Tunderbold 2 to USB 3 adapter

Started 6 months ago | Questions thread
Tom_N Forum Pro • Posts: 20,168
Re: Tunderbold 2 to USB 3 adapter

As far as I know, Apple never made a Thunderbolt to USB 3 adapter.   They did make a couple of adapters that plugged into Thunderbolt 1/2 ports and that provided either a Gigabit Ethernet port or a Firewire 800 port.

There were third-party Thunderbolt 1/2 docks that added USB 3 ports.  There was also the 27" Apple Thunderbolt Display that added USB 2 ports.  This was possible because Thunderbolt is, in essence, an external form of PCIe.

Apple makes a TB3 to TB2 adapter.  It has a USB-C plug and a TB2 socket.  Ignoring the question of whether you can find USB-C gender changers, I do not believe this adapter offers a full range of host protocols (USB, Power Delivery, DisplayPort, Thunderbolt) on its USB-C connector.

Now suppose that you set up a system

(TB1/2-equipped Mac) -> (TB3-to-TB2 adapter) -> (TB3/4 dock with USB 3 ports)

If the TB3/4 dock was relying on getting its USB connectivity as part of the usual USB-C package, I suspect that its USB 3 ports would not work.  If, on the other hand, the dock implemented the ports using the virtual equivalent of a USB 3 PCIe card (driven off the Thunderbolt signal), then I think that this configuration would offer a way to add USB 3 ports to a TB1/2-equipped Mac.

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