There has been some questionaries about whether the LG UltraFine 5K Display works with older Macs. However, a new support document released on Wednesday, December 20 answers that question and makes it clear exactly which Macs can be used with the display and at what resolution.
The LG 5K display at its full 5120 x 2880 resolution, can only be used with Apple’s latest 2016 MacBooks, that have Thunderbolt 3 support. This includes the 15-inch MacBook Pro, the 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, and the 13-inch MacBook Pro with no Touch Bar. With connecting an Apple Thunderbolt 3 to Thunderbolt 2 Adapter and a Thunderbolt cable, the LG 5K Display can be used at 4K resolution with older Mac Pro, iMac, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, and Mac mini models. A full list is below:
The resolution of 3840 x 2160 at 60Hz is compatible with : Mac Pro (Late 2013); MacBook Pro (Retina, 13-inch, Early 2014) and later; MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2014) and later; iMac (Retina, 21.5-inch, Late 2015); iMac (Retina, 27-inch, Late 2014) and later; MacBook Air (13-inch, Early 2015); iMac (21.5-inch, Late 2015) and MacBook Air (11-inch, Early 2015). While the 3200 x 1800 at 60Hz can be accessed by Mac mini (Late 2014).
For the Mac Pro and the Mac mini, Apple suggests using the LG UltraFine 5K display as a second monitor as it may not turn on until the machines are booted into macOS. Features such as Boot Picker and macOS Recovery might not work on the display when used with those machines. Power delivery features are only available for Macs containing Thunderbolt 3. This indicates only the three newest MacBook Pro models will be able to charge via the display. Power is not delivered when connecting the display to a Mac using the Thunderbolt 3 to Thunderbolt 2 adapter. Thus a separate power supply will need to be used, in older Macs.
Apple began selling the LG 5K UltraFine Display Wednesday morning. While the first orders placed had an estimation of three to five days. Supplies were rapidly exhausted. Orders placed now will be delivered out in two to four weeks.