Using the Apple Thunderbolt display with the Dell XPS 13

After many years of buying Mac laptops, I’ve bought a Dell XPS 13.

One question was how much of my old Apple hardware I could reuse. By buying an Apple USB C charger, I can re-use all the power adapter plugs and extensions I’ve bought over the years.

The big question for me, however was my Apple Thunderbolt display. One option, which I’ve not tried, is to buy the Thunderbolt 3 to Thunderbolt 2 adapter, and plug it in directly. I’ve not found anyone saying that works, and it also consumes the one and only, and thus very precious USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 port.

The solution I’ve found, which is not for everyone, is to plug the Apple Thunderbolt display into a Mac Mini running Windows 10. Then I enable the “Projecting to this PC” capability on the Mac Mini.


On my XPS 13 I project to the Mac Mini and extend the displays (yes, the Thunderbolt display has a lower resolution than my XPS 13):


Performance isn’t enough for gaming, but its good enough for software development.

2 thoughts on “Using the Apple Thunderbolt display with the Dell XPS 13

  1. Cowan Moore

    They WORK! My new 2017 Dell XPS-13 2-in-1 arrived today and just finished testing it with our Apple Thunderbolt Displays & new Apple Thunderbolt Adapter ($29). Plugged it (adapter / mini-dp pigtail) into the LEFT USB-C port and monitor sprang to life without any issues. The LEFT port appears to have a higher class of protocol extensions. The Dell also works in “lid-closed” condition, but requires an “open-shut” to activate sleep after disconnecting.

    We also have a Acer R240Hy Usb-C display which works (charge/video) from both ports. But the RIGHT usb-c has drops under FHD. The LEFT port is smooth for FHD.

    1. AJ

      Really would like more details about how you achieved this. I have been running in circles for the past few hours and I think I have similar hardware.


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