If I have a 27" iMac, I understand I can use the display as an external monitor for my Macbook Pro. Presumably I can use the bluetooth keyboard as well as an external input?

Can you still run the iMac (and maybe instantly switch between them?). e.g. if I'm working on the Macbook using the iMac as a display, can I still listen to music on the iTunes library that's on my iMac, or switch to it to read a file (or download something from iTunes etc)?

2 Answers 2


Using your mac in target display mode would waste it's potential as a more power computer than your MacBook. Try an app like Teleport. It lets you network your multiple Macs together so that a host Mac's mouse and keyboard can be used to control other Macs. It works very similarly to multiple displays on a single machine, and even the clip board is shared between the two! The only issue is that you can't drag windows between the two displays (which are actually running on two separate computers), but at least both Mac's power can be used.

  • The reason for wanting to do this is the Macbook Pro is my work computer, and I will be starting to work from home some days. Want I want to do is work from home (on my Macbook) yet take advantage of a decent screen. Don't know whether Teleport would help with that, but will look into it. Thanks.
    – Apemantus
    Commented Jun 28, 2013 at 15:32
  • Oh okay, in which case check out: support.apple.com/kb/ht3924
    – Alexander
    Commented Jun 28, 2013 at 15:34
  • Another thing would be (I guess) if I connect them to the same network, could I use the Macbook Pro as an external HD? i.e. I work on my iMac, but open and edit files on my MBP? And then still use teleport to use the MBP as a second screen if needed? That could be pretty sweet.
    – Apemantus
    Commented Jun 28, 2013 at 15:36
  • Yes, you can set up file sharing (via the Sharing Pref pane) to share files/folders over your network.
    – Alexander
    Commented Jun 28, 2013 at 15:49
  • Yeah, I think I may have been overthinking it a bit with using the iMac just as "dumb" screen. Thanks for the help!
    – Apemantus
    Commented Jun 28, 2013 at 15:59

chLook up Target Display Mode under the Finder help menu. You can easily switch back and forth, and your iMac's apps (iTunes) will continue to run even when not visible:

After you connect the computers, the external display Mac acts like any other external display. Apps that were open on the external display Mac remain open even though you can’t see their windows. To change display settings, choose Apple menu > System Preferences, and then click Displays on the primary computer.

You'll need the appropriate cable (Thunderbolt or Mini DisplayPort). Switching is just Command -F2.

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