I'm looking for a dock that will allow my gf and I to connect 2 HDMI monitors and 2 USB mouse/keyboard devices to both a Macbook Air (2015) with thunderbolt 2 and a modern dell laptop with thunderbolt 3. The laptops would not be connected at the same time, I just want the capability to dock either one. Also charging capability for the laptop would be ideal, although I'm aware this probably might not be possible with the macbook over thunderbolt 2 -> 3 conversion.

My thought was to buy a dock that supports tb3, for the dell and then use a tb2 -> tb3 adapter to connect the macbook to the dock.

Something like this:

Macbook (TB 2) ---> Converter (tb2 -> tb3) -----> TB3 Dock


Dell TB3 (TB3) ----> TB3 Dock

Would this even work? What would be our cheapest option here?


1 Answer 1


The adapter you linked is not bi-directional, and may not work for your application. This adapter is bi-directional and should work for your application. Note: This adapter does not allow power pass-through, so you will need to have the dock or dongle connected to its own power for this to work.

The dock you linked is a good choice. I think it will work well for you. Because you asked for a cheaper option, you can use a "dongle" with power passthrough instead of a "dock." Here is one that has the ports you asked for.

  • Thanks! I had seen the apple adaptor but my concern was that I'd need another cable TB2 Male to TB2 Male to connect my laptop to the adapter linked. Am I correct on this? Commented Jan 13, 2020 at 21:20
  • Yes, you will need a male-male cable to go between the adapter and Mac.
    – Alphy13
    Commented Jan 14, 2020 at 0:04
  • Okay cool. Thank you. So the chain would look like this: Macbook -> MiniDisplayport cable -> Thunderbolt 2 Adapter -> Hub Commented Jan 14, 2020 at 2:00
  • On a related note, Thunderbolt 3 is backward-compatible with Thunderbolt 2, isn't it? So no adapter would be needed.
    – thersites
    Commented Dec 4, 2020 at 19:30
  • They have different plugs. The protocols have some compatibility, but you need an adapter.
    – Alphy13
    Commented Dec 9, 2020 at 20:54

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