Stop the “New Interface Detected: Thunderbolt Bridge” Alert in OS X Network Preferences

May 2, 2014 - 12 Comments

New Interface Detected - Thunderbolt Bridge

Many Mac users have recently stumbled upon a “Thunderbolt Bridge” alert dialog that shows up when they visit the OS X Network preference panel, the full text of the message box says:

“New Interface Detected
A new network has been detected:
Thunderbolt Bridge
Please verify that it is configured correctly, then press Apply to activate it.”

Because this is showing up out of the blue for most Mac users, it’s causing a fair amount of confusion as to what it is, why it’s showing up, and what to do about it… and that’s what we’re going to explain here.

What is Thunderbolt Bridge? Why is it Suddenly Showing Up?

Thunderbolt icon Thunderbolt Bridge allows you to connect Macs together to transfer files and data back and forth directly using a Thunderbolt cable, without the need for using traditional file sharing methods like AFP, AirDrop, or wi-fi and ethernet networking. Because of the impressive speed offered through Thunderbolt connections, a Thunderbolt Bridge transfer makes copying data between Macs extremely fast, reaching speeds of 10GB/s. This is commonly used with Migration Assistant to move everything from an old Mac to a new Mac at the fastest possible speed, but it can also be used for generic file transfers and Target Disk Mode as well.

To use Thunderbolt Bridge as a networking option, you’ll need a Thunderbolt Cable and both Mac computers must be running OS X Mavericks or newer with Thunderbolt Support.

Ok so Thunderbolt Bridge is for networking, but why is it showing up randomly?

The reason most users are seeing this message now in the Network preference panel is likely because they recently updated OS X, which added support for the feature in Mavericks. If you haven’t been to the Network preference panel in a while, you’ll see it the when you go there. Likewise, if you visited the Network Preference panel, simply clicked “OK” on the alert box, and then ignored the addition, you’ll get nagged with the same alert box again informing you the interface has been detected.

How to Stop the “New Interface Detected: Thunderbolt Bridge” Pop-Up from Appearing

You have two options: adding the interface and ignoring it, or deleting the Thunderbolt Bridge networking interface (don’t worry, you can add it back later if you want to actually use the service for file transfers):

Solution 1: Add the Thunderbolt Bridge Network Interface

  1. Open the Network Preference panel as usual to bring about the “New Interface Detected” popup dialog, then click “OK” to dismiss the alert
  2. Now select “Thunderbolt Bridge” from the preference panel, then click the “Apply” button to set the addition of the new networking interface to OS X

All this is doing is accepting the Thunderbolt Bridge as another networking option, it does not mean you have to use it.

New Thunderbolt Bridge Detected alert in Mac OS X

You should be able to close out of Network Preferences and never be bothered by this message again, but if for some reason it shows up you again you set it to ‘inactive’ by doing the following:

  1. Select “Thunderbolt Bridge” from the Network panel and click the gear icon
  2. Choose “Make Service Inactive”

Solution 2: Removing the Thunderbolt Bridge Network Interface

You can also choose to remove the Thunderbolt Bridge from an available networking interface. This is the best solution if for some reason the above two approaches don’t work to make that alert message go away.

  1. From the Network Preference panel, click “OK” on the New Interface Detected dialog
  2. Now select “Thunderbolt Bridge” from the sidebar and click the little [-] minus button to delete the option as a networking interface
  3. Choose “Apply” to set the change

This is not permanent, but it will stop the nagging window from showing up in OS X Network preferences.

If you decide you want to use Thunderbolt Bridge as a Mac-to-Mac networking option down the road, simply go back to the Network control panel, click the [+] plus button, and add Thunderbolt Bridge as a networking interface option again.

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in Mac OS X, Tips & Tricks, Troubleshooting


» Comments RSS Feed

  1. Judy Stroup says:

    Thank you so much for this unambiguous and short explanation with solutions!!

  2. Slord says:

    I’ve done the above and yes it works but … My wi-fi is now inactive and I can’t get it to activate. All the info I’ve found so far relates to a MacBook. I’ve got an iMac. Please help !

  3. Carrie says:

    Slord, hopefully you’ve been able to get connected to wifi again. If you turn off your wifi via the symbol at the top of your screen and turn it back on again, you should get connected to wifi again. Hope this helps!

  4. Crow says:

    I pretty useless at fixing problems but found this quite an easy solution, Also the comments about the wifi made it complete

  5. B. Landau says:

    Thanks! Great simple instructions.

  6. Ida V says:

    Tried many different methods to delete Thunderbolt Bridge; but it and the Detection notice always came back. When TB was highlighted in the sidebar, the minus sign [-] was non-functional. But, after I unlocked the lock, and signed into my administrator account, the minus sign became functional, and I could hit Apply to make it stick. Thunderbolt Bridge has not come back. I hope this fixes my email server problems.

  7. Frances says:

    Thunderbolt being the default network did not start until after Christmas. The first time I changed it back. Now weeks later with NO system changes it defaulted back to Thunderbolt. I tried your suggestion and it requires an Admin password.

    As an odd “coincidence” I had problems with my Retina Mac and my I-Pad all at the same time happening after Christmas.

  8. Tamara ostos says:

    But what if you don’t have another Mac to connect to? Why is there a Thunderbolt Bridge configured automatically?

  9. shawn says:

    I hate this Thunderbolt thing…it keeps coming back…i was hacked last year and am super paranoid about anything unusual or nagging popping up out of nowhere. Ive tried to delete this thing and it just keeps coming back. wtf?

    someone tell me how to get this thing to never appear ever again, please.

    • Josh says:

      Shawn, did you ever get this problem resolved? I have the exact same issue – was hacked & super paranoid ever since. Anytime I attempt to delete it, it usually come back during the same session, if not then the next time I power wifi back on or restart.

      Does anyone have a solution for this? Thanks in advance!

    • Rebecca says:

      I’m having the same issues as shawn and Josh…any answers out there?

      This started sometime a few months ago and when I deleted it, it went away. This time it’s been on consecutive Saturday mornings and it just takes over the WiFi connection, bumping me off my IP about ten seconds after I connect. Last week I deleted it and it went away. This week I deleted it and still couldn’t connect on WiFi. I had to reset the modem twice and now finally I”m connected. I haven’t done any recent OS X updates.

      WHY is it bumping me offline if it’s ‘just’ a mac to mac application?

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