Crafted from the fire pits of Hephaestus himself, and thrust down to Earth by the mighty Zeus, the Apple Thunderbolt Display arrived at the doorstep of iFixit's headquarters.

Follow iFixit on twitter for the latest updates.

Cool bonus: Here's a wallpaper of one of Thunderbolt Display's chips, made in the Thunderbolt Display's native 2560 x 1440 resolution.

Este desmontaje no es una guía de reparación. Para reparar tu Apple Thunderbolt Display, utiliza nuestros manuales de servicio .

  1. By the hammer of Thor! With the new Thunderbolt Display in our hands, the future is looking bright.
    • By the hammer of Thor! With the new Thunderbolt Display in our hands, the future is looking bright.

      • 27" TFT Active-Matrix LCD

      • 2560 by 1440 Pixel Resolution

      • Built-in Thunderbolt and MagSafe Cables

      • FaceTime HD Camera with Microphone

      • 49 Watt 2.1 Speaker System

      • 16:9 Widescreen Aspect Ratio

    “The future is looking bright”…

    7 years later, this monitor is long since discontinued but still the last monitor apple has made. They sell mac minis and mac pros with no matching displays at all, only 3rd party displays and adapters. And those mac minis I mentioned are a 4 year old model, and the mac pro is a 5 year old model.

    The future looked bright. It was an illusion.

    John M - Contestar

  2. The Thunderbolt Display contains a sweet lineup of USB, HDMI, VGA, and DisplayPort ports! Oh wait—wrong thousand-dollar display.
    • The Thunderbolt Display contains a sweet lineup of USB, HDMI, VGA, and DisplayPort ports! Oh wait—wrong thousand-dollar display.

    • The luscious backside of the Thunderbolt Display contains only a small line of specified ports:

      • Three powered USB 2.0 ports

      • FireWire 800 port

      • Thunderbolt port

      • Gigabit Ethernet port.

    • The Thunderbolt Display also comes with a built-in Thunderbolt cable attached to a Universal MagSafe cable.

    • It seems to be a convenient setup for connecting to your laptop's Thunderbolt port while charging. If you are sporting a Mid 2011 MacBook Air and your MagSafe port is opposite your Thunderbolt, you'll be glad to know the cable is long enough to reach.

    Agregar Comentario

    • Much like the iMac we tore apart earlier this year (and the iMacs before it), the Thunderbolt Display's front glass panel comes off with the help of some heavy duty suction cups.

    • While we're handling this gigantic sheet of silica, we thought we'd share a fun glass fact with you: the Plymouth Barracuda featured—at its time—the largest piece of automotive glass produced to date.

    Agregar Comentario

    • It's time to take a look under the hood. With the help of our 54-piece bit driver kit, we liberate a few screws (12 to be exact, but who's counting?) from their asylum.

    • A few connectors and a ground screw are all that prevent the freedom of the LCD.

    There are three ribbon cables to disconnect before you can lift the display up to access the screw for the ground wire. The middle picture is misleading, at least on my monitor--you could only tilt up the display panel a couple of inches before you put strain on the ribbon cables. (Not a fan of this writing style at the expense of useful detail)

    osultan - Contestar

    It's not obvious to me how the right most ribbon cable comes out. Does it have a catch on the bottom side to hold it in?

    patrick - Contestar

    Yes, it has a clip that is on the underside of the board it is plugged into. Just grip the connector and squeeze it vertically and pull.

    patrick - Contestar

    The instructions/photos do not match my experience removing the LCD panel from an Apple Thunderbolt 27” Display. I am posting more details for anyone new to these kind of projects.

    Orient the display so that the LCD is facing up, and the top of the display (e.g. webcam edge of frame) is closest to you. Remove 12 screws (4 screws from left/right/top edges). Lift top edge from frame about two inches to access/disconnect four cables: 1) remove center ground w/ T10 bit, 2) remove small center cable by pulling away from board, 3) remove larger center data ribbon by pulling up to release very tiny latching mechanism then gently pull ribbon out of socket, 4) remove left-most ribbon by pressing from underneath to release clip/catch and pulling ribbon away from board.

    After four cables are disconnected, I was able to carefully lift LCD panel away from frame to make sure no other cables are connected or snagged on LCD panel. Done!

    Jason Klein - Contestar

    • The 27-inch (diagonal) TFT active-matrix LCD has a resolution of 2560 by 1440 pixels, the standard for displays of this size and price. Its 12 ms response time and 16.7 million colors, however, fall short of the 6 ms response time and 1.07 billion colors of Dell's comparable display.

