macOS Big Sur - Multiple Display "Recovery"

I've found something thing macOS Big Sur broke - the "recovery" after changing display sources. Let me explain...

I have one big 4K monitor, connected to both my Mac (USB-C) and my PC (HDMI). I switch between the two sources on the monitor depending on what I'm doing. Each computer also has its own dedicated monitor (built-in for my Macbook, an old external for my PC).

Prior to macOS Big Sur, if I switched to the PC input on the monitor, all the macOS windows would shift over to the built-in laptop display, and then shift back to their correct window once I switched back. They no longer do that.

The application all stay on the laptop screen and the big screen is empty when I switch the source back on the monitor. I then have to move everything back to the big display.

I guess that's better than the PC behavior where even if you switch the source on the display back to the Mac, Windows still thinks its connected and continues to extend the display (the fix for that is to go to display properties and select "only show on display 2") , but thats a whole other gripe.

Has anyone else experienced this as well? Is there a setting I'm missing? Should I file a bug report?
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  • I am just as frustrated. Brand new Samsung monitor and it is not working on Big Sur 11.4. Black border on each side. Same monitor works great on a Catalina Machine. @apple please fix this.

  • I have a problem with my second monitor connected to HDMI on Mac Mini M1. Before the update of 11.4, it was working perfectly. I just recently updated the OS and now it takes time for my mac mini to detect the second monitor. Sometimes, I have to remove the HDMI cable and connect it again for the display to work again.

    Please @apple fix this problem.

  • Same issue! After I upgraded my Mac, my hi-res HTMI-connected Samsung monitor streaked and blipped. The windows also jumped around when it would wake up. I had to unplug the Samsung and now it's worthless and collecting dust. I plugged in an old monitor with a VGA cable and the dock and menu still do not work on the second monitor. Luckily, I have not upgraded at home. ...I use three monitors there. I'm a graphic designer. I NEED multiple monitors. Apple, FIX THIS MESS!!!


I have the same issue
Exactly the same issue - very fraustrating!
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I have the same comportment, now isn't possible use external HDMI and isn't possible use sidecar to iPad.
Same problem.
It is one of the limitation of BigSur so far. Since it is still in Beta, expect some irregularities or bugs. Expect to have a resolution in coming weeks or until it's public release
Same. I regret upgrading.
same here
not sure if it's the same issue, but I have a wavlink dock and everything works other than the HDMI so i need to connect it directly to the MAC and than works.
Same issue. The windows used to appear in my monitor after plugging the Macbook. Now, I have to manually drag them from the Macbook to the monitor.
Same here.

If I unplug an external display and then plug it back in, none of my apps' windows (which were on the external display’s Space) are visible. The external monitor’s Space appears completely empty.

The steps to reproduce the bug are simple and likely affecting a ton of users:
  1. Plug in your external display, and then put some app windows in that Space (like Safari and Terminal, or even Chrome).

  2. Unplug your display.

  3. Plug your display back in. Those windows that you had opened in that Space are no longer visible.

This is a showstopper bug that exists in the latest Big Sur public beta (as of Nov. 3).

I recommend everyone who sees this (and has this bug) to file a report through the Feedback Assistant app.
I have a similar issue also. It's infuriating.
My macbook is connected to an external 4k monitor, which is the main monitor.

If I switch to a full screen app and stay there a while, then go back to the desktop, all open windows will be off screen, in the far right. I have to go to mission control, drag the windows to away from the external monitor and to the macbook desktop, and then move them back again to the main monitor.

I hope they get a fix soon.
I have the same issue. I contacted Apple and no representative could help me.
Same here. And same like Miguel Akira described earlier in this thread.
Is there a fix for this yet?
4 months later??

Really wish i didnt up grade.
Use 2 Benq monitors for editing through a wavlink hub.
working perfect, upgraded to Big Sur.. and now nothing.

Darn it! Ok, just updated to Big Sur and have 2 monitors on my desk. Now it won't find the other. Based on reading the notes above it seemed to mostly be HD TV monitors (which I was using). I changed them to be both regular monitors and it still doesn't see the second monitor.

Anyone find a work around? This is not good for productivity to be able to only work from one monitor...ugh!
  • I have two monitos one is a 4K LG monitor and the other one is a standar HD HP monitor and offen my mac pro from 2018 with big sure on it fails to detected the secondary monitor, in this case it is the HP one. It doesn't matter if I restart the laptop or mnitors, or if unplug the cables. Nothing seems to solve the problem. This is odd for such a brand like Apple. When I use my cheap secondary lenovo (thinkpad) laptop, then all monitors work fine! Why is that? Apple, your laptops are freaking expensive yet they have some serious HW bugs, duh!

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