbook pro 13" mid 2012 will drive a variety of LCD monitors and also an old projector with the VGA, so the problem seems to be isolated to only a few models of projector. Additionally, the laptop seemed to recognise the projector. For instance everytime I unplugged the thunderbolt, the screen on my mac would go blank for a few seconds (a clue) and additionally when I go to DIsplay Preferences (annoyingly I must now go through System Prefs to get to this now as it won't appear in my Top Menu) and press gather windows on display, I can see options for different screen resolutions (that went up to 1900x1080 from memory) but the projector would not recognise the signal and just put up the projector logo screen. All the other Macs plugged into the projector with the same plug, and would make the projector work.

  • snoodis Level 1 (0 points)

    PS: We have a gig on 1st of Sept, a really important paid gig, that will help pay for this laptop, so I really hope a solution is on the way soon.

  • kaj1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks - this worked for my seminar on Friday. Didn't turn the computer on until after it was connected to the projector and it was fine.

  • ChrisBZA Level 1 (5 points)

    Guys, I've found a workaround that works for both VGA and HDMI issues, to enable you to use the MBA at clients/concerts/universities/other offices etc. It's not elegant, but it works:


    - Turn off MBA completely

    - Plug into an HDMI or VGA (perhaps ANY) screen

    - Boot up and it'll be perfect; as others have already reported. Thus far these steps are OK for anyone who doesn't need to pre-load content. But for those of us that do...

    - Now, here's the trick, u can suspend/sleep the MBA now, THEN unplug the screen, move to your new venue, THEN plug in the ANOTHER screen/projector, and turn back on again and it'll work! Yes, even tho it's a different screen, it'll flash a bit and work things out exactly like we're used to with our older macs.

    - ie this enables you to set up an external display at work/home, pre-load all your presentation/content/web pages, close the MBA and go to client/lecture hall, then plug into a projector there without having lost your content.


    So, in short, provided the MBA is fooled into thinking it was powered up with a screen connected, it'll work thereafter. PROVIDED it is not given the chance to think otherwise ie don;t unplug screen whilst it is awake.


    This SO speaks to a perfectly solvable firmware/driver issue. Probably around power management.

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