    • We might be splitting hairs here, but those hairs would be viewed with 1,053,300,000 fewer colors on Apple's display. Just saying.

    • Be it 16.7 million or 1.07 billion colors, we say, "Let's see what you've got, Crayola!"

    It's important to note that Dell's "comparable" display is more expensive (when not on sale), does not connect via Thunderbolt, does not have built-in speakers, lacks a MagSafe connector for powering your MacBook, and is devoid of any data port other than USB. Dell's display is a really, really sweet 27" display. Apple's display is probably still the nicest panel you've ever seen, and is also a complete, single-cable docking solution for your MacBook.

    Matthew Judy - Contestar

    Those are very valid points, Matthew. Apple makes it very clear who they are targeting with this device: people who purchased one of this year's Thunderbolt-enabled Macs. They have never pretended to be a peripherals company, and they do not try to capture any other part of the market. We just wanted to show how for a similar price point you can either go with Apple and get OEM integration and proprietary connectors, or you can choose Dell and get versatility.

    David Hodson -

    I only wish they would use the first version first generation of the magsafe plug (straight white plastik housed)... with the thunderbolt cable going in perpendicular to the macbook edge and the magsafe L-shape cable pointing backwards it just looks awful...

    Joachim - Contestar

    1.07 billion colors are only possible with 10-bit color support: Apple doesn't support 10-bit color (yet) in their operating system(s) so far, and haven't made any comments suggesting that they plan to.

    So, unfortunately, it would be a waste of one's money if they were to purchase a high-gamut display (like the Sharp 4K monitor that Apple currently offers with the Mac Pro) as the operating system will only render 8-bit color (16.7 million colors) on the display. It makes more sense for a Mac user to buy a cheaper monitor that supports 16.7 million colors, as those displays tend to be ⅓ of the price of those that support 1.07 billion colors.

    As a professional who requires high-gamut color support, I found this pretty disappointing and sent Apple a plea to introduce this feature at

    Note: Windows has supported 10-bit color since Windows 7... Come on Apple!

    Kevin - Contestar

    • The back of the LCD display has only a few cables, none too exciting:

      • DisplayPort

      • LED backlight

      • LED backlight sync

      • Ground loop.

    • The LG display reads model number LM270WQ1. Is it possible that we may have seen this model number before?

    • Yes, it appears to be the same display found in the iMac Intel 27" from October of 2009, as well as the same basic LG display found in Dell's competing 27" monitor, though the Apple version uses LED backlights as opposed to Dell's traditional CCFL.

    • Dell's version is also matte, something that lots of Mac users have been harping for once the old 30" Cinema Display was phased out.

    The back of the LCD display has only a few cables, none too exciting:

    * DisplayPort

    * LED backlight

    * LED backlight sync

    * Ground loop.



    I can't see any of these on any photos associated to this step.

    Bertrand Quenin - Contestar

    • Great Odin's Raven! With that old, crappy LCD removed (who needs it anyway), we get a full frontal view of the Thunderbolt Display's inner layout.

    • Where to start . . . the fan you say? Sounds good to us.

    Agregar Comentario

  3. Reparte el espíritu de reparación esta Navidad
    Obtén $12 de descuento en tu compra de $50 o más con el código FIXMAS12
    Reparte el espíritu de reparación esta Navidad
    Obtén $12 de descuento en tu compra de $50 o más con el código FIXMAS12
    • The fan is easily removed simply by detaching a couple of connectors and unfastening a few screws.

    • Apple has, as usual, chosen to go with a large, brushless fan to keep the colossal Thunderbolt Display nice and cool.

    Agregar Comentario

    • In our pursuit of self-preservation, we begin by disconnecting the power supply connector from its socket on the logic board to prevent any electrifying experiences.

    • A few more T10 Torx screws bite the dust at the hand of our bit driver kit, and the logic board is detached.

    Agregar Comentario

    • Stop—it's connector time! We remove a plethora (that's right, plethora, we're using our five dollar words) of connectors from the logic board, leaving only the brains behind the Thunderbolt port between us and the display's control center.

    • A few T6 Torx screws are knocked out to remove the connector cover, and the Thunderbolt cable is disconnected.

    • Interestingly enough, the Thunderbolt cable that routes into the display also plugs into a standard Thunderbolt socket on the logic board. Apple could have just soldered the cable wires to the board, but instead chose to implement a cover that prevents the cable from being detached from the logic board's Thunderbolt socket.

    When upgraded (optical) Thunderbolt cables become available, it will conceivably be possible to upgrade the display by replacing the cable. Remember, the transceiver is in the cable.

    michaellowry - Contestar

    Before anyone starts tearing down their Thunderbolt Display to replace the Thunderbolt cable with a new one (like I did): a much easier alternative is to plug a standard Thunderbolt cable into the Thunderbolt port at the back of the display. Apparently it’ll work just fine. The only catch is if you happen to need that port for something else.

    Fredrik - Contestar

    Thank you soooo much ! You saved me from opening my old but functional Thunderbolt Display when a careless moment led to the Thunderbolt connector on the computer end of the cable being damaged. Just plugged in a Thunderbolt cable to the port on the back of the display. That’s how a good Thunderbolt design should work, but in my stress about getting the tools to fix it I didn't stop and engage my brain.

    Really appreciated your comment…


    Russell Gasser - Contestar

    • St. Damien's beard! The front of the logic board includes these stellar packages:

      • Pericom PI7C9X440SL PCIe-to-USB 2.0 host controller

      • L129NB11 EFL, which looks to be the Thunderbolt port controller (as viewed in the second picture)

      • Analog Devices ADAV4601 audio processor

      • NXP LPC2144 USB 2.0 microcontroller

      • Delta LFE9249 10/100/1000 Base-T LAN filter

      • SMSC USB2517-JZX USB 2.0 hub controller

      • LPC 1114F

    It's interesting to see the TB circuit board. Have you tried to find an Apple P/N for this board? In your opinion, is this what a vendor would need to simulate to build their own TB breakout box (along with a power supply)? Vendors keep saying it's going to be expensive to implement TB. From the looks of this circuit board, I might agree, however the range of I/O devices you get on this board is amazing.

    plink53 - Contestar

    Dose any body now, what the tow other both pin sections do (behind the LCD-Connector and under the output connections)?

    or in other words: is there any changes to connect a HDMI or DVI-Display directly at the board (so, that you can use the Thunderbolt for other devises)?

    cyrills - Contestar

    The LPC2144 also generates the three PWM signals for the HV9982.

    (and - I guess - the EDID codes ans misc. others).

    This is interesting, because I suspect this chip to be the culprit in the cases of failing backlight.

    If it holds no firmware, it should be quite straightforward (and cheap) simply to replace the chip.

    3bbe - Contestar



    This is the case with the LED Cinema Display, anyways...

    3bbe - Contestar

    L129NB11 EFL chip seems to be Intel CV82524EF (Light Ridge) Thunderbold Controller.

    UndyingFew - Contestar

    • Sweet grandmother's spatula! The back of the board also contains oodles of chips:

      • Maxim MAX9736B Mono/Stereo High-Power Class D Amplifier

      • Texas Instruments LC573A D-type Latch

      • Silego SLG8SP568VCK505 Clock Generator

      • LSI L-FW643E-2 Open Host Controller Interface

      • Broadcom BCM57761 Gigabit ethernet controller

      • Texas Instruments NH245 Dual Supply Translator

      • Supertex HV9982 3-channel switch-mode LED driver IC

    Agregar Comentario

    • With the logic board removed, we move on to the power supply board.

    • A few screws and connectors are all that are stopping us from removing the board.

    • We make quick work of them and the Flextronics power supply board comes free.

    Agregar Comentario

    • Hot pot of coffee! Let's see what the Thunderbolt Display's power supply board can do for us.

    • How about 250 watts of maximum continuous power -- is that enough for you?

      • Fun science fact, the "thunderbolts" (AKA lightning) in nature can put out an average of 1,000,000,000,000 watts, that's 4 billion times the output of the Thunderbolt Display's power supply! But lets be fair...lightning bolts are much, much larger than this power supply and last only fractions of a second.

    Apple now has a revised version of this power supply that looks slightly different, so newer Thunderbolt displays are not all alike. Not sure if the older power supply is any better or less prone to failure like the newer boards are.

    Jim - Contestar

    • We see some fairly large speaker enclosures (well, for a monitor) near the side edges of the Thunderbolt Display and eagerly remove the screws holding them in place.

    • Wait! What have we here? Is that a built-in 1-inch subwoofer, as well?

    • The Thunderbolt Display comes with a 49 watt 2.1-speaker sound system, including a miniature subwoofer.

