I have an iMac (late 2009) with a broken graphics card. Fortunately, I have a new iMac (2019) which works fine.

I want to boot the old machine to Target Disk Mode to retrieve the data on the computer. I've read online you can connect them using a FireWire cable. Now the new mac doesn't have an FireWire connection but I think I can use a Thunderbolt to FireWire cable. So I thought I'll just order an FireWire cable, but there are a lot of different types. So my question is:

Which FireWire cable do I need to connect an iMac (late 2009) to a Thunderbolt to FireWire connection to retrieve the data using Target Disk Mode?

  • Isn't the choice limited by the type of connectors/ports on both ends anyway? – nohillside Nov 5 '19 at 15:44
  • There doesn't appear to be any single adapter/cable to directly connect Firewire 800 to Thunderbolt 3 (USBC form-factor.) The OWC Thunderbolt 3 dock can do it, but at a pretty hefty price. – IconDaemon Nov 5 '19 at 15:49
  • You're correct My error! – IconDaemon Nov 5 '19 at 16:46

The iMac 2009 has a FireWire 800 port and the new iMac 2019 a Thunderbolt 3 port.

This requires three cables daisy-chained:

  1. FireWire 800 - FireWire 800
  2. FireWire 800 - Thunderbolt 1/2: Apple Thunderbolt-naar-FireWire-adapter
  3. Thunderbolt 1/2 - Thunderbolt 3: Adapter voor Thunderbolt 3 (USB‑C) naar Thunderbolt 2

I found one source stating it's working: Le Target Disk Mode marche en USB-C, en Thunderbolt et en FireWire (en français, with pics) and another one stating more or less the opposite: Target mode between Macbook pro 2017 and Mac Pro 1.1.

  • Thank you so much, this is exactly what I was looking for! – Ravenix Nov 6 '19 at 8:31

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