Is it possible to use a MacBook Pro as a second monitor for my iMac? Both of them have a Thunderbolt port.

If not, is there any other way?

4 Answers 4


You can not use your MacBook Pro as a second monitor for your iMac without additional software.

ScreenRecycler claims to allow you to expand your desktop across multiple computers.

Screen shot from ScreenRecycler website

As an alternative approach, Synergy (previously open source at synergy-foss.org) claims to lets you combine multiple computers into one. It will let you use both computers from a single keyboard and mouse.


  • "ScreenRecycler is currently not compatible with OSX 10.11 or later." screenrecycler.com/download.html, Are there any alternatives now?
    – kaorukobo
    Dec 21, 2018 at 3:11
  • 1
    Synergy does not appear to be open source, you have to purchase it.
    – jzadra
    Mar 17, 2020 at 18:43
  • 1
    @jzadra it appears the developers have made Synergy a commercial product. The answer's Synergy link now points to the Internet Archive. Mar 18, 2020 at 6:43

For newer computers with Retina Displays and macOS 10.14+, the best way to use another Mac, iPad, AppleTV, etc. as a separate monitor is with AirPlay. See Mirror or extend your Mac display

Alternatively, (and separate from the original question) if you have an iPad Pro or an iPad Air, you can try using Sidecar


For modern Macbooks there's a feature called Universal Control which let's you connect to any other Macbook / Apple device and control it using a single mouse and keyboard, you just have to sign into both of them using your iCloud account.



Apple Target Display (Thunderbolt method)

  • Make sure both computers are turned on and awake.
  • Connect a male-to-male Mini DisplayPort or ThunderBolt cable to each computer.
  • Press Command-F2 on the keyboard of the iMac being used as a display to enable TDM.

Check this link before: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204592

  • 3
    iMac as second monitor, not Macbook Pro as second monitor.
    – Antonio N
    Aug 29, 2016 at 20:45

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