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I would like to use the iMac for external display and would like to connect MacBook Pro as a source. What kind of cable do I need and how to I setup the display?

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It depends on which model MBP and iMac you have - use the System Profiler application under your Apple menu to get the exact models, then post those results. – da4 Nov 12 '12 at 18:25

If the iMac has Thunderbolt (Mid-2011 and later models):

  • The MBP must also have Thunderbolt
  • Connect the two with a Thunderbolt cable and press Cmd-F2 on the iMac's keyboard

If the iMac doesn't have Thunderbolt:

  • It must be a 27" model with a mini-Displayport connector (21" and 24" mini-Displayport models don't support Target Display mode).
  • Any device with Displayport output can use it as a display.
  • Connect the two with a Mini-DisplayPort to Mini-DisplayPort cable, and press Cmd-F2 on the iMac's keyboard

Full documentation is available here.

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