M3 MacBook Air outshines M3 MacBook Pro in external display support

Apple recently unveiled the new M3 MacBook Air, available in both 13-inch and 15-inch models. While the powerful M3 chip and other improvements were expected, one detail surprised many: the M3 MacBook Air supports two external displays, while the 14-inch M3 MacBook Pro can only connect to one.


The M3 MacBook Air offers an advantage in terms of multi-monitor setups compared to the M3 MacBook Pro

In a recent comparison by MacRumors, it was discovered that the M3 MacBook Air outshines its Pro counterpart when it comes to accommodating external displays. This finding has sparked interest among tech enthusiasts and professionals alike, as the ability to connect multiple monitors can greatly enhance productivity and multitasking capabilities.

15-inch MacBook Air

This opens up a world of possibilities for professionals working in fields such as graphic design, video editing, and software development. With multiple displays at their disposal, creatives can spread out their work across different screens, keeping reference materials, timelines, and project assets visible at all times.

Moreover, the ability to connect multiple displays can benefit professionals in the business and finance sectors, as well as educators and researchers. From analyzing complex datasets to delivering engaging presentations, having access to additional screens can streamline tasks and improve overall productivity.

Possible explanations for the difference

There are two main possibilities for this difference:

  • Software Limitation: The M3 MacBook Pro’s limitation might be software-based. Apple could have intentionally restricted the Pro model to a single display for various reasons, such as reserving higher display support for the higher-tier M3 Pro and M3 Max MacBook Pro models.
  • Hardware Difference: Alternatively, there could be a hardware difference between the two models that impact their display capabilities. Perhaps the Air has additional components or a different configuration that allows it to handle the extra workload of driving two displays.

Currently, the exact reason remains unconfirmed. We’ll likely need to wait for teardowns of the new Air models to understand if any hardware differences exist.

However, there’s a glimmer of hope for M3 MacBook Pro users. If the limitation is software-based, Apple could potentially address it in a future software update, enabling the Pro model to also support two external displays.

While the reason behind the difference remains unclear, it’s a significant factor to consider when choosing between the M3 MacBook Air and the M3 MacBook Pro, particularly for users who heavily rely on multi-monitor setups.

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