    • Basically, your display will sound something like this. Okay, so maybe not, but you will get some pretty decent sound out of this bad boy.

    Agregar Comentario

    • A couple screws and a single connector keep the HD FaceTime camera secured to the case.

    • Yoink! Out comes the camera and its ability to record video up to 720p, as well as its ability to support widescreen 16 x 9 aspect ratios.

    Agregar Comentario

    • The front side of the camera board:

      • cFeon LV010-45RNIP 11113A 1110ADA

    • The rear side of the camera board:

      • Vimicro VC0338BSMCB Camera Controller

      • Texas Instruments TPS65708 Power Management Unit

      • 0BNHM7

      • 408F N109

      • T120 Bd01

    Agregar Comentario

    • Uncle Jonathan's corn cob pipe! Just a few Torx 10 screws stand between us and the AC power adapter.

    • The AC-Inlet in all its infinite glory.

    Before you can do this step, you will need to remove the 4 screws holding the subwoofer on top and move it aside.

    Would be nice if there were instructions on removing the thunderbolt cable. Beware that the grounded screw is the short one with the fine thread. Also note that the screws are going into plastic mounts which are easily stripped.

    maccentric - Contestar

    • Hey Mic, you seem like you're in a tight spot. Here, let me help you out.

    • Good ol' spudger would never let a friend like Mic down.

    Agregar Comentario

    • Thunderbolt Display Repairability Score: 8 out of 10 (10 is easiest to repair)

      • Only T6 and T10 torx screws hold it together, meaning minimal tooling is required to service.

      • Minimal use of adhesives means reassembly will be easier and cleaner.

      • Front glass panel and LCD are easy to remove and major components are exposed upon removal.

      • You have to use suction cups to remove the front glass, which could end poorly if not done properly.

      • While disassembly was very straightforward, there are a lot of parts, cables and connectors, making full reassembly not for the faint of heart.

    “While disassembly was very straightforward, there are a lot of parts, cables and connectors, making full reassembly not for the faint of heart.”

    Especially using this teardown, which unlike most of the great guides here on iFixit, seems to favor levity over usefulness. It wouldn’t have been much more work to actually label things so it would be easier to know exactly what to do. Shame

    maccentric - Contestar

    Ass seen at the top of this page “This teardown is not a repair guide. To repair your Apple Thunderbolt Display, use our ++service manual++.” Teardowns are meant to be entertaining looks into a device, they are not intended to be step-by-step manuals.

    Sam Lionheart -

David Hodson

Miembro Desde 13/04/10

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OMG, through hole components on the power supply board! And hand smeared silicon glue! How could 20 years of technology gap exist in a leading Apple product? Bob, that Flextronics board needs to come off. I'm not buying until then.

Casey Norway - Contestar

Every SPS is using the glue to pass the safety, you can choose not to buy anything with a SPS

Floyd Tsui -

Would you like to try developing a SMPS, which has to deal with hundreds of watts of current, using only surface mount components? Go on, give it a try. We will wait.

Walker Quine -

Question re: "Interestingly enough, the Thunderbolt cable that routes into the display also plugs into a standard Thunderbolt socket on the logic board."

Would it then be possible to install a 3rd party Thunderbolt "external" HD inside the monitor by simply connecting it to the socket on the logic board, then daisy chaining another thunderbolt cable to the external port? Is there enough space?

Geoff Warren Boulton - Contestar

Ok, I know this comment is pretty old, but it looks like there's plenty of spaces to put a 2.5" drive but I doubt you could fit a 3.5" one.

Donut -

I kinda think that Apple may allow Mac Minis run on MagSafe ports, and re-design the display's base to exactly fit a Mac Mini in (even include some screws and holes/nuts to allow users permanently connect their Mac Mini to the display). This combinition will definitely profit, and even can obsolote iMacs

Some more complicated redesign may include an optical drive into the display and can be accessed through Thunderbolt - makes the display combined with a Mac Mini totally an iMac.

TechniX - Contestar

You can't reasonably put a MagSafe port on a device that isn't battery-powered, and Apple has never put a system power battery into a desktop machine. Apple has never put external do-it-yourself mounting screwholes in a machine. Apple is in the process of removing optical drives from their hardware, not adding them. Except for the short-lived PowerBook Duo, Apple machines have always been designed to stand alone, not as an assembly.

