Cannot Use Thunderbolt Accessory? 6 Top Fixes To Follow 

Thunderbolt is the hardware interface to connect any Thunderbolt device to your PC. These accessories are known for their high speed that beats any regular external devices. But sometimes, the “cannot use Thunderbolt accessory” notification may bother you. 

I figured out how to fix this with some easy approaches. Here are some of the things that might help: 

  • Use The Right Thunderbolt Cable
  • Use The Correct Port 
  • Update The Thunderbolt Firmware
  • Check If The Thunderbolt Port Is Healthy 
  • Make Sure Your Thunderbolt Accessory Is Supported 
  • Enable The Thunderbolt Devices 

It’s a bummer that you cannot use the Thunderbolt accessories. Let’s check all the solutions in brief. 

What Is A Thunderbolt? 

Your Mac and Windows come with a Thunderbolt port to connect any Thunderbolt device. Therefore, these devices’ specialty is high-speed, unlike regular USB C devices. Also, you can easily expand your PC’s capability using the Thunderbolt accessory to connect external devices.

What Is The Use Of A Thunderbolt Port? 

You can use the Thunderbolt port to connect external devices and accessories to your Mac or Windows PC. I had an M2 Macbook Air where I connected an extra display using the Thunderbolt 3 port.

However, not only an external monitor, but you can also connect a TV or devices like external storage devices. Besides, you can also use the port to connect mini DisplayPort, HDMI, or VGA devices

Unable To Use Thunderbolt Accessory? Here Are Some Solutions

Thunderbolt accessories are awesome new additions to the fast-paced technology. So, when I wanted to try some of the accessories in my MacBook air, it seemed unwilling to help me. Let’s cut the crap; how can you solve it when your Mac or Windows denies supporting your Thunderbolt accessory? Here are some key solutions 

Solution-1: Use The Right Cable, Please! 

Of course, you cannot just put a USB cable in the place of a Thunderbolt port; it won’t fit. So you must ensure that you use a Thunderbolt 3 cable in the right Thunderbolt 3 port.

When the cable that you are using for your Thunderbolt docks is not a Thunderbolt 3 cable, it won’t be able to work. Therefore, although USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 are almost identical, you must ensure that you use a Thunderbolt cable.

Here Are Some Key Points To Identify A Thunderbolt Cable:

  • Thunderbolt cables have a graphic lightning bolt logo on the top of the cable or both ends.

Use The Right Cable

  • You may also notice a “3” on top of the cable 

Cannot Use Thunderbolt Accessory

  • The shapes of a USB-C and Thunderbolt cable are slightly different 

Solution-2: Use The Correct Port 

Like the cables, the USB C port and Thunderbolt port almost look the same. So if you have mistakenly used the wrong port, that might be why your accessory isn’t working. To avoid this, you have to use the right port. 

Use The Correct Port

Thunderbolt ports usually have a lightning bolt picture on top of the port in Windows and Mac. So, figure out where it is and set the cable in the right port. 

cable in the right port

Solution-3: Update The Thunderbolt Firmware

The Thunderbolt firmware lets the OS access the Thunderbolt Controller. Sometimes, outdated firmware in your Windows or Mac might be why your device is not detecting your Thunderbolt accessory. In such cases, you must update the Thunderbolt firmware on the host device. Here’s how to do so: 

For Mac:

  • Go to https://support.apple.com/kb/DL1775?locale=en_US
  • Download the latest update 
  • Turn off the device 
  • Now unplug the Thunderbolt display
  • Then turn on the device and plug in the display
  • At this point, operate the Update/Installer 
  • The installer may cause a restart, then restart the device, and the firmware will be updated 

For Windows:

  • Plug your Thunderbolt device into the PC
  • Now go to your computer’s Support page 
  • On the Product Support page for your device, go to Drivers & Downloads
  • Now from the given category, find out Intel Thunderbolt 3 Firmware
  • Once you have found the firmware, click on Download 
  • After that, you have to find the file on your computer and then install the updates

Solution-4: Check If The Thunderbolt Port Is Healthy 

An old port may not work properly to connect your Thunderbolt device. In such cases, any disruptions in the port may cause a connection issue. First, check if any debris is interrupting the connection or not. Also, you can seek help from a professional to check if the port is all good.                      

Solution-5: Make Sure Your Thunderbolt Device Is Supported 

A few days ago, when I connected an external device to my MacBook Pro using a Thunderbolt connection, the device failed to show up. Later, I learned that the problem was that the device wasn’t compatible with my Mac. 

However, sometimes, the device you are trying to use might not be compatible with your Macbook or computer. In that case, the device will fail to work. So, ensure your device supports the accessory that you are trying to use. 

Solution-6: Check If The Thunderbolt Is Disabled 

The Thunderbolt devices might be disabled on your computer. In that case, you won’t be able to use the accessories. So, you have to enable Thunderbolt on your computer. Here’s how you can do it:

For Windows: 

  • Reboot your device
  • Press F2 to enter BIOS
  • Now, go to Advanced
  • Scroll to the Devices option and then to Onboard Devices
  • Now enable the Thunderbolt Controller
  • Once you are done, press the F10 key to save and exit 

For Mac:

  • First, connect a Thunderbolt cable to your Thunderbolt port
  • Go to the Apple Menu 
  • Now go to System Preferences

Now go to System Preferences

  • After that, click on Network 

After that, click on Network

  • Once you reach there, select Thunderbolt Bridge from the list 
  • Now click on Advanced and then the DNS
  • Once you reach DNS, enter your DNS and search domain addresses to enable the Thunderbolt 

It Doesn’t Hurt To Know More, Right? 

How To Reset Thunderbolt 3 Ports On Macbook Pro? 

If you want to reset the ports:

  1. Press the left-side Shift-Control-Option keys.
  2. Press the Power Button simultaneously.
  3. After 30-40 seconds, release the keys at the same time.

That will reset your Thunderbolt 3 ports. 

What Is The Function Of Thunderbolt Port?

The port lets you use the Thunderbolt accessories that provide high-speed and high-resolution media usage. Also, it allows the PCI Express speed to serve you most straightforwardly. 

Are USB-C And Thunderbolt The Same?

No, they might seem identical, but they are not the same. Thunderbolt ports are compatible with USB-C devices, but you will get more extensive features from the ports. They are specially meant to give a high-speed service to you.

Are USB-C And Thunderbolt The Same

Why Is My Mac Thunderbolt Port Not Working?

In such cases, the first thing you need to do is to check if something is stuck in the port. If the port is all clear, check the devices. Turn it on and connect the cables properly. If it needs a power cord, plug the cord properly in the correct placement. 

Hope You Are Already Ahead Of This 

I use the Thunderbolt port to connect my external devices, which helps me much more than the USB-C devices. However, nothing is odd-free, so if you are facing the inability to use any Thunderbolt accessory, my given suggestions will be beneficial. 

Before you go for other solutions, check if you have connected the cable to the right port or if the cable is right for your Thunderbolt port. If that’s the issue, then you can save a lot of time!