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This question already has an answer here:

I have a new Late 2013 rMBP and a Mid 2011 iMac. I want to use the iMac in Target Display Mode so I can operate it as a second monitor for the laptop.

I have two questions:

  1. I can easily turn on TDM on the iMac using ⌘ Cmd+F2, but cannot turn it off the same way. I have to unplug the Thunderbolt cable. Anyone know why?
  2. I only have one Apple keyboard and mouse, and both are bluetooth wireless. Right now they are paired to the iMac. I will instead pair them to the laptop so I can use them on that, but I need a keyboard that can toggle TDM on the iMac. I tried using a Dell keyboard (which in my experience, Apple treats the ⊞ Win as the ⌘ Cmd key) and using ⊞ Win+F2, but it doesn't toggle it. Is there any hope to use a non-Apple keyboard to toggle TDM on the iMac?

marked as duplicate by bmike Jan 18 '16 at 22:41

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

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To your 2nd question: I've not been able to toggle target display mode with a non-apple keyboard, however I was able to accomplish this using the app 1Keyboard. Basically I paired the computers via bluetooth, then used 1Keyboard to send command+F2. Sending command+F2 via Apple Remote Desktop did not work. I also tried sending command+F2 programmatically, but that didn't work either. Glad to have found a solution. Both computers were running Mavericks.

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    1Keyboard was the solution for me as well – Miguel Mota Dec 3 '14 at 19:41
  • 1Keyboard worked for me on an iMac running OS X 10.8 and a Macbook Pro on Yosemite. It's a scandal Apple makes it this difficult. – Kelseydh Jul 13 '15 at 5:20
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I am new to Mac and have experience both these issues, I hopefully can shed some light on the first question, but have not yet found an answer to question 2.

To turn off TDM on my late 2013 iMac (connected to a late 2011 macbook pro) I have to type in my iMac password followed by cmd +F2 - its a bit of hit and miss, but it is the only way I can get TDM to turn off without unplugging or turning off.

  • Hah, wow thanks. I was just able to do it by first typing my password for iMac – Brian Apr 9 '14 at 12:06
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VirtualKVM from duanefields on Github is free and easy to use. From the README for the project:

Useful for those who use their iMac as a monitor for their Macbook.

Automatically toggles off your iMac's Bluetooth and turns on Target Display Mode when you connect a Macbook via Thunderbolt.

To use, simply run. Might want to run at startup. When you plug your notebook into your iMac via Thunderbolt, this extention will automatically switch the iMac to Target Display Mode, allowing you to use your iMac as a monitor.

In addition, it will turn off the Bluetooth on the iMac, freeing up your mouse and keyboard to pair with your notebook. When you unplug the notebook, the iMac's Bluetooth will be powered back up and the monitor restored.

If you install it on your Macbook, the opposite happens. When you connect to the iMac the Macbook's Bluetooth will turn on, and then off again when you disconnect.

Quit and control options from the status bar menu.

  • this app doesnt seem to work if you're using a non-mac keyboard. very irritating. – caro Dec 10 '17 at 13:08

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