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LG UltraFine 5K Display for iPad Pro (and Mac)

September 10th, 2019 by rob-ART morgan, mad scientist

Apple's newest version of the LG UltraFine 5K Display (27MD5KL-B) now works with the iPad Pro 11-inch and 12.9-inch (Gen 3). We learned what the LG can and canNOT do connected to the iPad Pro. Blender benchmark showing eGPU effect on 2013 Mac Pro


Using the USB 3.1 USB-C cable provided by LG, we connected the 2018 iPad Pro 12.9-inch's USB-C port to the LG UltraFine 5K's Thunderbolt 3/USB-C port. The LG immediately lit up and mirrored the iPad Pro's screen.

However, the mirrored home screen does not fill the LG screen. We started launching various apps to see what they would do. Notes mirrored the iPad Pro's screen, but filled LG screen.

With iMovie, you preview your project video using the full LG screen while the iPad Pro acts as controller/editor.

Apple TV uses the full LG screen to display TV Shows, Movies, 4K HDR, Home Videos, and Downloaded Videos. The iPad Pro displays displays the words, "TV Connected - This video is playing on the TV." The progress bar with pause/play/jump back/jump forward controls remain on the iPad Pro's screen. The Trailers app works similarly as does iTunes app's videos. Apple Music videos displayed on the LG in full-screen mode while the iPad Pro displayed controls and related videos.

Next we launched Real Racing 3. The racing animation filled the LG's screen while the iPad Pro continued to be the steering wheel and controls/options selector.

Certain apps refused to use the LG UltraFine. The Comcast Xfinity app displayed an error message: "License issue 3338. This video stream is not playable under the current device conditions. Please disconnect any external devices and try again."

However, the Amazon's PrimeVideo streaming app worked as expected, filling the full LG screen with the HD movie I chose with the iPad's screen handling pause/continue and jump ahead/back controls. Ditto for the Hulu streaming app.

As with Apple laptops, the LG UltraFine 5K charges your iPad Pro while it is connected.

The LG UltraFine 5K Display is not the only display that works with the 2018 iPad Pro. Using a mini DisplayPort to USB-C adapter, we connected the iPad Pro to the Dell UP2715K 5K display's mini DisplayPort cable. It did all the same things that the LG UltraFine 5K did with one exception: it does NOT charge the iPad Pro.

One bonus feature of the Dell: Opening its main Menu confirmed that the resolution was 3840x2160 at 60Hz. The LG does not have a similar feature that we could find.


The new 25MD5KL-B model works the same as the previous LG UltraFine 5K Display (model 25MD5KA-B) when used with a Mac. Apple lists the following models as compatible:
MacBook (Retina, 12-inch, Early 2015 - 2017)
MacBook Air (Retina, 13-inch, 2018 and later)
MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2016 and later)
MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2016 and later)
iMac (Retina 4K, 21.5-inch, 2019)
iMac (Retina 4K, 21.5-inch, 2017)
iMac (Retina 5K, 27-inch, 2019)
iMac (Retina 5K, 27-inch, 2017)
iMac Pro (2017 and later)
Mac mini (2018)

Though not on the list, both LG UltraFine 5K display models worked with our 2013 Mac Pro using a Thunderbolt 2 cable with a TB2>TB3 adapter. It is able to handle the full 5K mode (5120x2880).

Both models of LG UltraFine come with one Thunderbolt 3 port and three USB 3.1 Gen 1 (5Gbps) ports. Resolution can be set as high as 5120x2880 when connected to Macs while the LG "rev L-B" is limited to 3840x2160 when connected to a compatible iPad Pro.

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