Why a Thunderbolt Display can’t power a new Thunderbolt 3 MacBook or MacBook Pro

Steve Dvorak writes in with a question about the 27-inch Apple Thunderbolt Display and the new MacBook Pro.

While I can do the Thunderbolt 3 to 2 adapter for video and Thunderbolt accessories, I can’t use the power that comes from the display. There appears to be no adapter created that provides power from MagSafe 1/2 connectors to USB-C. Am I missing something?

Unfortunately not. The USB-C port(s) found in the 2015 and later MacBook and 2016 and later MacBook Pro models can pass power bidirectionally, an awesome feature for flexibility, and which allows using USB battery packs to charge your laptop. (Sadly, no battery pack has gone into production yet that can send enough power to charge your Mac while it’s awake.)

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