I have an early 2009 iMac (The last one that was 24 inches) and a Macbook Pro from work. Occasionally I work from home and would like to use my iMac as a second monitor with the Macbook.

Is this possible? And what cable do I need? If not, I'm thinking of getting the new non-retina iMac, is it possible with that?


2 Answers 2


As explained here, the first iMac to allow this is the 27-inch Late 2009 iMac.

There are, though, some Applications which may achieve something similar, requiring both computers to be connected to the same LAN/WiFi/VPN, and sending all the information, the one to be displayed on the second computer working as a display, through it. Such as ScreenRecycler. You can find some more here.

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    When you use target display mode, the ports on the back of the iMac will be disabled. When you want to use the ports on the back of the iMac, you will need a thunderbolt display who has the same ports on the back
    – Jules
    Commented Dec 27, 2014 at 16:59
  • Thanks, it looks like target display mode doesn't work for retina, which is fine, but would it work for the 27 inch non-retina? I was thinking of getting that anyway. Commented Dec 27, 2014 at 21:14

Don't think it is possible as the iMac doesn't have a video input, only thunderbolt where you add Thunderbolt displays in a chain of 4+. I have the 27" thunderbolt display and it works amazing, I switch between Mac Mini and my Macbook with 1 cable. The cable includes a MagSafe 1 power cable so there is no hassle for extra Macbook cables. It's pricey but it's worth it for all the features. And it supports latest windows computers with Thunderbolt supported motherboards.

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