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New updates are being added at the bottom of this story……
Original story (published on December 10, 2020) follows:
The new Apple Mac Mini M1 seems to be giving dual/multi-monitor users a really hard time with a range of display issues which include green tint, pink squares, and random lag.
As a result, there has been a slew of complaints on official Apple forums, Reddit, and MacRumors forums.
I’m enjoying my Mac mini with the M1 soc but unfortunately connecting two monitors does not work. Upon fresh boot, both monitors display correctly on login screen. However, when logging in, both monitors start flickering. I have to disconnect and reconnect one hdmi cable for displays to work again.
I have 2 displays plugged in:
1x USBC/Thunderbolt3 24inch LG Ultrafine 4k screen (bought through Apple last year)
1x LG 27inch 4k display, plugged in via HDMI.
The issue I am having is that the 27inch display has a really horrible display lag, moving the mouse, dragging windows round the screen and anything I do
As apparent from the above complaints, users seem to be facing a variety of problems but with the exception of one commonality – most of them, if not all, have a dual-monitor setup.
The issues include:
Click to enlarge
1. Pink squares or dots that appear during boot and the first few minutes after logging in. Some have also reported that they only appear on the login page. Changing the wallpaper has helped a couple of users though, for some reason.
2. Weird green tints that may be coupled with static in the display. These too may last for only a few minutes during and after a boot-up. Replugging the HDMI cable makes the problem vanish temporarily.
3. One or both the monitors not working at all. And even if they do, there may be plenty of flickering. Again, replugging the cables solves the issue temporarily. The screen may also go black after a wake-up from sleep mode.
4. Horrible display lag that can be reproduced by simply moving the mouse around or dragging windows.
5. Unsupported 5120×1440 screen resolution. This is not related to multi-monitor setups but is a display issue nonetheless, and hence had to be included here.
Workarounds for dual display issues on Mac Mini M1
While there isn’t much that can be done about the matter apart from waiting for an official acknowledgment from Apple, we still managed to pull out a few workarounds from the forums.
1. Turn separate spaces off: This has reportedly worked for a few users for some reason. You can try your luck by heading over to System Preferences > Mission Control and turning “Separate spaces” off, or turning it on if it’s already off.
2. Make sure that you are using proper cables: You can read all about the supported cable connections here.
talking with senior support today..seems like the culprit is these usb c to HDMI adapters…not supported as of now…however I can make it work by toggling the refresh rate
I was on phone with Apple Support and it said that with 2 monitors we have to use the 2 thunderbolt output, not mixed with hdmi output.
3. Reinstall macOS: Oddly enough, a couple of users reported that a Big Sur re-install fixed the problem for them. This is not recommended though.
If you still want to give it a go, you need to firstly reboot and immediately hold down the Command + R or Command + Option + R keys. Next, click on the “Reinstall macOS” option that appears in the recovery.
Hopefully, Apple addresses the matter and releases a bug fixing update for the same if it truly is software related. For now, be sure to check out our dedicated macOS Big Sur bugs/issues tracker.
06:17 pm (IST): Apple has acknowledged one of the problems given above — the unsupported 5120×1440 screen resolution issue — and is likely to release an update soon to fix it. This is apparent from a new support document:
If you connect an ultrawide or super-ultrawide monitor to your Mac with Apple M1 chip, some resolutions supported by your display may not be available. Apple is aware of this issue and resolution is planned for a future macOS update.
Hopefully, this update will also address the other display issues faced by Mac Mini M1 users as well.
Update 2 (January 22, 2021)
01:14 pm (IST): As per macOS Big Sur 11.2 release notes, Apple has now fixed one of the many display issues plaguing the Mac mini M1 wherein external displays showed a black screen when connected using an HDMI to DVI converter.
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Mears Irlen Syndrome / Visual Stress (MISVis), also known as Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome (SSS), describes distortions in vision sometimes experienced by people with dyslexia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and others. Many people describe seeing distorted and moving text which can significantly affect comfort, efficiency and comprehension in reading tasks.
Many people who experience these issues find that placing coloured overlays onto the printed reading material helps alleviate discomfort and can improve reading efficiency and comprehension. Some people who experience headaches and other forms of visual discomfort have also found improvements from using these overlays.
Software solutions can achieve the same effect on the computer screen. Here are some options that you can try, many of which are free.
- Many modern screens can switch between a range of pre-set modes which are designed to best display movies or text. Switching modes changes the brightness and contrast of the screen which can result in reduced discomfort and easier reading. Look for the controls on the front of your computer screen.
- It’s very easy to change the background and text colour of pages in Microsoft Word. To change the background go to the Design ribbon and choose a colour from within the Page Background drop-down. To change the text colour go to the Home ribbon and right-click on the Normal style. Select Modify from the menu and click on the Format button in the dialog that appears. In the new window you can change the font colour to affect the entire document. Be warned though that the colour combination is saved in the document and this will show when printed or shared with others.
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- ssOverlay is simple freeware from FX Software. They are a small software company that offer a range of free software to help disabled people access computers. ssOverlay is really easy to use and best simulates placing an overlay of coloured acetate directly on the screen. Rather than allowing you to choose separate colours for text and backgrounds it instead uses a single colour to ‘wash’ the whole screen. It is easy to vary the intensity of the effect but as it covers the whole screen it does affect pictures and videos as well as text and page backgrounds. It affects just the screen you are using and works with any app. You can download ssOverlay for free.
- Screen Tinter Lite has long been a popular choice as it is easy to use and is provided for free. It is no longer available from the orginal company it and instead they have replaced it with a new paid-for version called Virtual Overlay. The original free Screen Tinter Lite is still available for download but may not work well on newer computers. It affects the colours in Microsoft Word, Adobe Reader and Internet Browsers and does not affect videos or pictures. When using Screen Tinter Lite the colour combination only affects the computer being used and is not saved in the document so you can more easily share and print your documents.
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- You can also use the Windows accessibility / display options to directly modify elements of the Windows display to match preferred colours. Check the visual accessibility section of this website for guides on how to get this done.
Choosing the right colour combination
Many people play around with the colour schemes using the above software to find a combination that is comfortable for them. If you feel that you would like help you can visit a specialist for a formal assessment or visit an online testing website such as www.tintmyscreen.com.
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Featured image: flickr/globochem3x1minus1