If you want an iMac, just get an iMac. I'm impressed that you know enough about Apple's design, manufacturing, and market positioning to know what design changes will "definitely profit", even though it would "obsolete" their only consumer desktop line, but I don't see much consistency here with any other decisions Apple has made.

no way -

"including a miniature subwoofer"

Also known as a woofer. :-)

no way - Contestar

IFIXIT, I have a question!!! I'm the creative director of a video production company and I'm looking for a new monitor. I've always considered Apple displays to be too overpriced, but I was utterly shocked to be informed by a third tier Apple tech support guru that these displays had an IPU on their logic board to handle the load if your computers GPU get's bogged down. I've only found two other unconfirmed rumors of this.

When you tore down that display like Mel Gibson does to Jewish people and wives, did you by chance any such corroborating evidence?

Justin Stempel - Contestar

No, that sounds like a load of BS. None of those ICs look to have any kind of graphics processing ability, but I'm not iFixit :P

Donut -

I have the similar problem with the Thunderbolt 27 Inch Backlight. The Mac recognize the Display but have not picture. I see today the supply of the mosfet elements for the LED backlight have 25V but have not siglans from the HV9982.

Anyone to have this problem? ohcnad13 at yahoo dot com

Dancho - Contestar

I was looking to replace the glass apple logo with an led one. I have my thunderbolt display apart and as you can see in the last photo of this guide, there seems to be a silver foil over it. I do not want to tamper with it, but does anyone know if I will ruin anything if i take that foil off thats stuck to the metal frame? It appears that the apple logo is just glass, and that the foil on the inside is so sealed that it makes the apply logo look black. Any comments?

Jonathan Galya - Contestar

I need a new power cord for my 27" Thunderbolt Monitor. Is is the same one that is used on many iMacs? It looks the same. Do you know the part number or where I can order one?

Bryan Karlan - Contestar

Bryan Karlan - Just bought replacement cables off of ebay, $25.00

rick - Contestar

Would anyone know if the Thunderbolt 661-6028 panel would work in a non thunderbolt case with part number 661-5542? It looks as if it should connect right up.

stephenbright - Contestar

the thin 2 wires with the small board attached and adhered to the case a few inches to the left of the power cable hole. I have only found that on one monitor though they all have the port on the motherboard it is just empty on all the ones sans the thin wires and board adhered to the case. My question is... What is it and why is it not on all the displays??

T Mac - Contestar

The 1/4 inch square board adhered to the back of the case 4 inches to the left of power cable hole 1/2 inch to the right of 1 1/2 inch square black foam adhered to the case. Can be seen in image #20. The connected two thin wires are routed up and around hinge assembly. It connects to the second port down on the visible side of the motherboard. The port is on all motherboards but I have only found one display that has this small board, all other displays leave this port empty and do not have this configuration.

T Mac -

T Mac - I believe the item you speak of is a temperature sensor. On my display it is attached to the back side of the LCD panel itself and gets unplugged from the logic board during the panel removal (which is why the port appears to be empty in the other photos you've seen). At some point Apple must have switched from mounting it on the back of the case to mounting it on the back side of the LCD.

joe goldman - Contestar

OK, mine died following the electrician switching the power off then on a couple of times. Given the there is no power on the external power connecter I'm assuming the power supply is gone. But are there embedded fuses in there that are likely to be the culprits?

droolinggeezer - Contestar

Hi, I appreciate the teardown here.

I recently had a problem with my Thunderbolt Display turning black after short period of usage. Ranged from minutes to hours. The display was still recognized by the computer, it's just that the screen was black. After turning it in for repair a technician said it was the logic board, and changed it and charged me. It worked for a couple of days and then the same problem was back. This time the repair shop says it's the LCD display. My hunch is that it was the LCD all the time. My question, even though a bit vague: would my computer be able to recognize a display with faulty logic board? It feels like I'm being tricked by the repair shop.

Andreas Karlsson - Contestar

Often only parts of the logic board go faulty. The logic board in this unit is really a hybrid of several circuits, all running off thunderbolt. You may see that the Display Audio, Display Ethernet works when the display doesn’t and vice versa. The backlight power circuit is also on the logic board. It may have been both parts replaced were faulty, or just the display.

Charlie Nancarrow -

My 27'“ Thunderbolt just gives me a dark screen and 3 vertical line in the middle of the screen. Each about 1/2 inch wide 2 dark with a ligher line in between. Do you think just replacing the LCD would work for this problem.



Charles Adams - Contestar

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