I'm using my MBP 16' in target mode to an iMac 21'5 late 2012.

I thought the audio could not be played through iMac speakers (or a digital output in this case) but when a enter Target Mode the first selection in Sound under System Preferences is the iMac. I can control volume, but no audio is heard.

Anyone can help me solving this?

  • What version of macOS is running on the 2012 iMac? – David Anderson Sep 13 '20 at 8:19
  • I'm running Catalina 15.15.6 on the iMac, the last available update. – Martin Sep 14 '20 at 10:09

I was able to get this to work using a 2013 iMac in Target Display Mode. The 2013 iMac was connected to a 2011 iMac by a Thunderbolt cable. I needed to make sure muting was not checked off and the volume was up high enough on both the 2011 and 2012 iMacs. I was able to access the System Preferences on the 2013 iMac by using Screen Sharing.

Below is a image of the 2013 iMac screen while the 2013 iMac is in Target Display Mode. The System Preferences window is shown for both the 2011 iMac and the 2013 iMac. The 2013 iMac System Preferences window is on the desktop of the 2013 iMac. The 2013 iMac desktop is being accessed through Screen Sharing.

Note: The 2013 iMac has both High Sierra and Catalina installed. The sound and display both work when booted to High Sierra and in Target Display Mode, but only the Display works when booted to Catalina and in Target Display Mode.

  • Maybe inferring your answer, the problem is that I'm running Catalina in the iMac. – Martin Sep 14 '20 at 10:09
  • Apple states on their website that the iMac needs to be running macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 or earlier. This lack of sound is probably one of the reasons Apple has posted the High Sierra or earlier requirement. You should be able to install High Sierra in a new APFS volume in the same container as Catalina. You will probably need to install High Sierra after creating and booting from a flash drive. – David Anderson Sep 14 '20 at 10:47

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