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How to Use iMac as Monitor: Revamping Workspaces 2024

How to Use iMac as Monitor: Revamping Workspaces 2024

The adaptability of Apple's range of products is nothing short of a marvel, and amongst the gems is the capability to use an iMac as an external monitor. This article will shed some light on how to use iMac as monitor. Whether your primary computer is a laptop or another desktop, understand what you'll need for this set-up, unravel a step-by-step guide on how to accomplish it, and acquaint yourself with key tips and important considerations. So, start the transformation and discover a whole new way of immersing yourself in your digital lifestyle, enjoying big-screen entertainment while enhancing productivity. 

What You’ll Need to Turn Your iMac to a Monitor

In order to use an iMac as a monitor, you need to first make sure that your iMac is running on macOS High Sierra or an earlier version. Additionally, the specific iMac model you want to use should have special cables and adapters, which allow your iMac to receive data input and function as a monitor for another device. Besides you need to check if some required software is installed and some additional accessories are equipped. Here we list some common cables and adapters you may need:


The required cables depend on the type of input available on the computer you wish to connect and the output on your iMac. Here are some common cable types you may need: 

  • Thunderbolt cable –This cable is indispensable for iMacs equipped with Thunderbolt input/output, facilitating seamless device connections. 
  • Mini DisplayPort cable –Specifically designed for iMacs featuring Mini DisplayPort input/output, this cable ensures high-quality video transmission. 
  • USB-C Cable – Utilizing a USB-C cable, you can also seamlessly connect your iMac to a compatible source. 

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If the computer you want to connect to your iMac has a different output than Thunderbolt or Mini DisplayPort, you'll need an adapter to convert the signal. Some common adapters include: 

  • HDMI to Thunderbolt/Mini DisplayPort adapter:Utilized for linking devices featuring HDMI output to your iMac. 
  • DisplayPort to Thunderbolt/Mini DisplayPort adapter: Employed to connect devices equipped with DisplayPort output to your iMac. 
  • USB-C to Thunderbolt/Mini DisplayPort adapter –A necessity for linking contemporary devices with USB-C output to your iMac. The Anker 518 USB-C Adapter (8K HDMI) takes your viewing experience to new heights, offering crisp 8K@60Hz or 4K@144Hz resolution for seamless mirroring or extension of your screen. Universal compatibility with USB-C devices supporting DisplayPort Alt Mode ensures easy connection to your iMac.

Step-by-Step Guide to Turn Your iMac as a Monitor

Transforming your iMac into a secondary monitor is a valuable way to maximize your workspace. Follow these step-by-step instructions to seamlessly set up your iMac as a monitor:

Connect the Cable or HDMI Adapter

To begin the process of how to use iMac as monitor for PC, you'll need either a Mini DisplayPort cable or an appropriate HDMI adapter. Identify the "input" port on the computer or device you wish to use with the iMac. Depending on the version of your iMac and the device you want to connect, you may need either a Mini DisplayPort to Mini DisplayPort cable, a Mini DisplayPort to HDMI adapter cable, or a USB-C to HDMI adapter. Once you have the correct cable, connect it to the 'input' port of your source device and the other end to the Thunderbolt (or appropriate) port on your iMac.

Enable Target Display Mode

After you have successfully connected your devices, you will need to enable Target Display Mode on your iMac. To do this, press “Command” + “F2” on your iMac's keyboard. This should switch your iMac into Target Display Mode, meaning your iMac will now serve as a display for your other device. If the screen does not immediately switch over, ensure that both devices are powered on and double-check your cable connections to make sure they are secure.

Adjust Display Settings

Finally, to ensure optimal viewing, you may need to adjust the display settings. Using the computer or device now connected to your iMac, navigate to its display settings. The exact location of these settings varies depending on the device & its operating system, but generally, you would go to 'System Preferences' on a Mac and 'Display Settings' on a Windows computer. You should set the resolution to match the resolution of your iMac screen or select the highest resolution available. Adjust also the other parameters such as brightness, contrast, and orientation to your liking. Your iMac is now operating as a secondary monitor.

Tips and Considerations

  1. iMac Compatibility:Keep in mind that only iMac models released between 2009 and 2014 support Target Display Mode. iMacs with Thunderbolt ports (2011-2014) only support Target Display Mode with other Thunderbolt-enabled devices. 
  1. Choose the Right Cable and Adapter: Make sure you select the appropriate cable and adapter according to your device's port and your iMac model (Mini DisplayPort or Thunderbolt). 
  1. Video/Audio Output: While iMacs with Mini DisplayPort or Thunderbolt 1/2 can transmit both video and audio, some adapters may only support video transmission. Verify your adapter's specifications for accurate information. 
  1. Keyboard Functionality:Target Display Mode may also be activated using an external keyboard by pressing the appropriate function key (F2 or display key, depending on the keyboard). 
  1. Exit Target Display Mode: To exit Target Display Mode, press Command + F2 again, or turn off the connected device. 
  1. Performance:Using an iMac as an external display might not provide optimal performance (e.g., input lag) compared with dedicated monitors. Consider this when using the iMac in this capacity, especially for gaming or other latency-sensitive tasks.


In conclusion, you can now unlock the full potential of your iMac as you effortlessly transform it into a stunning external monitor. Following our comprehensive step-by-step guide on "how to use iMac as monitor" will ensure a seamless process. At the same time, the provided handy tips and considerations will empower you to make the most informed decisions. Elevate your productivity and workspace aesthetics today – turning your iMac into a monitor is just a click away!


Here are some commonly asked queries on how to use iMac as monitor.

How do I use my iMac as a second monitor wirelessly?

You can use your iMac as a second monitor wirelessly by utilizing Apple's in-built feature known as AirPlay. Ensure both your iMac and your primary device are connected to the same Wi-Fi network. On your primary device (iPhone, iPad or MacBook), select Screen Mirroring from the control panel. It will scan and display available devices, select your iMac from the list. Once done, your iMac should display the screen of your primary device.

Can I use my old iMac as a second monitor?

Yes, provided your old iMac and the primary Mac are compatible. This can be achieved using the Target Display Mode feature, which allows certain iMac models (mostly those released before 2014) to serve as an external display for another Mac. You only need to connect both devices using a Thunderbolt or Mini DisplayPort cable then press 'Command + F2' on the iMac you wish to use as a second monitor.

What Macs have target display mode?

Target Display Mode is available on iMac models from 2009 to 2014. They are iMac (27-inch, Late 2009), iMac (Mid 2011 to Mid 2014), and iMac (27-inch, Mid 2010) . It's important to note that this feature is not available on iMac models released from 2014 onwards due to the introduction of Retina displays.

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