Since the graphics card of my MacBook Pro from early 2011 is broken I need to save my data per target disk mode. This could be easily done using a FireWire or a Thunderbolt cable. But my problem is that I only have access to a MacBook from 2008 without FireWire. I could borrow a USB 2.0 to FireWire cable but first I would like to know if the connection from a MacBook with USB 2.0 port to my broken MacBook Pro with FireWire port is even possible. Do you know if this would work?

Thanks in advance!

1 Answer 1


I can't find a specific Apple KB reference, but the consensus seems to be that you need Firewire, Thunderbolt or USB-C; USB 2 doesn't appear to be supported.

From the MacSales blog - Mac OS 101: How to Boot and Use a Mac in Target Disk Mode

What You Need
The list is short, but essential.

  • Two Macs. That may seem obvious, but it makes sense to point out that Target Disk Mode only works between two Macs; you can’t chain multiple Macs together. All of the connection types (FireWire, Thunderbolt, and USB-C) support hot connecting, meaning you can connect a cable between the two Macs while they are powered on. We recommend shutting down both Macs before proceeding, however.
  • An appropriate cable to make the connection. Ideally, you should connect similar ports; that is FireWire to FireWire, Thunderbolt to Thunderbolt, or USB-C to USB-C. There are, however, exceptions. Using adapters to connect Thunderbolt to FireWire will usually work, as will Thunderbolt to USB-C. But not all adapters are known to work correctly in Target Disk Mode, so if you can, connect directly to the same port type.
  • Thank you for the answer! That means that it is best to connect two similar ports and connections with two different ports might only be possible if the used ports are FireWire, Thunderbolt or USB-C, am I right?
    – Conny
    Nov 11, 2018 at 13:33
  • That would seem to be the case, yes.
    – Tetsujin
    Nov 11, 2018 at 14:30
  • Trying to connect a mini dp to usb-c thunderbolt cable, but can only seem to find unidirectional video adapter cables. Has anybody seen a cable with these two different ends that is bidirectional?
    – iopener
    Jan 15, 2023 at 22:18
  • MiniDP is no use to you for this.
    – Tetsujin
    Jan 16, 2023 at 7:17

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .