Apple Studio Display causes problems for some VPN apps – but there is a solution

Apple Studio Display causes problems for some VPN apps – but there is a solution
Written by insideindyhomes

With the Studio Display, Apple is offering a monitor that, according to test and experience reports, is impressive across the board in terms of image quality and the sound of the integrated sound system. In addition, the device, which is available from 1,749 euros, has a number of features that you won’t find in screens from other manufacturers. For example, the Studio Display activates the voice command “Hey Siri” on a number of older Macs, and with “Center Stage” it also offers a function that was previously only available on iPads.

Studio Display identifies itself as a network adapter
Apple implements these functions using the A13 chip built into the Studio Display, and the operating system is on a 64 gigabyte SSD. The 5K monitor from Cupertino therefore receives software updates from time to time, unlike devices from other manufacturers. Shortly after the release, Apple made an update available that was supposed to fix the quality problems of the integrated webcam that many users complained about (see ). The Californian company uses a “trick” so that new firmware versions can be installed on the studio display: the monitor connected via Thunderbolt 3 is also identified as a network adapter on the Mac. This is used to set up a peer-to-peer connection with a self-assigned IP address, via which the update then takes place.

VPN apps want to use monitor connection
However, the procedure can have an undesirable and annoying side effect. Apps from some VPN services recognize the connection to the Studio Display as an available network adapter. If this is the first item in the macOS system settings, they try to establish a secure connection to the VPN server via the Studio Display, which naturally fails. This can be remedied by manually selecting the correct LAN or WLAN connection in the app. If such an option is not available, which is the case when using the well-known provider ExpressVPN, you can use a workaround:

  • Open the Network pane in System Preferences.
  • Click on the circle icon with the three dots under the connection list and select “Set order of services”.
  • Push the network adapter that you want to use with the VPN application to the top.
  • Confirm the action by clicking on “OK”.

The change has no effect on the interaction between Mac and Studio Display, which still works perfectly.

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